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Women increasingly outpace men in college graduation, with a higher percentage of women graduating from US colleges than their male counterparts. After graduation, many female young professionals look to relocate from their college towns to cities full of career opportunities and exciting social prospects. 

67 percent of Gen Z are willing to relocate for a good job. In fact, younger generations are more likely to move than the ones that came before them. 

If you are a new graduate searching for the city you want to start your career in, you might want to consider the earning potential, amount of young people, cost of rent, and unemployment in your desired area. It’s also worth looking at which cities boast the lowest gender pay gap, in order to give yourself the best chance at succeeding financially. 

Pheabs has crunched the numbers to find a list of the top 10 cities young female professionals should consider. The majority of our data comes from the U.S. Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 

How We Determined Our List

 
Population and age

We started by discounting cities with populations below 150,000 as young people typically want to move to metropolitan areas that give them potential for a good social life.

We also looked at the percentage of the population between the ages of 20-24 to determine the cities most popular with young people. This, combined with the median age, allowed us to give higher weighting to cities with a younger population.
 
Median commute time

Long commute times can have an adverse effect on mental health. By looking at the average commute time, we could determine cities which are easy to navigate with likely strong public transportation options.
 
Earnings and Gender Pay Gap

The primary objective of work is to earn money, so cities with low earning potential are unlikely to be attractive to graduates. By looking at the average earnings for full-time women, we could see which cities provided the most lucrative opportunities. 

Alongside this, by calculating the gender pay gap, we could prioritize cities where women and men are compensated more equally for their work, making it more appealing to female graduates.
 
Unemployment %

Moving to a city can mean high competition for jobs, so looking for cities that have a lower unemployment rate is crucial to ensure young people have the best chance of finding employment.
 
Average cost of a studio

Many new graduates will be renting their first apartments. With an entry-level job or internship, it can be sad to see a huge portion of one’s earnings going to a landlord, so we prioritized cities that offered low rents. 
 

Top 10 Cities For Young Female Professionals

 

1. Madison, Wisconsin

  • Total Population: 258,366
  • Percentage of population between 20-24: 16.02%
  • Median age of population: 31.2 years
  • Mean travel time to work (minutes): 19.8
  • Median earnings for female full-time, year-round workers: $47,158
  • Gender Pay Gap: 17.11%

 
Madison is a great city for young people for several reasons. First, there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and live music venues in the downtown area. Second, Madison is known for its beautiful lakes and parks, making it an ideal place for outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and biking. Lastly, the city has a strong cultural scene with several museums, art galleries, and theaters. It’s also a very bike-friendly city with plenty of trails and bike lanes, which is appealing to young people who are environmentally conscious.
 

 

2. Atlanta, Georgia

 

  • Total Population: 497,642
  • Percentage of population between 20-24: 9.81%
  • Median age of population: 33.2 years
  • Mean travel time to work (minutes): 27.5
  • Median earnings for female full-time, year-round workers: $62,564
  • Gender Pay Gap: 1.86%

 
Atlanta is a bustling city that offers a lot for young people. The city has a vibrant nightlife with plenty of bars, clubs, and music venues. There are also several universities in the area, including Georgia Tech and Emory University, which bring a youthful energy to the city. Atlanta is also home to several professional sports teams, including the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Falcons, which is a big draw for sports fans. Additionally, the city has a rich cultural scene with several museums, theaters, and galleries.
 

 

3. Eugene, Oregon

 

  • Total Population: 170,457
  • Percentage of population between 20-24: 13.72%
  • Median age of population: 35 years
  • Mean travel time to work (minutes): 18.5
  • Median earnings for female full-time, year-round workers: $45,541
  • Gender Pay Gap: 9.26%

Eugene is a great city for young people who love the outdoors. The city is surrounded by beautiful forests, rivers, and mountains, making it an ideal place for hiking, biking, and camping. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and live music venues in the downtown area that cater to young people. Lastly, the city has a strong emphasis on sustainability and environmentally conscious living, which is appealing to young people who are passionate about environmental issues.
 

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4. Durham, North Carolina

 

  • Total Population: 276,341
  • Percentage of population between 20-24: 7.63%
  • Median age of population: 34.1 years
  • Mean travel time to work (minutes): 22.8
  • Median earnings for female full-time, year-round workers: $52,122
  • Gender Pay Gap: 8.14%

 
Durham is a great city for young people who are interested in technology and innovation. The city is home to Research Triangle Park, which is one of the largest research parks in the world and is home to several tech companies. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and live music venues in the downtown area that cater to young professionals. Lastly, the city has a strong arts and culture scene with several museums, theaters, and galleries.
 

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5. Lincoln, Nebraska

 

  • Total Population: 286,388
  • Percentage of population between 20-24: 11.96%
  • Median age of population: 32.9 years
  • Mean travel time to work (minutes): 18.9
  • Median earnings for female full-time, year-round workers: $40,290
  • Gender Pay Gap: 14.36%

 
Lincoln is a great city for young people who are interested in sports. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and live music venues in the downtown area that cater to college students and new graduates. Lincoln is also a very affordable city to live in, which is appealing to young people who are just starting out in their careers.
 
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6. Columbus, Ohio

 

  • Total Population: 889,079
  • Percentage of population between 20-24: 8.20%
  • Median age of population: 32.4 years
  • Mean travel time to work (minutes): 22
  • Median earnings for female full-time, year-round workers: $43,141
  • Gender Pay Gap: 14.63%

 
Columbus is a great city for young people who are interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. The city has a thriving startup scene and is home to several technology companies. Columbus also has a strong arts and culture scene with several museums, theaters, and galleries.
 

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7. Richmond, Virginia

 

  • Total Population: 229,233
  • Percentage of population between 20-24: 8.50%
  • Median age of population: 34.1 years
  • Mean travel time to work (minutes): 21.8
  • Median earnings for female full-time, year-round workers: $45,014
  • Gender Pay Gap: 11.05%

Richmond is a great city for young people who are interested in history and the arts. The city has a rich history and is home to several historic sites, including the Virginia State Capitol and the Museum of Fine Arts. Richmond is also home to several universities, including Virginia Commonwealth University, which brings a youthful energy to the city.
 

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8. St. Paul, Minnesota

 

  • Total Population: 305,877
  • Percentage of population between 20-24: 8.14%
  • Median age of population: 32.5 years
  • Mean travel time to work (minutes): 24.2
  • Median earnings for female full-time, year-round workers: $45,522
  • Gender Pay Gap: 13.84%

St. Paul is a great city for young people who are interested in culture and outdoor activities. The city is home to several museums, theaters, and galleries, including the iconic Saint Paul Winter Carnival. St. Paul is also surrounded by beautiful parks, lakes, and hiking trails, making it an ideal place for outdoor activities. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and live music venues in the downtown area that cater to young people.
 

 

9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

  • Total Population: 301,286
  • Percentage of population between 20-24: 11.59%
  • Median age of population: 33.4 years
  • Mean travel time to work (minutes): 24.2
  • Median earnings for female full-time, year-round workers: $48,741
  • Gender Pay Gap: 8.66%

Pittsburgh is a great city for young people who are interested in technology, sports, and the arts. The city has a thriving tech industry and is home to several technology companies. Pittsburgh is also home to several professional sports teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The city also has a strong arts and culture scene, with several museums, theaters, and galleries. 
 

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10. Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • Total Population: 199,417
  • Percentage of population between 20-24: 10.36%
  • Median age of population: 31.2 years
  • Mean travel time to work (minutes): 19.4
  • Median earnings for female full time, year round workers: 40406
  • Gender Pay Gap: 12.39%

 
Grand Rapids is a great city for young people who are interested in the arts and craft beer. The city has a thriving craft beer scene with several local breweries and beer festivals throughout the year. Grand Rapids is also home to several museums, theaters, and galleries, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and live music venues in the downtown area that cater to college students. Additionally, Grand Rapids is surrounded by beautiful parks and hiking trails, making it an ideal place for outdoor activities.
 

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Top 10 Cities For Young Female Professionals – The Data

 

Geographic Area Name Total Pop % of pop between 20-24 Median age (years) Mean travel time to work (minutes) Unemployment % Cost of a studio apartment Gender Pay Gap
Madison, Wisconsin 258366 16.02% 31.2 19.8 1.9% $1,464 17.11%
Atlanta, Georgia 497642 9.81% 33.2 27.5 3.8% $1,651 1.86%
Eugene, Oregon 170457 13.72% 35 18.5 3.7% $1,120 9.26%
Durham, North Carolina 276341 7.63% 34.1 22.8 3.2% $1,610 8.14%
Lincoln, Nebraska 286388 11.96% 32.9 18.9 2.1% $930 14.36%
Columbus, Ohio 889079 8.20% 32.4 22 3.2% $1,004 14.63%
Richmond, Virginia 229233 8.50% 34.1 21.8 3.2% $1,160 11.05%
St. Paul, Minnesota 305877 8.14% 32.5 24.2 2.8% $1,120 13.84%
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 301286 11.59% 33.4 24.2 3.9% $1,135 8.66%
Grand Rapids, Michigan 199417 10.36% 31.2 19.4 4.8% $1,200 12.39%

 

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Justine Gray

Justine Gray is a contributor to Pheabs, sharing more than 10 years of experience in the consumer finance industry across the US. Follow her guides for financial advice, money saving tips and more. Follow them on Linkedin and Youtube.