Moving Monday: 5 Surprisingly Great Cities for Recent College Grads

If you’ve just gotten your diploma and are looking for a new place to call home, here are five cities you may not have considered.

Graduating from college is an exciting and often scary milestone: After four years, you’re probably finally feeling settled in at your university. Now, it’s time to pack up your dorm (or apartment) and – quite possibly – start a career in a brand-new city.

If you’re out of college and considering a move, big, bustling metropolises like New York or Los Angeles have probably caught your eye. These cities certainly offer great career opportunities, but their high costs of living can be prohibitive to someone on a starting salary. Here are some alternatives to think about: These five cities – which were recently named some of the best places for recent college graduates by NerdWallet, Kiplinger and Business Insider – offer appealing perks like low costs of living, low unemployment rates and high populations of young professionals.

Minneapolis, Minn.

Photo by: RudyBalasko/iStock/Thinkstock Minneapolis, Minn.

Minneapolis, Minn.

Unemployment rate: 4.9
Major employers: Target Corporation, University of Minnesota, Wells Fargo
With 19 Fortune 500 companies – more per capita than any other metropolitan region – there’s no shortage of jobs in the Minneapolis area. The city also offers a low unemployment rate and the shortest average commute (24 minutes) of all metro areas.

Columbus, Ohio

Photo by: LarryKnupp/iStock/Thinkstock Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Unemployment rate: 5.0
Major employers: JPMorgan Chase, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Ohio State University
Ohio’s capital city came in 10th on NerdWallet’s list, but its Cost of Living Index is lower than any of the previous nine cities – a major plus for a college grad just getting started in the workforce. Columbus has a well-educated population, with 34 percent of residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Austin, Texas

Photo by: Galina Stepanova/iStock/Thinkstock Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Unemployment rate: 4.4
Major employers: Austin School District, City of Austin, Dell, IBM Corporation
With nearly 200 live music venues and four Fortune 500 companies, it’s no surprise that this hip Texas city is popular with young people: According to Business Insider, just over a quarter of Austin residents are between 20 and 34. The city also has a low unemployment rate, and just over 40 percent of the population has bachelor’s or advanced degrees.

Raleigh, N.C.

Photo by: Maria Grushevskaya/iStock/Thinkstock Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh, N.C.

Unemployment rate: 5.2
Major employers: IBM Corporation, North Carolina State University, Cisco Systems, Inc.
North Carolina’s Research Triangle – made up of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill – often receives accolades for its quality of life, strong economy and excellent education system. With three nearby universities, there are many opportunities for jobs in education, as well as manufacturing, aerospace, biotechnology and green energy.

Fargo, N.D.

Photo © Fargo, N.D.

Fargo, N.D.

Unemployment rate: 3.3
Major employers: Sanford Health, North Dakota State University, Fargo Public Schools
Fargo earned the top spot on Business Insider’s list for its remarkably low unemployment rate of 3.3 percent. The city also offers a large population of young people (28 percent of the population is between 20 and 34) and affordable housing. 

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