You’ll find some of the world’s best paying jobs in places such as San Francisco, New York City, and Washington D.C. But before you pack your bags and wave goodbye to your dinky dorm, remember that America’s most recognizable cities are often the country’s most expensive.
In a recent study conducted by real estate site Trulia and careers site Indeed, the authors concluded that finding the ideal place to work and live after college is a tricky task. For example, companies in San José – the highest paying city – paid recent grads around $3,300 a month, reports Time.
However, new graduates can only afford less than 3% of available rental listing in the area.
It’s a difficult choice between a roof over your head or a bigger paycheck in your pocket, but a problem the study’s authors said could be remedied by moving to “sweet spot” cities that offer the best of both worlds. These tick all the boxes:
1. Bloomington, IL
Framed by three golf courses and decorated with a patchwork of green spaces, from parks to gardens, Bloomington is a welcoming place for recent college graduates. It was where Abraham Lincoln once proved himself as a top attorney, and now, it’s where you can jumpstart your career.
A thriving job market is proof that more and more companies are choosing to open their doors in the historic area. According to Payscale.com, employees in Bloomington rake in an average of $50,467 annually. The best part? Rent averages out to just $889 per month, making it one of the most affordable places to live in the country, reports Business Insider.
2. Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Lauderdale knows how to fight back. When the city lost over 100,000 jobs during the recession, local companies didn’t admit defeat.
With a series of investments and an influx of skilled college graduates, the city has not only recovered those lost jobs but has added plenty more every year, reported Storage Talk.
Home to 150 corporate and regional headquarters belonging to Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft and AutoNation, there are endless opportunities to pursue success in any sector, from education and the arts, to science and finance.
3. Littleton, CO
Sitting just a few miles outside of Denver, this popular municipality is filled to the brim with lucrative job opportunities for recent college graduates, especially in the fields of science, finance and teaching. But to unlock the area’s true potential, you’ll need to take a ride.
Littleton, like many places in the state, is connected to Colorado’s thriving metropolitan areas via the Regional Transportation District – a massive public transport project operating over a 2,340-square-mile area. The result: Denver’s expansive job market is always just a short train trip away.
The city ranks as the 19th best city for new graduates in the U.S. by SmartAsset, which awarded Denver top marks for job availability and life outside of work. However, it was heavily penalized for its relatively high cost of living. For example, according to Payscale.com, you can expect to pay around 32% more than the national average to keep a roof over your head in Denver.
Not only is housing substantially more affordable in nearby Littleton, but you’ll also be forced to shell out far less for the same quality of life. The only compromise? A slightly longer commute.
4. Fort Collins, CO
Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins is a city that can never sit still. Residents can always be found hiking on the area’s extensive trails, practicing yoga in pristine parks or cruising along more than 280 miles of on-street bike lanes.
You won’t just be working out; you’ll be working hard. According to Livability.com, the city is an engine of economic growth and stability for northern Colorado, with one of the highest employment rates in the country.
Plus, you’ll pay less for housing than most other metro areas.
5. Glastonbury, Connecticut
Rich in history and abundant in idyllic gardens and recreational spaces, Glastonbury is the perfect place to unwind and dial down the noise of the big city without missing out on the job opportunities you’ll find in those metro areas.
Situated just a two-hour drive from New York City and Boston, you’ll be near two of the biggest business centers in the world. But you don’t have to look beyond the town bounds to land yourself work here. Factoring in crime rates, housing availability and employment, Glastonbury’s job market has certainly earned its spot on this list.