By Anne Stych Contributing Writer,
August 15, 2019
Where do the young professionals who make up a third of the working population get the most bang for their buck?
With few exceptions, millennials should eschew the coasts and head for the middle of the country if they want to enjoy a high salary-to-cost-of-living ratio and good quality of life, according to an analysis by financial advisory firm SmartAsset.
The study considered nine metrics that encompass both economic and livability factors relevant to young professionals, including cost of living, entertainment, job diversity and income, along with the unemployment rate for those between 25 and 34.
And although San Francisco ranks fifth on the list, the east coast has dropped down below 40th on the list — Boston is the first to appear, at #42.
For the third year in a row, Sioux Falls, South Dakota ranks first as the best city for young professionals. It’s a very affordable city, with a median gross rent below $800 a month, compared to a national average of $1,109 a month. Median rent as a percentage of full-time workers’ earnings was only 15.14 percent, compared to an average of 23.43 percent for all cities.
Although No. 2 Austin, Texas doesn’t fare as well in the rent-to-income ratio at 22 percent, workers there make higher wages and there is a low 3 percent unemployment rate for young people, who make up nearly one-fourth of the city’s population.
Both Denver and Nashville, which are tied for No. 3 on the list, moved up significantly from last year’s SmartAsset ranking. In 2018, Denver, Colorado was listed 25th and Nashville tied for 20th. In 2019, both cities showed significantly improved economic metrics.