Best Cities for Recent College Grads? You Might Be Surprised

top places recent college grads livingGiven the nation's weak labor markets, it's not surprising that many recent college graduates are still looking for work. Further, the inability to find that first job after college may push some young Americans to consider relocating to a different city in search of better opportunities.

But finding both a good-paying job and an affordable apartment can be challenging. Beyond starting a career and settling down, though, a destination has to offer lots of exciting things to do.

It's probably not surprising therefore that major U.S. cities top the list of the fourth annual Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates, according to and

The websites used data about the concentration of young adults ages 20 to 24, the inventory of entry-level jobs and the average cost in March to rent a one-bedroom apartment to compile their 10 Best list.

"There are almost three times as many renters moving for new job opportunities this year than in 2010, according to our annual moving survey,"'s Tammy Kotula says in a statement releasing the latest rankings.

"This tells us that the economy is improving, but people are relocating as a result," she says. And that adds more pressure on new grads to find the right place at the right price, even as they seek to jump-start their professional lives.

Top 10 Best Cities for
Recent College Graduates

Average Rent for a
One-Bedroom Apartment

1. Hartford - New Haven


2. Cleveland


3. Boston


4. Denver


5. Minneapolis


6. San Francisco


7. Washington, D.C.


8. Philadelphia


9. Atlanta


10. St. Louis


This year's rankings favor big cities, but the Hartford-New Haven region of Connecticut topped the list. About 90 minutes northeast of New York City, the area, which features quaint towns and smaller cities, provides ample entry-level job opportunities as well as reasonable rents. And if the local nightlife doesn't suit your tastes, the Big Apple is just a quick train, bus or car ride away.

Though it's a major city, some may be surprised that Cleveland takes the No. 2 spot. But the affordable northeast Ohio city has long been known for a vibrant nightlife that extends beyond bars and dance clubs to include cultural offerings such as theater, live music, museums, world class restaurants and more.

Boston, Denver and Minneapolis placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively, according to the list. While apartment rentals in Boston are about 40 percent more expensive than they are in the other two cities, it is possible to live in Beantown without a car -- not so easy in sprawling Denver and Minneapolis.

Two other high-rent cities -- San Francisco and Washington -- at Nos. 6 and 7, respectively, also made the websites' list. As with Boston, it's possible to find excellent entry-level employment in a dynamic locale and not have to rely on an automobile to get around.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Philadelphia, Atlanta and St. Louis -- all top-tier cities that offer a diversity of employers, reasonable rents and plenty of activities geared toward young adults.

And while there's little doubt that job seeking remains challenging for many Americans, there is a silver lining for recent grads: reports that 46 percent of employers plan to hire recent college graduates this year -- up from 44 percent in 2010.

Next:Math, Science And Engineering Graduates Pick Other Careers

Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now

Stories from CNN Money

Read Full Story