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You're on your own! Top 10 cities for college grads

Top 10 cities for college grads
Steve Debenport | Getty Images

After the mortar boards are tossed at graduations this spring comes the question: Now what? College grads have to choose carefully when making their next move—the location has to have employment or at least job potential, be affordable and allow for a good social life. To determine the 10 best cities for recent college graduates, Rent.com considered practicalities like the unemployment rate, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment and each city's population of millennials. It also weighed in the number of restaurants and bars as well as the local nightlife and entertainment options.

For another view, check out Where millennials should go to school.

—By Colleen Kane, special to CNBC.com
Posted 16 May 2015

10. Cincinnati
Highway bridges heading into downtown Cincinnati.
William Manning | Getty Images

Millennial population (20-34): 27 percent
Jobs per 1,000 residents: 46
Unemployment rate: 4.9 percent
Median rent 2 BR: $2,138

One factor Cincinnati has going for it is that about 10 percent of the city is park land. Another is an unemployment rate far below the national average. The biggest employers in town are the University of Cincinnati and Kroger. It's also the home of Procter & Gamble and Macy's.

9. Baltimore
Baltimore, Maryland.
Hasham Ibrahim | Photodisc | Getty Images

Millennial population (20-34): 25 percent
Jobs per 1,000 residents: 78
Unemployment rate: 6.2 percent
Median rent 2 BR: $1,586

Charm City may offer young professionals opportunities in the health and science fields. Its biggest employers are John Hopkins Hospital and John Hopkins University. And check out that median rent for a two bedroom—it's the lowest on this list.


8. Raleigh, N.C.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Swapan Jha | Getty Images

Millennial population (20-34): 26 percent
Jobs per 1,000 residents: 88
Unemployment rate: 4.8 percent
Median rent 2 BR: $2,431

North Carolina's state capital is part of the Research Triangle and thus a great option for those looking for work in health care, tech and biotech research. The city has several universities, which may help ease the transition for new grads, while possibly employing some as well. Raleigh has the highest number of jobs per 1,000 residents in this list. The state of North Carolina is the top employer in Raleigh, followed by Wake County Public School System and North Carolina State University.


7. Seattle
Mike Kane | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Millennial population (20-34): 28 percent
Jobs per 1,000 residents: 58
Unemployment rate: 5.5 percent
Median rent 2 BR: $2,596

Being surrounded by mountains and water while still in a city may appeal to outdoorsy graduates, and the headquarters in the region of corporations like Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, Costco and Nordstrom are another draw for tech- and business-oriented job seekers.


6. Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas.
Gavin Heller | Getty Images

Millennial population (20-34): 29 percent
Jobs per 1,000 residents: 66
Unemployment rate: 3.7 percent
Median rent 2 BR: $1,656

One of the hippest spots in the South, Texas' state capital has a thriving music scene that explodes each year during the South by Southwest conference. The city also boasts a low median rent and the lowest unemployment rate on this list. It's attractive to high-tech job seekers, and some of the top employers include Dell and IBM as well as education and government.


5. Boston
A Boston scene
Jean-Pierr Lescourret | Getty Images

Millennial population (20-34): 33 percent
Jobs per 1,000 residents: 83
Unemployment rate: 4.9 percent
Median rent 2 BR: $4,498

Boston has the highest percentage of millennials on this list, or about one-third of the population. This is perhaps bolstered by all the colleges and universities, which are major employers in the area. Graduates looking for work in biotech, finance and publishing may also want to consider this city.

4. San Francisco
San Francisco skyline
Marco Brivio | Getty Images

Millennial population (20-34): 26 percent
Jobs per 1,000 residents: 73
Unemployment rate: 4.8 percent
Median rent 2 BR: $5,255

San Francisco has, by far, the steepest median rent on this list for a two bedroom apartment. However, it ranks so high due to a healthy percentage of jobs in the lucrative technology sector, as well as being the headquarters of five prominent banking institutions. City government is the top employer, followed by UCSF and California Pacific Medical Center.


3. Denver
Denver
Swapan Jha | Moment Open | Getty Images

Millennial population (20-34): 26 percent
Jobs per 1,000 residents: 80
Unemployment rate: 4.5 percent
Median rent 2 BR: $2,025

Denver's got the the tech and aerospace jobs, as well as the proximity to natural mountain beauty and recreation, along with a very walkable downtown area. Big businesses headquartered in the Mile High City include Molson Coors Brewing Company and the Newmont Mining Corporation, and other big employers in town are Lockheed Martin, United Airlines, Kroger Co. and Xcel Energy.


2. Minneapolis-St. Paul
Ryan/Beyer | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Millennial population (20-34): 31 percent
Jobs per 1,000 residents: 64
Unemployment rate: 4.1 percent
Median rent 2BR: $1,772

The Twin Cities have a pair of great attributes: low unemployment rate and low rents. Minneapolis and St. Paul are also home to a large number of Fortune 500 companies, including Target, Best Buy, 3M, General Mills, Land O'Lakes and St. Jude Medical. Other companies in the area are Cargill and Andersen.

1. Washington, D.C.
Pennsylvania Avenue at dusk, Washington D.C.
Jon Hicks | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Millennial population (20-34): 29 percent
Jobs per 1,000 residents: 87
Unemployment rate: 4.9 percent
Median rent 2 BR: $3,287

The nation's capital is clearly a magnet for post grads with political aspirations, and the federal government is the number one employer. Tourism is second, and on that note, in terms of other attractions for millennials the city is filled with free museums and historic points of interest as well as a robust food and bar scene.