According to a new Portfolio.com/bizjournals study, the Southwest is the place to go for young adults who are looking for a place to work and to settle down. In fact, three of the top ten places identified as the best places for young adults to live are located in the Southwest, with Austin taking the number one position.
Although there are many reasons for young adults to want to live in Austin, there were two main reasons why the city took the top honors. One of these reasons is the fact that Austin actually managed to add 99,200 jobs over the past five years, while two-thirds of the country's major markets actually have fewer jobs now than they had five years ago. With an annual employment growth rate of 2.8%, Austin has enjoyed the fastest growth rate in the country.
Austin also achieved a high ranking due to the fact that the city already has the strongest concentration of young adults within the 67 metro areas studied. In fact, 28% of the city's residents are between the ages of 18 and 34, while the overall median for the metro areas studied was 23.1%.
The top 10 metro areas to make the list included:
• Austin - in addition to previously mentioned attributes, the city also ranked in the top 10 within 5 of the 10 categories that were analyzed for the study.
• Washington - 35.8% of 18 to 34-year-olds hold a bachelor's degree and the per capita income is above average at $56,510.
• Raleigh - with a population growth rate of 3.9%, the area has the fastest growth rate of any other metro area and is well above the national average of 1.2%.
• Boston - as the home to elite universities such as MIT and Harvard, Boston has the highest percentage of young adults with bachelor's degrees.
• Houston - this metro area ranks in the top five in terms of job growth as well as in terms of its annual upswing in per capita income.
• Oklahoma City - at an annual growth rate of 7.2%, the area has the third fastest income growth rate.
• Dallas-Ft.Worth - job growth and population growth helped this metro area land in the top 10.
• Tulsa - a bargain hunters paradise, this area features the third lowest rent rates in the study.
• Seattle - has the smallest unemployment rates for young adults while also ranking among the top ten in terms of income.
• Baton Rouge, Louisiana - features a strong rate of income growth coupled with a high concentration of young adults.
On the other end of the spectrum, Detroit was identified as the least desirable place for young adults to live. Not only are unemployment rates high due to the hits the automotive industry has recently endured, but the metro area is also experiencing a slow rate of income growth as well as the biggest overall decline in employment.