Top 10 Cities For Young Professionals

By Cara Newton


Deciding where to go to start your life after college is a very important decision. Young professionals look for a city that offers business resources along with a lifestyle and culture they can afford. To compile the list below, I took into account the demographics of the city with a focus on median age. The list also looks at the median salary of the city and the cost of living index. Both of these gauge a professional’s “bang for a buck” in each city. Since most young adults are looking to start a career in a city where they are able to grow as a business professional, the annual job growth helps evaluate the strength of the city’s business market. Finally, here are the top 10 cities for young professionals coming from a young professional:

1.  Washington, D.C.

Median Age: 34.1
Median Salary: $60,000
Cost of Living Index (2012): 121.5
Annual Job Growth (2012): 1.2%

Our nation’s capital is not only for Congress. The popular biking community offers young professionals easy transportation to work and daily activities. With political, media, and technical job markets, Washington D.C. provides young professionals with many opportunities to excel

2.  Boston, Massachusetts

Median Age: 30.8
Median Salary: $73,000
Cost of Living Index (2012): 119.5
Annual Job Growth (2012): 1.5%

The Red Sox and Boston Crème Pie aren’t the only good things in Boston. A robust job market and reliable public transportation system makes Boston is a great place for young professionals to start their lives.

 3.  Austin, Texas

Median Age: 30.9
Median Salary: $55,000
Cost of Living (2012): 107.9
Annual Job Growth (2012): 3.6%

Austin’s slogan “Keep Austin Weird” has also kept Austin young and thriving. A growing job market, endless live music and entertainment, and authentic Tex Mex food attract the young professionals while the cost of living keeps them there.

4.  San Francisco, California

Median Age: 38.4
Median Salary: $79,000
Cost of Living (2012): 148.2
Annual Job Growth (2012): 4%

The City by the Bay is attracting young professionals from all over the country. Being in Silicon Valley, San Francisco is a great place for start up and tech companies. With a great music and food scene, young professionals are able to succeed while also experiencing a high quality of life.

5.  Portland, Oregon

Median Age: 35.9
Median Salary: $57,000
Cost of Living (2012): 107.1
Annual Job Growth (2012): 1.9%

Portland is becoming one of the coolest cities for beginning professionals. It’s laid back, outdoorsy lifestyle make it a popular destination for young adults. Portland’s increasing job growth and low cost of living are only a few things that help make the city popular.

6.  Charlotte, North Carolina

Median Age: 33.4
Median Salary: $63,000
Cost of Living (2012): 101.3
Annual Job Growth (2012): 3.1%

Charlotte’s southern charm and low cost of living make the quality of life for young professionals impressively high.  Although Charlotte’s public transportation could use some improvement, the city offers exciting job opportunities and nightlife hangouts.

7.  Houston, Texas

Median Age: 32.2
Median Salary: $65,000
Cost of Living (2012): 105
Annual Job Growth (2012): 3.8%

It’s true! Everything is bigger in Texas. A higher salary and low cost of living is a perfect combination for young professionals. This big city offers something for everyone including a variety of careers from business, oil/gas, to entertainment to IT.

8.  Atlanta, Georgia

Median Age: 33
Median Salary: $73,000
Cost of Living (2012): 101.6
Annual Job Growth (2012): 1.9%

Being the largest city in Georgia, Atlanta has a lot to offer young professionals. It’s a great place to land your dream job and catch live music. Atlanta’s low cost of living and increasing job growth, along with strong salaries, attract young professionals to this Southern city.

9.  Raleigh, North Carolina

Median Age: 31.8
Median Salary: $57,000
Cost of Living (2012): 104.7
Annual Job Growth (2012): 2.9%

Raleigh is a great combination of barbecue and beaches. The move of several major technical companies to Raleigh has made it one of the top cities for business. Along with a growing job market, Raleigh provides young professionals with a safe neighborhood, affordable housing, and short commutes to work.

10.  Seattle, Washington

Median Age: 36.1
Median Salary: $62,000
Cost of Living (2012): 122.4
Annual Job Growth (2012): 2.7%

The city where Starbucks started is gaining momentum again. Being home to major startups, entrepreneurs flock to Seattle. Young professionals have many opportunities to thrive in Seattle’s business environment with careers available in technical and start up companies. 



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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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