The best cities for launching your career
Ready to make that big transition from college kid to working adult? Bankrate has great information and tools to help you get your professional life off to a strong start. We've ranked 100 of the largest cities to show you the top launching pads for a lucrative career, based on important factors including pay levels; the availability of jobs; opportunities for advancement; and quality-of-life stuff like weather, crime and even whether there are lots of bars and restaurants.
Hover over our top 10 and bottom 10 cities on the map above to see their profiles, then check out how all 100 cities ranked in each category on the chart below.
Methodology: The study analyzed the 100 largest U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with the healthiest economies -- that is, with per capita GDP levels above $40,000. Cities were ranked based on an index (scaled from 0 to 100) that captured a total of 18 variables within 5 groups with equal weightings: job prospects, pay potential, quality of life, social opportunities and career advancement. The quality of life group factors in housing affordability, cost of living, tax rates and amenities (including weather, crime rates, air quality, closeness to a coast and availability of bars and restaurants) and is based on research results published in a 2015 paper by David Albouy, associate professor of economics at the University of Illinois. All other data come from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.