With the New Year right around the corner, many people, especially millennial workers, are starting to think about making a change. This might mean a new job, a new city, or both. And if you’re a young person in the workforce thinking about relocating (and a $2,000-a-month one-bedroom in New York or Los Angeles doesn’t make much sense to you), here are nine cities you need to consider.
1. Ames, Iowa
The home of Iowa State University, Ames is the epitome of the Midwest. And with an unemployment rate of only 2.1 percent, it's a city you need to consider. This agricultural center regularly ranks at the top of various "best places to live" lists (Forbes, Money, Bloomberg, and SmartAsset have all ranked Ames highly). According to CityTowninfo.com, Iowa State is the city's top employer; other top employers include the Iowa Department of Transportation, Mary Greeley Medical Center, Ames Laboratories, Hach Companies, and 3M. Housing is affordable: median one-bedroom apartments can be found in the $750 range.
2. Austin, Texas
Usually, popular and happening cities like Austin are cursed with high rents, but you can find decent one-bedroom apartments in Austin for $1,000 or less. The closer you live to downtown, the more expensive rents are. Unemployment is a stunningly low 2.8 percent, and that means you can probably get a job as soon as you arrive. And with Facebook, Google, Indeed, Dell, and many other top names with either headquarters or major office branches in Austin, tech jobs are plentiful. Austin has also become a start-up hub, and with consumer product incubators like SKU, the city is an entrepreneur’s dream.
3. Fargo, North Dakota
It’s cold and often called "The Great White North," but Fargo is hipper than you think. With a low 2.2 percent unemployment rate, and with North Dakota one-bedroom median rents at only $600 per month, you might need to look beyond any negative factors. According to Fargo Moorhead Economic Development, “Some of our largest employers include divisional, regional, national, and global headquarters and facilities for Microsoft Business Solutions, Bobcat Co., John Deere Electronic Solutions, Border States Electric Supply, RDO Equipment Co., Titan Machinery, and American Crystal Sugar.” If you’re looking for a job in manufacturing or agriculture, Fargo might be the place for you. And if you’re into music, Fargo has an amazingly developed blues scene.
4. Lincoln, Nebraska
Another midwestern haven, Lincoln has a super-low 2.5 percent unemployment rate. The Great Plains have a special feel, and Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska, is home to employers in education, insurance, banking, health care, and, of course, government. You can get a one-bedroom apartment in Lincoln for under $800. Like Fargo, Lincoln has a budding music scene, as well as a growing arts scene, making it much more than a college town (it’s where the University of Nebraska is located). It also has an extensive park system, making getting outdoors and enjoying the outdoors very easy.
5. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is hip, cool, and boasts an amazingly low 2.4 percent unemployment rate. Madison is the state capital and home to the giant University of Wisconsin. And it's often been referred to as the "Austin of the Midwest." Tech jobs abound, political and public service jobs are plentiful, and there’s nothing like a July day at the Memorial Union outside on the shores of Lake Mendota. College towns like Madison offer a wide array of housing options, and the further away from downtown you choose to live, the more value you can find.
6. Manchester, New Hampshire
Go to Manchester because you can vote in one of the earliest presidential primaries. Also go there because the unemployment rate is 2.5 percent and you can get a one-bedroom apartment for about $1,100 a month—a little pricier than some other choices on this list, but you’ll be in the Northeast. Banking, medical, and insurance are the dominant industries here. Great, well-paying jobs are plentiful.
7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee was once known as Chicago’s little brother with a huge inferiority complex, but not anymore. Beer City’s unemployment rate is 3.8 percent, and the city has two major sports teams—the Brewers and Bucks—and moving there will make you an instant Green Bay Packer backer. Lake Michigan is the city's eastern border, so there’s plenty of water and shoreline to enjoy. The proximity to water is also fueling water tech industries, and Marquette University Law School is right downtown. In fact, if you go to MU Law, graduate, and stay in Wisconsin, you don’t need to pass a bar exam to become a licensed attorney! Yes, the weather can be a little challenging in the winter months, but the summers are beautiful. For all these reasons and more, Milwaukee should be at the top of your list of cities to consider.
8. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis has an unemployment rate of 2.4 percent. Electronics, medical products, and graphic design are big industries here. The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are quite hip and fun (there are well established music and art scenes), and even though it gets cold, millennials have been flocking to this midwestern metropolis. You can find a decent one-bedroom in a hip neighborhood like Uptown for around $1,000. Plus, you’ll be able to visit Paisley Park as often as you want.
9. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio's unemployment rate is around 3 percent. In some areas, you can hook yourself up with a one-bedroom apartment in the $500 range. There are lots of cybersecurity, aerospace, and energy jobs available. It's also a beautiful city (San Antonio has been called the "American Venice"). And if you like Tex-Mex food, you'll be incredibly happy, to say the least. This all means you really need to consider this growing city.
Sam Radbil is the lead writer for ABODO Apartments, an online real estate and apartments marketplace with available apartments from college towns like Madison, Wisconsin to major cities like Chicago. Their research, rent reports like this one, and writing has been featured nationally in Curbed, Forbes, Realtor.com, HousingWire, and more.
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