College Game Plan

For college grads, an alternative to living with mom and dad

Kevin Winter | Getty Images

It's a Catch-22 for many college grads: The fattest starting salaries are often in least affordable places, making the road to independence riddled with obstacles.

It's no wonder young adults increasingly are moving back in with their parents, even if they have a job.

In fact, more 18-to-34-year-olds live at home with their parents than in any other arrangement, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

In 2014, just over 32 percent of millennials were living in their parents' home, slightly more than the number living with a spouse or partner, according to Pew's analysis of the most recent census data. Just 14 percent were living alone or with roommates.

While there is no perfect spot for high-paying job prospects and budget-friendly apartments, some cities offer a far more favorable combination of jobs and housing possibilities for those newly armed with a diploma who want to buck the boomerang trend, according to a recent report by real estate site Trulia. Here the best bets:

To find cities that offer both job prospects for recent grads and realistic places to live, considering the typical college graduate's budget, Trulia and job site Indeed correlated affordable rental units (apartments that cost less than 30 percent of the median college graduate income) and new-grad-friendly job listings.

Of course, cities like Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington all score high in terms of job prospects but few young adults can afford to live there because of the sky-high rents.

For example, just 3 percent of New York listings are manageable considering the recent-grad's median income, Trulia said, while San Jose and San Francisco fare even worse. (And without a roommate, forget it.)

On the other hand, some of the most affordable cities, like Toledo, Ohio, have fewer job opportunities for those just starting out.

More from College Game Plan:
Move to these states to get rid of student loans quickly
Here are three tricks to crush college planning and save big

Follow this easy guideline to pay for your kid's college education