The 10 best cities for recent college graduates to rent in

(NEXSTAR) — With graduation season already in the rearview for millions across the U.S., it’s important for new college graduates to know where they can stretch their dollars further. Especially as they’re starting entry-level jobs.

“Graduating from college and moving to a new city to start your career is a major milestone. For many, it’s a reality check when they realize how much of their hard-earned paycheck goes straight to rent,” said Anushna Prakash, an economic data analyst at Zillow.

Zillow’s Best Markets for Recent College Graduates were determined using data on rent, average incomes, and share of the population between the ages of 21 to 29. Numbers of job postings in the area were also considered. Among the top factors used to determine the rankings, one was the balance between how much graduates can expect to earn vs. how much they can expect to pay in rent per month, on average.

The top 10 metropolitan areas for college graduates are:

Rank Metro area Typical rent Average new graduate salary Rent-to-income ratio
1. Colorado Springs, CO $1,824 $63,190 35%
2. Spokane, WA $1,563 $61,162 31%
3. Des Moines, IA $1,202 $59,697 24%
4. Phoenix, AZ $1,918 $62,324 37%
5. Buffalo, NY $1,257 $59,929 25%
6. Albuquerque, NM $1,531 $59,163 31%
7. Bakersfield, CA $1,767 $66,195 32%
8. Albany, NY $1,524 $63,513 29%
9. Portland, OR $1,856 $71,618 31%
10. Little Rock, AR $1,199 $51,294 28%

According to Zillow, while Colorado Springs doesn’t offer the least expensive rent prices, its job offerings and the large number of people in the target age range helped level out its desirability.

When it comes to how much the average college graduate can expect to earn in a year, Forbes Advisor reports those with a Bachelor’s degree can expect median yearly earnings of $59,600. Master’s degree holders (or higher), meanwhile, earn around $69,700, based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

While these numbers are the median, it’s important to note that the average college graduate made about $58,862 in their starting year, based on 2021 graduate data and as reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Another factor to consider — and one that is still in flux — is the weight student loan repayment will have on college graduates. While most student loan payments have been on pause throughout the pandemic, the Biden administration’s student debt forgiveness legislation remains hanging by a thread in Congress.

Financial resources outlet NerdWallet explains that, as of 2022, the average Bachelor’s degree holder had about $28,400 in student loan debt. Those with graduate degrees carried around $71,000.

Last week, House Republicans voted to overturn President Joe Biden’s $400-billion student debt relief plan, which would cancel up to $20,000 for some 40 million borrowers. The plan’s fate now lies with the U.S. Supreme Court, where its likelihood of survival isn’t bright.

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