Report: Atlanta No. 1 for recent college grads

Lower rents, better job prospects make the city a better bet for the newly graduated

Commencement season is almost wrapped up, Memorial Day has come and gone, and across the country, 1.6 million recent grads are beginning the summer ritual of starting new jobs or, more likely, moving back home. Perhaps more of them should just move to Atlanta: A study by puts the ATL on top of a “Top 10 Cities for New Grads” list.

The rubric scrutinizes mean entry-level income, median price for a one-bedroom apartment, unemployment rate, and the number of nearby colleges and universities. Although statistics aren’t provided, social opportunities and the percentage of millennials (ages 25–34) in the population were also factored into the final rankings.

Top U.S. Cities for Grads

  1. Atlanta
  2. Dallas
  3. Houston
  4. St. Louis
  5. Minneapolis/St. Paul
  6. Raleigh, N.C.
  7. Denver
  8. Seattle
  9. Boston
  10. Washington, D.C.

The recent boom in the apartment market (as studied by Axiometrics) and rents going up in popular areas like near the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail could potentially have some interesting effects on the median rent. But now, according to, Atlanta’s current monthly median rental rate of $800 is tied with Raleigh and Houston as the lowest in the top ten.

But maybe the real catch is earning a mean entry salary of $43,000–21 percent higher than the national average. Also, there’s the intangible coolness factor that comes with getting to post iconic skyline Instagrams on the way to the office: So. Many. Likes.