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Best cities for young professionals

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    Best cities for young professionals

    The business world is changing. People no longer walk into establishments, turn in a paper resume, and stay with the same company for 20 years. Jobs defined by location are also a thing of the past as new technology allows for easier remote work and additionally, lesser-known cities all over the country are experiencing migrations of large corporations to their area. From Apple and Google research centers in Pittsburgh, to the rapidly growing tech industry in Raleigh, entire cities are being rebuilt from economic growth that companies and young professionals bring.

    Here at Stacker, we analyzed data from Smart Asset comprised of nine metrics: the cost of living, young professional population, employment rate, job diversity, number of entertainment establishments, and cost of rent. Take a look at our list and types of industries in each city, and figure out what location is best for you.

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    #75. Knoxville, TN

    Young Professionals Index: 49.9

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.47%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.27%

    Knoxville acts as a central hub to many of the state’s other major cities like Bristol, Asheville, and Nashville. However, its location in the Great Appalachian Valley acts as a gateway to the Smoky Mountains—allowing residents to remain close to nature. 

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    #74. Huntington Beach, CA

    Young Professionals Index: 49.9

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.1%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.2%

    Housing as % of income: 34%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.27%

    With sunny forecasts and temps averaging between 50 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, Huntington Beach offers ideal conditions for surfing and lounging on the beach after a hard day’s work. Dubbed Surf City USA, the city pays homage to the sport with the Surfing Walk of Fame, International Surfing Museum, and U.S. Open of Surfing. Huntington Beach houses installations for oil companies, as well as bases for firms like Cambro Manufacturing. 

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    #73. San Diego, CA

    Young Professionals Index: 50.1

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 18.8%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.59%

    Housing as % of income: 34%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.47%

    Cited by the Farmers’ Almanac for having one of the U.S.’s top 10 climates, this city is situated along the San Diego Bay. Canyons and cliffs in the surrounding area make it perfect for walks through downtown—and hikes outside the city. In addition to a number of startups in the city (inspiring Forbes to deem it the best city in the country to launch a small business), the San Diego economy consists of military complexes, international trade, research, and manufacturing businesses.

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    #72. Henderson, NV

    Young Professionals Index: 50.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 12%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 7.04%

    Housing as % of income: 28.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 2.37%

    Ranked as America’s second safest city by Forbes, and hailed as one of the best cities to live by Bloomberg Businessweek, the city of Henderson is the ideal place to live for individuals who want to enjoy the entertainment of Las Vegas (located only 16 miles away), but also want to live in a quieter area—that is, if you can stand the heat. In the summer, temperatures can head well above 100 degrees. Being close to Vegas gave Henderson one of the highest percentages of entertainment establishment density on this list at 2.37%.

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    #71. Mesa, AZ

    Young Professionals Index: 50.8

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.81%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.29%

    With over 2,280 acres of parkland, it can be easy to forget that the city is home to more than 484,000 people—14.6% of which are in the young professional age range. Founded in 1878, Mesa has been around long enough to develop a rich history that is still largely intact, with a number of historic structures located throughout the city—such as the Williams Air Force Base which has been conjoined with the local airport.

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    #70. St. Petersburg, FL

    Young Professionals Index: 51.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.4%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.39%

    Housing as % of income: 28.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.58%

    The city is home to a strong art scene, with several museums that feature prominent paintings—like The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus by Salvador Dalí, and sculptures by Dale Chihuly. The city annually hosts cultural and sporting events such as the Martin Luther King Jr. parade, the St. Pete Grand Prix, and Pete Pride weekend: a major LGBT community event.

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    #69. Tampa, FL

    Young Professionals Index: 51.2

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 8.28%

    Housing as % of income: 28.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.33%

    With the local economy made of financial, healthcare, real estate, and defense companies, young professionals (which make up 16.7% of its population), will have their choice from a large number of employers. When residents aren’t relaxing on the beach or shopping in chic neighborhoods, they can be found enjoying a number of unique events—like the annual Gasparilla festival, at which the city stages a pirate invasion.

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    #68. Oakland, CA

    Young Professionals Index: 51.2

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 19.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.28%

    Housing as % of income: 30%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.31%

    If you find yourself spending hours behind the canvas or at a pottery wheel, Oakland is likely the city for you. The city is considered one of the nation’s major art scenes, and in fact claims the highest concentration of artists per capita in the United States. Young professionals wishing to live in the Golden State but scared off by the state’s notoriously high rents should consider Oakland. Housing takes up 30% of income on average, which is actually low for California.

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    #67. Norfolk, VA

    Young Professionals Index: 51.3

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 18.8%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 7.22%

    Housing as % of income: 30%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.24%

    With a location that blends coastal and city living, Norfolk offers young professionals a chance to build their careers in its scenic metro center. The city’s history dates back to Colonial times; the city was a strategic naval port that flourished in the early economy, and it continues to do so today—with military and Fortune 500 companies importing and exporting goods. With the young professional population being on the higher side at 18.8%, you can find a lot to do in the city. It’s considered a cultural hub of Virginia, offering diverse performance arts and parades in the city center.

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    #66. Baltimore, MD

    Young Professionals Index: 52.5

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 18.8%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 10.08%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.47%

    Baltimore has produced some of the world’s greatest creative minds, such as Edgar Allan Poe, James Blake, and Billie Holiday, and features a blend of industrial and modern architecture that gives the city a rustic yet vibrant aesthetic. Notable employers include Under Armour, Johns Hopkins, and McCormick & Company. However, the city retains a notably high unemployment rate for young professionals: 10.8%.

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    #65. Arlington, TX

    Young Professionals Index: 52.6

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16.5%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 4.93%

    Housing as % of income: 29.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.22%

    Those who prefer warmer climates will certainly want to consider Arlington, with temperatures hovering around 75 degrees—perfect for the city’s many sports teams. Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers baseballs team, plus the Arlington Mavericks and the Dallas Cowboys. Young residents will want to check out Planetarium Dome Theater, Six Flags, and Levitt Pavilion—which offers more than 50 free concerts a year. It’s no wonder young professionals make up a significant 16.5% of the city demographics.

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    #64. Winston Salem, NC

    Young Professionals Index: 53.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 13.9%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.79%

    Housing as % of income: 24%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.72%

    Winston Salem is a city for young professionals looking to find their place in a specific industry—with headquarters for BB&T, Hanes, and Krispy Kreme nestled in the city. Additionally, the city is an up and coming hub for the development of nano and biotech research and development. However, like-minded young professionals may be far and few between, with only 13.9% of residents in their age range.

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    #63. Akron, OH

    Young Professionals Index: 53.1

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.5%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 9.23%

    Housing as % of income: 23%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.41%

    Young professionals will find Akron an attractive choice with its affordable rent, which on average only takes up only 23% of an individual’s income. The city houses a number of Fortune 500 companies such as FirstEnergy and Goodyear, and as has served as a filming backdrop for a number of media companies.

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    #62. Little Rock, AR

    Young Professionals Index: 53.6

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 15%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 4.99%

    Housing as % of income: 24%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.1%

    Little Rock probably doesn’t come to mind when young professionals are considering where to launch their career, but the capital of Arkansas has a number of large companies and nonprofits headquartered in the city. But with only 1.1% percent entertainment establishment density, you’ll likely find yourself exploring the beautiful surrounding nature than hitting up local hot spots.

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    #61. Yonkers, NY

    Young Professionals Index: 54.4

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.4%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.28%

    Housing as % of income: 30%

    Entertainment establishment density: 2.13%

    Yonkers is an ideal choice for young professionals looking to make a splash in the Big Apple while saving some money on rent—although it’s 30% of income on average, that’s still 2% less than NYC. Yonkers has one of the highest rates of public transit riders, making your commute to work and local eateries a little easier.

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    #60. Chattanooga, TN

    Young Professionals Index: 55.5

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.5%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 9.69%

    Housing as % of income: 25%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.58%

    Chattanooga is a great choice for young professionals looking to get involved in the manufacturing and distribution industry, with notable companies like Amazon, Coca-Cola, and Volkswagen having facilities in the city. However, it may take some time to find your ideal job, as the unemployment rate sits around 9.69%.

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    #59. New York, NY

    Young Professionals Index: 55.8

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 17.9%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 7.19%

    Housing as % of income: 32%

    Entertainment establishment density: 4.34%

    The hype is worth it—those looking to become engrossed in one of the larger communities of other young professionals (around 17.9% of the population), and navigate their way through a city with 4.34% entertainment establishment density, will want to look no further than New York City. The city houses numerous big entertainment and tech companies like HBO, Verizon, and CBS—perfect for the aspiring techie or creative.

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    #58. Birmingham, AL

    Young Professionals Index: 56.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 17.3%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 11.66%

    Housing as % of income: 25%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.2%

    Financial experts and those in the medical field will want to check out the city of Birmingham, known as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. (along with its fair share of medical care and research facilities). And with the young professional population at 17.3%, residents have a great opportunity to grow their network and social circle. But those considering making the move should try to have a job lined up before they do so, as the city's unemployment is one of the highest on the list.

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    #57. Tulsa, OK

    Young Professionals Index: 56.5

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 15.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.12%

    Housing as % of income: 25%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.26%

    Tulsa's culture can be seen all around the city in the form of monuments and museums that depict the historical presence of Native Americans, which is also reflected in the architecture. The city's economy is largely made up of energy, manufacturing, and export businesses, which earned the city its ranking as second in the nation for most income growth.

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    #56. Wichita, KS

    Young Professionals Index: 57.2

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6%

    Housing as % of income: 22%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.37%

    Wichita is the manufacturing hub of the region, accounting for 21.6% of the job market in the city. It’s an ideal choice for young professionals wishing to get involved with the likes of Boeing or Chance Morgan Coasters. Professionals on a budget will take notice of the city’s affordable rent, costing only 22% of an individual’s income on average.

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    #55. Santa Clarita, CA

    Young Professionals Index: 57.5

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 12.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.05%

    Housing as % of income: 33%

    Entertainment establishment density: 5.49%

    Those looking for a lively city will feel at home in Santa Clarita, which has the highest entertainment establishment density on account of its music venues, theaters, and clubs. The city is only a short bus ride to neighboring cities like Hollywood, so don’t feel limited by its job prospects.

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    #54. Chandler, AZ

    Young Professionals Index: 58.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.8%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 4.57%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.29%

    If you can stand the heat, Chandler is a suburb just outside of Phoenix that’s perfect for any tech lover—it’s here that Intel houses a major manufacturing plant for computer chips. Residents will likely find employment quickly, as the city has a remarkably low unemployment rate at 4.57%.

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    #53. Glendale, CA

    Young Professionals Index: 58.3

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 8.76%

    Housing as % of income: 32%

    Entertainment establishment density: 5.49%

    With a young professional population of 16% and entertainment establishment density of 5.49%, residents won’t find it difficult to fill their time on weekends with all the social offerings in Glendale. But those who prefer to stay outdoors will certainly enjoy the city’s 50 parks and historic monuments, including the only West Coast monument honoring Korean women of World War II.

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    #52. New Orleans, LA

    Young Professionals Index: 58.3

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 18.5%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 9.41%

    Housing as % of income: 28.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 2.22%

    You won’t find a more colorful and unique cityscape than New Orleans, which boasts French and Spanish-style architecture in bright colors. The city has seen a recent surge in creative industries and is growing in entrepreneurship; young professionals have been flocking to the city and make up 18.5% of its residents.

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    #51. Gilbert, AZ

    Young Professionals Index: 58.8

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 13.2%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 1.3%

    Housing as % of income: 30%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.29%

    With one of the lowest rates of unemployment at 1.29%, young residents of this Arizona town can rest easy knowing that their talent is in demand—especially those in the medical industry, which makes up a significant portion of the economy. The city is also known for having notability low crime, with zero murders reported in 2005, 2007, and 2014.

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    #50. Huntsville, AL

    Young Professionals Index: 59.1

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 15.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 8.85%

    Housing as % of income: 22%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.22%

    Young professionals looking to get involved in aerospace development may find themselves in Huntsville, where NASA houses their space flight center, among a number of other research and design groups. If science isn’t your thing, the city has a well established art scene, with orchestras, ballets, and galleries.

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    #49. Richmond, VA

    Young Professionals Index: 59.6

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 20.9%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 8.13%

    Housing as % of income: 28.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.8%

    The large VCU campus gives the Virginia capitol a youthful culture, with young professionals making up 20.9% of the population—plus many unique businesses you won’t find in bigger metro areas. The economy is comprised of medical research at VCU, government and law at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and financial analysis work at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

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    #48. Newport News, VA

    Young Professionals Index: 59.8

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 7.26%

    Housing as % of income: 28.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.38%

    With Southern vibes and coastal views, Newport News may attract those interested in pursuing engineering, as multiple military manufacturing and aerospace design companies are situated in the city.  Residents will likely find themselves traveling to trails and nearby Virginia Beach to enjoy themeselves, as the entertainment establishment density comes in low at 1.38%.  

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    #47. Virginia Beach, VA

    Young Professionals Index: 60.3

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16.8%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.11%

    Housing as % of income: 33%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.78%

    Virginia Beach is a hub for military and agriculture production, and as noted earlier, is a hot spot for visitors on vacation. The largest employer is NAS Oceana, with several other military bases in the city used for training—likely accounting for a large portion of its 16.8% young professional rate.

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    #46. Durham, NC

    Young Professionals Index: 60.5

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 19.2%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 4.86%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.68%

    Durham is a center for cultural and tech industries, with a major IBM office located in the city and a number of annual film and dance festivals. The city offers employment for residents wishing to get involved with research and education; Duke University and its health research sector is the top employer, contributing to higher-than-average younger population.

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    #45. Irving, TX

    Young Professionals Index: 60.8

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 18.8%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 2.77%

    Housing as % of income: 30%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.02%

    As a inner-ring suburb of Dallas County, Irvine is closely situated with many oil and Fortune 500 companies such as Verizon and Microsoft—ideal for those looking to get into tech and corporate environments. 18.8% of the population is in the young professional age group, and they face low unemployment at 2.77%.

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    #44. Greensboro, NC

    Young Professionals Index: 60.8

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 15.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.94%

    Housing as % of income: 26%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.42%

    The third most-populous city in North Carolina offers an up and coming technology scene, great for young professionals looking to establish themselves in the field. The city also is known for its warmer weather and short, mild winters—as well as a notable art scene with folk music and art galleries.

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    #43. Tempe, AZ

    Young Professionals Index: 61.5

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 19%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.96%

    Housing as % of income: 29.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.29%

    Tempe is home of one of the state’s major colleges, Arizona State University, which is the city’s top employer with more than 8,000 staff members. Housing is on the cheaper side for the area, and may be a better choice for those looking to commute to neighboring Phoenix.

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    #42. Kansas City, MO

    Young Professionals Index: 61.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 15.9%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.44%

    Housing as % of income: 24%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.25%

    Kansas City serves as a federal government center, housing more than 146 federal agencies that employ a large percentage of the city’s population. Influence from Irish culture is apparent in the city’s art scene and history, as the city has over 50,000 residents of Irish heritage.

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    #41. Louisville, KY

    Young Professionals Index: 61.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.4%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.78%

    Housing as % of income: 22%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.72%

    Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, and its economy is historically supported by shipping and cargo due to its central location within the United States. Residents can take advantage of the city’s cheaper rent, which only takes up 22% of income.  Louisville is situated between Kentucky and Indiana along the Ohio River, which gives it a blend of southern and midwestern culture.

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    #40. Grand Rapids, MI

    Young Professionals Index: 62.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 19.4%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.01%

    Housing as % of income: 28.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.42%

    Located on the Grand River, Grand Rapids is host to several large medical centers that employ a significant amount of the residents (19.4% of which are young professionals). Being situated on the riverfront means that residents can enjoy scenic day cruises along the banks.

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    #39. Baton Rouge, LA

    Young Professionals Index: 62.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 15.3%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 7.92%

    Housing as % of income: 24%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.23%

    Hailed as one of the top 10 places for young adults by Portfolio Magazine and ranked as one of the best places to start a business by CNN, Baton Rouge is well-regarded as a center for economic strength. It’s home to several energy companies (including ExxonMobil), along with a few film studios that were drawn to the city for tax incentives.

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    #38. Raleigh, NC

    Young Professionals Index: 63.4

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 18.1%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.58%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.58%

    The recent influx of science and technology companies have created an economic surge over the past couple of years, bringing more young professionals into Raleigh. Moreover, the city was ranked number one city for careers and businesses by Forbes.

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    #37. Orlando, FL

    Young Professionals Index: 63.5

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 23.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 8.11%

    Housing as % of income: 32%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.85%

    Orlando has one of the highest percentages of young professionals on this list at 23.6%, but also suffers from 8.11% unemployment. The technology industry in Orlando employs more than 53,000 people, and it’s no surprise that media and tourism companies contribute significantly to the economy as well. In addition to Disney World and Universal Studios, the area is also home to Electronic Arts’ Tiburon division.

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    #36. St. Louis, MO

    Young Professionals Index: 65.1

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 19.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 8.54%

    Housing as % of income: 23%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.28%

    According to a Wall Street Journal report, St. Louis is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and had a GDP of $160 billion in 2016. Which isn’t surprising considering the city hosts large manufacturing, healthcare, and technical services that bring in billions worth of economic growth. Maybe that’s why young professionals make up 19.6% of the population.

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    #35. Charlotte, NC

    Young Professionals Index: 65.1

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 17.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.3%

    Housing as % of income: 28.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.72%

    Charlotte is the second-largest banking center in the country, with headquarters of Bank of America and Wells Fargo based in the city. It also attracts sports fans from all areas as home of the Panthers (NFL), Hornets (NBA), and numerous NASCAR races.

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    #34. Plano, TX

    Young Professionals Index: 66.5

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 13.1%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.46%

    Housing as % of income: 25%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.35%

    It’s close proximity to Dallas and headquarters to several large corporations makes Planto a great choice for individuals lookings to grow their business career. Housing takes up only a quarter of residents’ income, making it a great commuting point to Dallas.

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    #33. Jersey City, NJ

    Young Professionals Index: 66.8

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 21.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.15%

    Housing as % of income: 28.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.31%

    Jersey City is a short distance from Manhattan by public transit, which makes it a great area to commute from to avoid the high rent of New York City. But if residents prefer to work closer to home, the area offers a number of financial services companies, including a satellite office of the New York Stock Exchange. The city also offers plenty of opportunities to network with other young professionals that live in area as you explore the restaurants and clubs of downtown.

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    #32. Oklahoma City, OK

    Young Professionals Index: 68.3

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 4.4%

    Housing as % of income: 24%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.08%

    With city limits stretching into Canadian and Cleland counties, you can be sure that you will have plenty of places to explore while living in Oklahoma. Residents can likely find employment with a number of energy, technology, and government firms in the city, like Dell, AT&T, Cox, and local government.

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    #31. Boston, MA

    Young Professionals Index: 68.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 24%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 4.17%

    Housing as % of income: 31%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.84%

    Boston has a notably high young professional population at 24%, and has ranked among the top 30 strongest economies in the world, according an report by The Atlantic. Several universities and colleges in the city contribute a significant amount of economic growth, which in turn attracts a number of financial and tech companies to the area to set up shop.

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    #30. Chicago, IL

    Young Professionals Index: 68.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 19.5%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 7.06%

    Housing as % of income: 25%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.45%

    Chicago isn’t only known as the Windy City, but as one of the most visited cities; with more than 54 million visitors flocked to the city in 2016. And for good reason—a hotspot for entertainment and musical arts, Chicago continues to be a city of culture and economic growth through sports tourism and financial services.

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    #29. Buffalo, NY

    Young Professionals Index: 68.9

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 17.5%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.55%

    Housing as % of income: 22%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.61%

    A short distance from Canada and Niagara Falls, Buffalo sits comfortably on the eastern shore of Lake Erie and overlooks the beautiful landscape of upstate New York. Though winters are cold, the city isn’t known for having the most snow. Most residents are employed in industrial and and government jobs, with 17.5% of residents in the young professional age group.

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    #28. Cincinnati, OH

    Young Professionals Index: 70.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 18.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 8.62%

    Housing as % of income: 19%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.48%

    Cincinnati is the fastest-growing midwestern region, with median household income at $73,868 and its gross product at $124 billion. While it may not be the first thing to come to mind while thinking of Cincinnati, the city houses many music and theater companies that frequently produce content and performances, and participate in the city’s many art festivals.  

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    #27. Reno, NV

    Young Professionals Index: 70.5

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16.1%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.83%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.9%

    The self-proclaimed “biggest little city in the world,” Reno sits 22 miles from scenic Lake Tahoe. In terms of businesses, several data centers have roosted in the city, along with various manufacturing and tech companies. San Francisco is a few hour's drive from the city, which makes a great weekend getaway.  

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    #26. Colorado Springs, CO

    Young Professionals Index: 71.6

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16.1%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.72%

    Housing as % of income: 26%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.6%

    Those wishing to stay close to nature without giving up their city lifestyle will feel at home in Colorado Springs, which features a trendy downtown and countless hiking trails a short distance from the city. Major industries in the city include defense contracting, and technology sales and development companies.

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    #25. Columbus, OH

    Young Professionals Index: 72.1

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 20.5%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.34%

    Housing as % of income: 26%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.33%

    While the city underwent economic hardship during recent decades, Columbus has recently been experiencing revival in business and migration; it was ranked as the eighth best city to live in by CNN in 2008. Along with two major sports teams, Columbus is host to a diverse economy that includes fashion, defense, banking, and several Fortune 500 companies. And at 20.5%, the young professional population is larger than many other cities in the region.

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    #24. Lexington, KY

    Young Professionals Index: 73.4

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 15.4%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.93%

    Housing as % of income: 23%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.85%

    Ranked 10th in the U.S. for most educated city—with nearly 40% of residents holding a college degree of some kind—Lexington is a blend of city and country living, with housing taking a mere 23% of income. If exploring the historic downtown isn’t your thing, the city is surrounded by plenty of hiking trails and horse farms for riding.

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    #23. Des Moines, IA

    Young Professionals Index: 74.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.63%

    Housing as % of income: 24%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.54%

    As a center for insurance and financial services, Des Moines continues to be a leader of economic growth; it was ranked as best place for business by Forbes in 2010 and 2013, and recognized as the wealthiest city in America by NBC in 2014. The city is known for more than its thriving economy—it’s a political hot spot during presidential elections, since Iowa’s caucuses mark the beginning of primary season.

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    #22. Denver, CO

    Young Professionals Index: 74.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 22.4%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 4.17%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.23%

    Denver is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., with many tech and businesses being headquartered in the city, and young professionals making up 22.4% of the population. The location is known as a “beta-city,” as it is often used to test out new businesses and concepts. The entertainment establishment density is 1.23%, but residents will likely covet the hundreds of scenic hiking trails and ski-slopes just a short distance from the city.

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    #21. Scottsdale, AZ

    Young Professionals Index: 75.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 13.5%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 1.74%

    Housing as % of income: 22%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.29%

    Scottsdale’s thriving economy and culture resides in a desert landscape, with picturesque red mountains surrounding the city. The annual Scottsdale Arts Festival was ranked as the number one event in the U.S. by American Style Magazine in 2005. The city’s young professional population is low at 13.5%, but it also has a low unemployment rate at 1.74%.

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    #20. Pittsburgh, PA

    Young Professionals Index: 75.2

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 20.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 7.67%

    Housing as % of income: 23%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.64%

    The city has been voted one of the top most livable cities by The Economist for the past several years, and has been similarly ranked by Forbes, Yahoo, and Entrepreneur. The city also has a thriving young professional population, accounting for 20.6% of residents. Pittsburgh has been historically known as a manufacturing center for automotive and construction industries, but it’s become a core location for many technology companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Uber, which generate over $20 billion in revenue for the city.

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    #19. Boise, ID

    Young Professionals Index: 75.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 15.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.69%

    Housing as % of income: 24%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.38%

    With a large music and theater scene, Boise is the region’s hub for the arts—but it’s balanced with a large presence of manufacturing and high-tech industries. The Boise downtown is an architectural wonder with beautifully designed buildings, many of which remain faithful to their original design. And the city is surrounded by open plains and mountains that will appease the explorer in you.  

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    #18. Portland, OR

    Young Professionals Index: 75.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 19.8%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.97%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.54%

    Although now more infamous for its hip urban scene, thanks to the parody TV show Portlandia, Portland’s picturesque scenery shouldn’t be overlooked; Mount Rainier can be seen in the distance, and the Willamette River runs directly through the city center. 19.8% of the population are young professionals and are largely employed with corporate headquarters like Adidas or involved with shipping companies.

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    #17. Washington, DC

    Young Professionals Index: 76.6

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 22.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.72%

    Housing as % of income: 25%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.52%

    The nation’s capitol has a growing young professional population that currently makes up 22.7% of the population, and it’s also the battleground for politics and lobbying—with hundreds of nonprofits and contracting companies to suit anyone’s skills and career goals. When you’re not out bettering the nation, DC has hundreds of free museums and galleries that cater to any interest.  

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    #16. Omaha, NE

    Young Professionals Index: 77.3

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16.2%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 4.07%

    Housing as % of income: 24%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.66%

    The largest city in Nebraska is seated on the Missouri River, which gives residents breathtaking views throughout the city. Berkshire Hathaway, which is headed by investor Warren Buffett, has its headquarters located in the city, as well as several other Fortune 500 companies. The city was also included on Forbes’ list of best places for careers and business.

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    #15. Madison, WI

    Young Professionals Index: 77.4

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 19.1%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.76%

    Housing as % of income: 26%

    Entertainment establishment density: 2.11%

    Sitting between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota, Madison is perfect for those looking to become established in academia, as the University of Wisconsin-Madison is the city's primary employer. Nearly half of Madison’s population holds a bachelor's degree, and 19.1% are young professionals.  

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    #14. Arlington, VA

    Young Professionals Index: 77.6

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 26.4%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.58%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.33%

    Along the outskirts of Washington, D.C. lies the city of Arlington and its thriving nightlife and young professional scene—which accounts for 26.4% of residents, the highest percentage on this list. D.C. and Maryland are a quick bus and metro ride away, making Arlington a great choice for those wishing to avoid the traffic of the capital.  

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    #13. St. Paul, MN

    Young Professionals Index: 79.3

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 18.6%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.01%

    Housing as % of income: 25%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.85%

    St. Paul is most widely known for its annual festival, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, which features activities like treasure hunts and ice sculptures. The event draws more than 350,000 visitors each year, and is a tradition that has been upheld since 1886. The economy is mostly made up of private sector employers, along with major chemical company, Ecolab.  

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    #12. Atlanta, GA

    Young Professionals Index: 80.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 21.1%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 6.13%

    Housing as % of income: 23%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.79%

    Atlanta is considered one of the most diverse economies in the U.S., housing studios and media companies such as CNN, as well as Pinewood Studios—the production base for many Marvel and Star Wars films. Residents will have plenty of others to mingle with, as young professionals make up 21.1% of the population. Coupled with the city’s affordable rent, Atlanta is a good choice for those looking to become established in entertainment or broadcasting.

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    #11. Lincoln, NE

    Young Professionals Index: 81.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 15%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.05%

    Housing as % of income: 23%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.45%

    The emerging music scene in Lincoln will likely draw the aspiring musician looking to establish themselves and find inspiration. Lincoln’s rent is lower than other cities listed, taking up 23% of income, so artists have more freedom to focus on perfecting their chops.

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    #10. Anchorage, AK

    Young Professionals Index: 81.6

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 17.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 5.66%

    Housing as % of income: 29.%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.83%

    If you can stand the hard winters and several months of dark days, Anchorage is a great place to boost your career in the transportation, corporate, and government fields, with many cargo and shipping companies operating out of the city. Considering it houses more than 40% of the state’s population, it isn’t surprising that young professionals account for 17.7% of residents. And it goes without saying that outdoorsy types will enjoy the magnitude of hiking trails and wildlife in the area.

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    #9. Austin, TX

    Young Professionals Index: 81.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 22.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.57%

    Housing as % of income: 30%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.89%

    Acknowledged as a major center for the tech industry, Austin provides steady economic growth and employment for many young professionals that reside in the city. However, some may be put off cost of rent, which takes up 30% of income.

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    #8. Overland Park, KS

    Young Professionals Index: 82.3

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.1%

    Housing as % of income: 20%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.27%

    Those looking to save on living expenses will appreciate the city’s lower cost of rent, taking up 20% of income. But the trade-off is that residents may find less opportunities networking and hitting the town than other cities, with only 14.7% of the population the in young professional age range, and 1.27% entertainment establishment density. Major companies headquartered in the city include Sprint, Black & Veatch, and Waddell & Reed.

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    #7. Salt Lake City, UT

    Young Professionals Index: 82.8

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 22%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 2.69%

    Housing as % of income: 25%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.25%

    Residents of Salt Lake are never far from breathtaking views of Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains surrounding the city. Young professionals who prefer to spend their time in nature without sacrificing employment in the city will appreciate the many trails and vantage points in area. Though, you won’t find yourself alone in your hikes, as there are plenty of others in the 25–34 age group. Salt Lake residents are also largely employed, with the unemployment rate at a low of 2.69%.

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    #6. Nashville, TN

    Young Professionals Index: 84.7

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 19.5%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.25%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 4.27%

    Anyone looking to break into the music scene will want to check out Nashville, the music and state capitol of Tennessee; indeed, its entertainment scene clocks in at 4.27% density. Aside from music, the city is home to major automotive companies like Nissan and technology companies like Dell. Nashville was ranked fifth best city for business by Forbes in 2013, and fourth best for white collar jobs in 2015.

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    #5. Amarillo, TX

    Young Professionals Index: 85.4

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 14.5%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.45%

    Housing as % of income: 23%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.45%

    The Amarillo economy largely consists of food production and exportation, with a major Tyson Foods facility in the city and farmlands in the surrounding area that make it the economic center of the Texas panhandle. But don’t let your ideas of a barren desert fool you—the city is situated in the heart of a striking landscape that’s worthy of desktop wallpaper.

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    #4. San Francisco, CA

    Young Professionals Index: 86.6

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 23.2%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.45%

    Housing as % of income: 27%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.68%

    You just catch yourself singing “Save Me, San Francisco” as you make your way through the iconic city and become immersed in all it has to offer—from its great food to its free-spirited culture. Young professionals account for 23.2% of the city, many enticed by the booming tech scene in Silicon Valley and prominent LGBT community.

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    #3. Seattle, WA

    Young Professionals Index: 88.5

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 23.1%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 3.31%

    Housing as % of income: 26%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1.73%

    Seattle is the location of technology giants Amazon and Microsoft, and is among the fastest growing cities in the country. Transportation is easy, the climate is mild, and its location is downright gorgeous—it sits on the bay with mountains in the distance.

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    #2. Minneapolis, MN

    Young Professionals Index: 89.4

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 22.7%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 4.63%

    Housing as % of income: 23%

    Entertainment establishment density: 1

    Minneapolis is the second-largest economic center in the Midwest, with many young professionals finding employment with one of the five Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city—including Target and Xcel Energy. With a smaller entertainment density than other cities, residents will likely find themselves attending Vikings football games or enjoying winter sports at nearby resorts.  

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    #1. Sioux Falls, SD

    Young Professionals Index: 100.0

    % of population in 25-34 age range: 16.8%

    Unemployment rate for 25-34 age range: 2.9%

    Housing as % of income: 22%

    Entertainment establishment density: 2.88%

    Sioux Falls has experienced what it describes as a renaissance of art, a renewed public interest thanks to prominent collections and the respected artists originating from the area. The city continues to promote the arts through music and art festivals that draw more than 300,000 attendees from all over the country. Many companies have been drawn to the area due to a lack of corporate state income tax, leading to notable economic growth from financial and manufacturing firms like Wells Fargo and Raven Industries. The city also features affordable housing, an incentive for the city’s young professionals who make up 16.8% of the population.

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