Where you start your career can have a lasting impact on your professional trajectory. Geography can affect your opportunities, earnings potential and ability to save money.
But just because a city offers amazing opportunities doesn't mean it's the perfect fit for everyone or every young professional. Career services site Zippia combed through data from the American Community Survey as well as median income figures from the U.S. Census to find the best platform for young professionals.
The site analyzed 831 of the country's biggest cities based on factors such as unemployment, population, age and cost of living in order to determine which places were best for young people starting their careers. Surprisingly, it found that smaller, lower-profile cities offered the affordability and opportunity that could get new professionals the right jump start.
In its ranking, Zippia found Fargo, North Dakota, offered the best combination of professional opportunity, affordability and quality of life. The median monthly rent in Fargo is about $727 and the unemployment rate is just 2.2 percent.
The ranking also considered population — and the share of millennials living in each city. Unsurprisingly, several of the best cities for young people also had large student populations thanks to large state universities. For instance, Lawrence, Kansas, Lincoln, Nebraska, and Madison, Wisconsin, are all home to flagship state universities and have slots in the list's top 10.
Several major cities are noticeably missing, including New York and Los Angeles. While cities like these do have a large number of young people and often offer higher salaries, an equally high cost of living keeps them off the list.
Here are the best cities to kick-start your career in each state: