A report published by the personal finance company ValuePenguin ranked Boulder, Colorado, as the 13th best city for new graduates in 2016.
Among the top three best cities were Madison, Wisconsin in first place, Fargo, North Dakota, in second place and Burlington, Vermont, in third place.
The report evaluated 382 metropolitan areas across 27 data points, including student debt, transportation, cost of living, median annual salary and more.
ValuePenguin broke down these key data points into three main categories: jobs, affordability and lifestyle. Overall rank was determined by analyzing how each city scored within these categories.
Boulder earned an impressive first place in the lifestyle category, beating out Burlington, home of the University of Vermont, and Missoula, Montana, home of the University of Montana.
The lifestyle category looked at amenities such as recreational establishments, entertainment venues and educational opportunities, as well as the general qualities of the population. This category is somewhat subjective, as graduates from different parts of the country may have different lifestyle preferences.
Although Boulder is undeniably a city with an attractive lifestyle, students should not ignore the city’s rankings for jobs and affordability, which were significantly lower. In the 116th position for jobs, Boulder remains in the top half of the list, but may not have a high enough ranking to comfort future graduates.
The jobs category emphasizes factors such as unemployment rates, income increases as a result of gaining a college degree and employment benefits such as healthcare. These are factors that measure the availability of employment and the benefits of being a graduate within a certain city. You can read this great article from UTMB Health on jobs at Houston healthcare and the benefits they come with.
According to the report, the top three cities for job availability were Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, Rochester, Minnesota and Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Despite decent scores in the first two categories, Boulder finished a disappointing 332nd in the affordability category.
This category was based on factors such as rent, student debt, cost of utilities and property, and more.
CU Boulder graduates who plan to stay in the city may struggle to find a place to live. According to an article by the Daily Camera, the cost of living in Boulder County is 31 points above the national average, and median home prices rose by 32 percent between 2010 and 2015.
While this last category certainly drags down Boulder’s overall score, the city remains in 13th place within the whole country.
Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Eliza Radeka at Eliza.Radeka@colorado.edu.