The Class of 2010 is matriculating into an economy with 20 percent unemployment for people between the ages of 15 to 24. Though, as a story on The Daily Beast today, notes "the unemployment rate for college graduates is actually less than 5 percent." The article argues for weighing one factor above all others when starting a new professional life: location, location, location.
Twenty-somethings understand well they face not only fewer job options but dwindling corporate commitment—it’s not only harder to find a job, it’s also easier to lose it. So it makes good sense to pick a city where the labor market is thick with job opportunities as a hedge against economic insecurity. What twenty-somethings value the most is the ability to meet people and make friends. This also makes very good sense actually. Personal networks are about much more than having fun, they’re among the best ways to find a job and move forward in a career.
Twenty-somethings rank the availability of outstanding colleges and universities highly. Many want to go back to school to pursue a graduate degree or professional degree, and having these options available where you live is a big plus. Of course, young people value amenities too—from parks and open space to nightlife and culture. It’s less about all-night partying though, twenty-somethings prefer places where they can easily go for a run or bike ride, work out or walk their dog, grab a coffee, take in a concert, see interesting new art, or take in a good meal with friends.
According to The Daily Beast's ranking of the "25 Best Cities for College Grads," this all adds up to staying in school. Or, at the very least, a college town. Ithaca, NY; Madison, WI; Ann Arbor, MI; Durham, NC; and Austin, TX take the top spots in the list. Excepting Austin, the first full-blown city doesn't appear until slot no. 7 (Washington, D.C., followed by Boston, and NYC).
Obviously, there's a lot of variability to what people want, but does this list imply that the time-honored dream of trying to make it in the big city has fallen by the economic wayside? With all the cuts expected at public universities across the country this coming year, are college towns really the best places for young adults?
Photo of Boulder, CO via.