The 10 Best Cities to Start Your Career

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By Rachel Gillett

If you think the promised land for starting your career is New York City or San Francisco, think again.

Your best prospects for building your new life are actually in Irving, Texas, according to personal finance site WalletHub.

To determine the best places for recent college graduates to launch their burgeoning careers, WalletHub analyzed and ranked the 150 most populous US cities based on 19 metrics pertaining to professional opportunities and quality of life.

Metrics included the number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents, housing affordability, annual job growth rate, recreation ranking, unemployment rate, and number of leisure establishments in the area.

To read more about the study's methodology, check out the full report here.
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The 10 best cities to start your career
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The 10 Best Cities to Start Your Career

Monthly median starting salary: $2,754

Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 16

Coming in at No. 10 overall is Tulsa, Oklahoma. It earned a professional opportunities rank of No. 5 and ranked No. 61 for quality of life. WalletHub also ranks the city as the second best for entrepreneurial activity.

Monthly median starting salary: $2,190

Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 9

WalletHub ranks Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the second best city for families and the sixth best for entrepreneurial activity, which makes the city the fourth best in terms of overall quality of life and No. 18 for overall professional opportunities.

Monthly median starting salary: $3,013

Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 29

Affordable housing options is one of the many reasons Fort Worth, Texas, is one of the best cities for overall professional opportunities and No. 41 for quality of life.

Monthly median starting salary: $2,634

Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 195

The median annual income in Fremont, California, is $71,593, the third highest of the 150 cities analyzed. This contributes to the city's overall professional opportunities rank of No. 9 and fairly high quality of life score.

Monthly median starting salary: $2,733

Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 9

With the second best median income growth rate and the seventh best annual job growth rate, Corpus Christi, Texas, comes in at No. 4 for overall professional opportunities and No. 82 for overall quality of life.

Monthly median starting salary: $3,671

Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 19

Houston, Texas, boasts the highest monthly median starting salary of the 150 cities analyzed, earning it a rank of No. 3 for overall professional opportunities and No. 71 for overall quality of life.

Monthly median starting salary: $2,845

Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 48

Denver, Colorado, has the eighth best overall professional opportunities and an overall quality of life rank of No. 13, which stems from its relatively high median income growth rate and young people making up almost a quarter of the city's population.

Monthly median starting salary: $3,005

Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 23

A rapidly growing population, a low unemployment rate of 3.4%, and tons of single people to hang out with earns Austin, Texas, the No. 11 spot in terms of professional opportunities and No. 1 for quality of life.

Monthly median starting salary: $3,190

Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 270

Grand Prairie, Texas, has some of the most affordable housing and plenty of entry-level jobs that pay well, which affords it the No. 2 spot for overall professional opportunities and No. 49 for overall quality of life.

Monthly median starting salary: $3,060

Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 233

With the second best workforce diversity levels and tons of entry-level jobs on the market, Irving, Texas, ranks No. 1 for overall professional opportunities and No. 38 for overall quality of life.

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