worst cities
These are the worst cities to find a job as a post-grad in America (Image via World Atlas)

The 9 Worst Cities for College Graduates to Live

Graduation season is just around the corner, so you are going to want to steer clear of these cities.
January 8, 2018
10 mins read

Right now, as you are reading this article, you’re probably thinking: I have plenty of time to think about post-graduation job searching, so why should I even bother reading this? Well, no offense, but that line of thinking is wrong. It’s never too early to start thinking about where you want to live after the end of your college career and what full-time career you want to go into.

There are plenty of cities that probably come to your mind when you think of post-graduation life. Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and plenty more cities probably come up on your dream list of places to live after you walk across the stage at graduation. However, some of those cities that were just listed are one of the worst places for college graduates to live. So, continue reading and find out which nine cities you should probably avoid while job searching.

Cities with the least affordable housing:

When you graduate college, you probably won’t have a high paying job, at least not yet. On top of that, you have to factor in loan payments, car payments, insurance and money for day-to-day living such as groceries, electricity, monthly Netflix payments and more. So, you’re going to want to look at cities with affordable housing that won’t gobble up most of your paycheck. Here are three cities with the least affordable housing in the United States.

Orange County, California. Do you remember the show, “The OC”? The teen drama set in the lavish town of Orange County, Calif. that dominated tween television in the early 2000s? Well, if you were thinking of living in the actual Orange County, think again. The percentage of your average weekly income required to pay for a median-priced home is 80.9 percent. So, perhaps you should hold off on your dream of living like Mischa Barton, unless you manage to have about three or four roommates to help pay for your nice, beachfront apartment.

Sonoma, California. If you love wine, this one is going to sting just a little bit. Sonoma is mostly known for its vast array of wineries and beautiful mountain scenery, but, as you guessed, it’s super pricy to live there. You would need to dole out 1 percent of your weekly income to live in this scenic California town. So, what exactly could you live in if you still chose to move to the wine country? Well, a simple search on Zillow.com shows that you can’t find an apartment to rent for less than $1,500 a month, and that’s only for a small, one bedroom apartment. You might as well just live on campus for another year or stay in that overpriced on-campus apartment you have now.

New York City, New York. It’s no shock that the bustling New York City would be make the list of least affordable places to live. Not only is it expensive to live there, with 4 percent of your paycheck going towards housing, but it’s also expensive to do just about anything in New York. Want to see a movie? That will cost you around $15. Grab a meal with your friends? That’ll cost you around $48, while the national average is around $40. Sure, you could probably make it work depending on how much you make at your first job, but you might end up getting stuck in a studio apartment with about five other people.

Cities with the slowest job growth:

When you’re applying for a job, you’re going to want to look at job growth because, well, you’re going to want to live somewhere with actual jobs. A slow job growth rate means that the city isn’t producing new jobs at a high rate, so there’s less of a chance of you getting a job there. Here are the three cities with the slowest job growth.

Shreveport, Lousianna. When most people think Louisiana, they mostly just think of New Orleans and not Shreveport. Well, that might be for a good reason. The third largest city in the state actually has a negative percent of job growth. It has -0.24 percent recent job growth, which means that’s its losing more jobs than its gaining. That’s a pretty scary thought for any senior about to graduate college and look for jobs.

Lubbock, Texas While Lubbock is known as “Hub City” with its high energy, collegiate crowd from two universities and numerous festivals, it has a low job growth of 0.86 percent compared to the 1.59 percent national average. While this city would be fun for a recent graduate to live in, the low job growth rate doesn’t show that a college graduate would have a lot of job opportunities here.

Augusta, Georgia. Oh, Augusta, home of the Masters golf tournament every year, sunshine all year round and enough Ralph Lauren polos to make any fraternity brother eternally happy riding around in a golf cart with a Bud Light in hand. What’s the downside you ask? Its job growth in 2016 alone was just 2.1 percent with an annual projected job growth of 1.1 percent. Yikes. That’s pretty low compared to Riverside, Calif. with the fastest job growth rate of 3.40 percent. While Augusta is a beautiful town to visit, with such a low projected job growth rate, it definitely doesn’t seem like a booming city that a recent college graduate should live in.

Cities with the lowest average salary:

This is probably the most important category when you’re looking for a possible new home post-graduation. Salary is what you live off of, so if you have a salary on the smaller size, that’s going to make paying off student loans, paying monthly rent and paying for fun activities like concerts and a night out at the local bar a little difficult. So, here are three cities to steer clear of if you want a (semi) big paycheck.

Santa Ana, California. With its famous Newport Beach and Huntington Beach and a lively, young scene with numerous colleges in the area, Santa Ana would definitely provide a lot of fun entertainment for a recent college graduate. However, with an average salary of $49,184 and the average apartment costing $1,307 to rent a month, a millennial wouldn’t have much money left over to participate in those fun activities.

Anaheim, California. While Anaheim has the eighth largest economy in the U.S., thanks to Disneyland bringing in almost 18 million people in 2016, it’s home to one of the lowest average salaries in the nation. The city’s average salary is $49,353, which might seem like a pretty large paycheck to college graduates who have only earned minimum wage for the last four years. However, when you factor in an average apartment costing a whopping $1,362 a month to rent, that salary isn’t going to go very far. So, while yes, it would be awesome to live and work in the same city as Disneyland, it isn’t worth it with that low of an average salary and a high cost of living.

Irvine, California. Are you sensing a pattern yet? Yes, the city with third lowest average salary is, again, in California. While the average salary is much higher than the previous two cities at $68,942, the cost of living is also higher. A studio bedroom, on average, will cost you a heart stopping $1,350 a month, which is $638 more than the national average. And if you’re feeling a little extravagant, you could upgrade to a one-bedroom apartment, costing you $1,641 a month. Do you even want to know what that is compared to the national average? Well, it’s $816 more a month. So, while you would get paid more money to work in Irvine, you would also have to spend a lot more money to just have a roof over your head.

Sydney Jennings, University of Connecticut

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Sydney Jennings

University of Connecticut

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