The US cities attracting the most college graduates

James Kirkikis/ShutterstockMinneapolis-St. Paul is one of the top 10 metro areas where college graduates have moved.

In the US, many college graduates are choosing to live in urban areas. This is great news for cities, which know that college graduates can bolster their tech industries and spur economic growth.

But some cities are attracting more college graduates than others.

A new analysis from Brookings Institution demographer William Frey explores where older millennials have moved after they graduated college. His research pushes against assumptions that most college-educated millennials are living in big, coastal urban centres, like Los Angeles and New York. As you’ll see below, young Americans are settling in cities across the country.

Looking at the 100 largest metro areas, Frey found the cities with the highest share of college graduates (ages 25 to 34) among the total millennial population.

Check out the top 10 below. (Several cities are tied, which is why we start at #6.)


6. Denver, Colorado

Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of college-educated millennials among the total millennial population: 46%


5. (tied) Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

f11photo/Shutterstock

Percentage of college-educated millennials among the total millennial population: 47%


5. (tied) Raleigh, North Carolina

Percentage of college-educated millennials among the total millennial population: 47%


5. (tied) New York, New York

pio3/Shutterstock

Percentage of college-educated millennials among the total millennial population: 47%


4. Hartford, Connecticut

University of Hartford/FacebookThe University of Hartford campus.

Percentage of college-educated millennials among the total millennial population: 50%


3. Washington, DC

cdrin / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of college-educated millennials among the total millennial population: 54%


2. (tied) San Francisco, California

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Percentage of college-educated millennials among the total millennial population: 55%


2. (tied) San Jose, California

Percentage of college-educated millennials among the total millennial population: 55%


1. (tied) Madison, Wisconsin

Percentage of college-educated millennials among the total millennial population: 58%


1. (tied) Boston, Massachusetts

Percentage of college-educated millennials among the total millennial population: 58%

Boston and Madison – two metro areas with several universities – have lured college graduates more than other cities in the US.

In the analysis, Frey adds that many other American metros have relatively high shares of college-educated millennials.

“While a great deal of attention is given to the highly educated millennials in those areas, the fact is that older millennials in 60 of the 100 metropolitan areas have college graduate percentages ranging between 30% to 45%,” he wrote.

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