These are the top 15 cities where college students want to live post-graduation, a new survey says

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Figuring out what to do after college is only half the battle. You also need to figure out where you want to live.

Typically, hotspots like New York and Los Angeles are strong contenders: They tend to have plenty of job demand, and highly valued social scenes for people in their 20s. But a recent survey discovered a new frontrunner: Seattle.

On Monday, Axios and The Generation Lab published their newest Next Cities Index, which broke down the most desired locations in the country for people ages 18 to 24, filtered by metrics like gender and political party affiliation. Altogether, Seattle ranked highest on the overall list for most desired location.

"It feels like a young-person city," one college senior told Axios, about why he wanted to move to Seattle after graduating.

The Emerald City was slightly more desired by men than women: Female students choose New York as their top choice, followed by Seattle and Boston, respectively. Seattle was also the most popular choice for politically independent students. Republicans picked Austin, Texas, as their top choice, and Democrats picked New York.

Overall, these 15 cities are college students' most desired destinations, according to the report:

  1. Seattle
  2. New York
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Denver
  5. Boston
  6. Chicago
  7. Washington
  8. Phoenix
  9. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  10. Austin, Texas
  11. Portland, Oregon
  12. San Francisco
  13. Minneapolis
  14. Dallas
  15. Atlanta

The survey also found that health care was the respondents' most desired industry, with 29% expressing interest in the field ⁠— followed by education and research at 15% and tech jobs at 12%.

To conduct the study, Axios polled 2,109 college students nationwide, from both 2- and 4-year schools, between Nov. 18, 2021 and Feb. 14, 2022. Half of the survey's respondents said they actively planned to live outside their home states after graduating. Only 20% said they planned to move back to their hometowns.

Seattle isn't the only city gaining traction, the report noted: Colorado Springs, Austin and Denver also moved up the list this year. The trend is a couple of years in the making, as people ages 25 to 29 have been migrating to cities like Denver, Seattle, Phoenix and Austin since 2019, according to 2021 report using Census Bureau data.

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