The 35 Best Cities For Young Adults

A number of factors go into choosing a new city to call home — affordability, quality of life, and availability of jobs are some standard things that young people take into account when considering a move.
Still, there are some elements of city living that many surveys don’t address. How much would a pint of beer in San Francisco cost? Are there a lot of coffee shops in Philadelphia? Could I go see a concert in Dallas?

News organisation Vocativ just released their first Livability Index, which ranks the 35 best U.S. cities for people under 35. They based their ranking on traditional data, like unemployment rates and average rent, but also included “softer” data points that would be relevant to people in their 20s and 30s. Most of the data came from the “deep web,” publicly available information that is not necessarily available in Google search.

Cities were chosen based on 20 factors including youngest population, lowest average rent, cheapest gas and electricity prices, food prices and public transportation. Vocativ also factored in laundromats, coffee shops, cheap takeout restaurants, nail salons, and music venues per capita, as well as the prices of beer, cigarettes, and marijuana. See the complete methodology here.

#34 Milwaukee, WI

With a median age of just 30.5, Milwaukee is the second-youngest city on the index. Even better, a pint in the so-called beer capital of the world will only cost you $US5, one of the cheapest brews in the country.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#33 Philadelphia, PA

The City of Brotherly Love has one of the best and most frequently used public transportation systems in the country, with 22% of its residents using it weekly. Philly also has a high percentage of green commuters, with the fourth-highest share of residents travelling by bicycle or on foot.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#32 Dallas, TX

You'll find the cheapest gas in the country in Dallas, with a trip to the pump only costing $US3.14 a gallon on average. It has the country's seventh-youngest population, making for a diverse nightlife and plenty of dining options.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#30 Houston, TX

Houston's public transportation system isn't the best, but it offers plenty of opportunities for both work and play, and gas averages at only $US3.18 a gallon. The cost of groceries and utilities are also relatively reasonable.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#26 Tulsa, OK

Home to the University of Tulsa and a branch of Oklahoma State University, this city offers plenty of job opportunities in science, research, and communications. Its unemployment rate of 5% is one of the lowest in the country, and its rent, gas, and electricity are among the cheapest on the livability index.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#24 Fresno, CA

This city is known for its agricultural industry, but with a median age of 29.2, it has the youngest residents of all of the cities on this list. The cost of living is also remarkably low -- you'll spend an average of $US740 for a two-bedroom apartment, and a pint of beer is only $US4.50.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#23 New York City, NY

It may be expensive to live here, but a high cost of living is offset by the country's top public transportation system and the nation's second-highest salary average ($80,000). There's also plenty residents can do without spending a fortune, from live music and street food to public art installations.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#19 Columbus, OH

With a median age of 31.4 (a figure skewed by the more than 50,000 students who attend the Ohio State University), Columbus is the fifth-youngest city on the livability index. A pint will only cost you $US4.50 here, and average rent for a 2-bedroom is a reasonable $US710.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#18 Virginia Beach, VA

At only $US3.50 for a pint, Virginia Beach has far and away the cheapest beer in the country. The city is home to a young population of surfers and artists who can take advantage of the country's cheapest Internet access, priced at an average of $US5.32 per megabit.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#17 Raleigh, NC

Several tech companies have opened offices here in recent years, which has made jobs plentiful. At only $US4.75, Raleigh's beer is one of the cheapest on the index, and the city also scored high marks for being the fifth-best place to meet other singles.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#16 Sacramento, CA

Unlike some of the Golden State's larger cities, rent here is relatively inexpensive, costing an average of $US980 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. Sacramento has one of the highest populations of green commuters, thanks in part to the pleasant climate its residents enjoy year-round.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#15 Albuquerque, NM

A trip to the pump in Albuquerque won't break the bank -- at an average price of $US3.17 a gallon, it's the third-cheapest gas in the country. Walter White's hometown also has arguably the best Mexican food north of the border.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#14 Tucson, AZ

With cheap takeout, beer, and pot, Tucson has all of the benefits of a thriving college town. Thanks to the proximity of the University of Arizona, rent is also amazingly cheap, averaging at only $US660 a month for a two-bedroom apartment.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#9 Denver, CO

The Mile-High City is coveted for its proximity to nature and plentiful microbreweries, but it also has a great green transportation system and has the fifth-cheapest groceries on the livability index. It also ranked high in density of vintage clothing stores and laundromats.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#8 Long Beach, CA

Los Angeles' friendlier southern neighbour has a growing public transportation system and miles of bike lanes, making it the third-best city for green commuters. It also happens to be the cheapest place to get your nails done -- a mani-pedi will cost you only $US24.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#7 Atlanta, GA

Atlanta residents make an average of $US73,000 a year, the fourth-highest on the list, but they also are the most likely to be able to find cheap takeout food -- with 291 reasonably-priced restaurants per 100,000 people, Atlanta ranked first in that category. This southern capital also ranked first in availability of thrift shops, second in number of music venues, and third in coffee shop density.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#6 Las Vegas, NV

Sin City ranked #1 on the index for the most music venues per capita, but there's more to Las Vegas than entertainment. You'll only spend $US830 for a two-bedroom apartment here, and their Internet connection and cigarettes are some of the cheapest around.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#3 San Francisco, CA

San Francisco ranked at the top of the index in a number of categories: average salary, public transportation availability, as well as laundromat and takeout restaurant density. The City by the Bay is well-known for being green, and it has the highest percentage of commuters who travel by bicycle or on foot.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#2 Austin, TX

With 15.3% of the city's resident population age 18-35 self-reporting as 'single' on Facebook, Austin is the livability index's top city for meeting someone. Cheap food, cheap beer, and a thriving music scene are also huge draws for this progressive Texan city.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

#1 Portland, OR

Portland ranked first on the livability index for a number of reasons -- the job market is strong, utilities are cheap, and music venues are aplenty. Its known for being a hotspot for young entrepreneurs and other creative types, and it happens to be the cheapest place to buy pot, which goes for $US216.92 an ounce.

Source: Vocativ Livability Index

Now see some other cities you should consider.

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