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Salt Lake City named nation's best spot for new graduates

Published April 29, 2013 11:16 am

Analysis • Lower cost of living, higher starting salaries put Utah's capital on top.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Newly minted Utah graduates, take heart: You're in the best place in the country for starting your post-college life.

That's according to an analysis published Monday on Kiplinger.com, the personal finance magazine's website. It named Salt Lake City the best city in the country for new grads.

"Things have been improving in ... recent years, but it's still tough out there," said editor Stacy Rapacon. "The latest unemployment for the nation is still above 8 percent, and it's harder for younger people."

With that in mind, the analysis was based first on income, singling out towns where young people can earn above-average paychecks. It also took cost of living into account. That new paycheck isn't quite as exciting if it all goes to rent.

Employers such as Delta Air Lines, Adobe and University of Utah Health Care helped put Salt Lake City's median starting bachelor's-degree salary at $41,300 a year.

While that's pretty good, starting salary alone would have put Salt Lake City in ninth place, Rapacon said. The area's low cost of living, though, put it in the top spot.

"Of all the cities on the list ... Salt Lake City was the only city to come out below the national average," Rapacon said, pointing to free entertainment options in the outdoors.

But money isn't everything — the editors also assessed each city's social scene and found Salt Lake City was "teeming with twentysomethings," boasting 16.5 percent of the population in that age bracket, compared to a national average of 13.8 percent.

That analysis, though, didn't specifically look at dating — in a separate singles scene ranking, Salt Lake City didn't fare as well, Rapacon said.

Rounding out the top 10 cities for new grads were:

2. Ann Arbor, Mich.

3. Boulder, Colo.

4. Houston

5. Anchorage, Alaska

6. San Diego

7. Phoenix

8. Washington, D.C.

9. Dallas

10. Seattle

lwhitehurst@sltrib.com

Twitter: @lwhitehurst —

Top 10 cities for new college graduates

1.Salt Lake City

2. Ann Arbor, Mich.

3. Boulder, Colo.

4. Houston

5. Anchorage, Alaska

6. San Diego

7. Phoenix

8. Washington, D.C.

9. Dallas

10. Seattle