The Best Cities For College Graduates

With six-figure pay, San Francisco ranks as the best city for new college graduates

San Francisco is the best city for recent college grads, a new study finds.

CoworkingCafe’s Best Cities for Class of ’24 ranks the best cities in the U.S. for the class of 2024 to jumpstart their careers. The ranking looks at a variety of factors, including employment opportunities, median income, cost of living, and lifestyle amenities.

With the highest median income for grads at $106,552, low unemployment rate (3.3%), and strong job market, San Francisco took the top spot among big cities. Atlanta came in second for its low cost of living, good median income ($79,914), and leisure amenities. Minneapolis took the third spot with low unemployment rate (3.3%), significant job growth, and strong presence in education and health services.


San Francisco led the way in employment with a whopping 72% share of the population holding a bachelor’s degree. The city’s unemployment rate of 3.3% is lower than the national average of 3.9%. Additionally, San Francisco is the only large city that provides a six-figure income for graduates, not to mention that 79% of its population having health insurance. Despite these benefits, San Francisco still remains an expensive city with a cost of living 18% above the national average.

Atlanta performed well in the financial category for its low cost of living. The Big Peach has a median income of $79,914 for graduates, and 69% of its population has employer-based health insurance. The city also scored well for its 725 leisure amenities — with the highest number of co-working spaces per 100k residents.

Minneapolis, which came in third this year, saw a low unemployment rate of 3% and high availability of jobs for graduates (6.6%)—which pushed the city up six spots from 2023’s ranking. Additionally, the city has seen consistent job growth across various sectors with the education and health services sectors showing steady employment increases, contributing to overall job stability​.


Kansas City, MO and Charlotte, NC entered the top ten this year, securing the 9th and 10th spots after placing 13th and 11th, respectively, in 2023.

Kansas City stood out with the lowest cost of living among the top ten, at 7.9% below the national average. Charlotte also enjoyed a low cost of living and boasted an even lower unemployment rate than Kansas City, at 4% compared to 5.2%.

Sources: CoworkingCafe

Next Page: Class of 2024 Faces Tough Job Market with Mixed Feelings

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