The 9 Best Cities for People Under 35

October 16, 2015
Jared Kaltwasser

What makes a city a great place to live? The answer can vary depending on a person's generation. These cities are the best bets for people 35 and under.

What makes a city a great place to live? The answer can vary depending on a person’s generation.

When it comes to Millennials, which The Nielsen Company defines as those born between 1977 and 1995, cities are more popular than the suburbs, and plentiful transportation options are a must.

The website Vocativ recently tried to take those and other desired traits to determine which cities best fit the needs of adults age 35 and under. The site looked at the 100 most populous cities in the US, scoring them in 8 “livability” categories: Demographics, Housing, Jobs, Food, Entertainment, “Night Out” costs, “Getting Around” (transportation), and “Appeal.”

The result is a diverse list of cities, including cities on both coasts and cities with populations ranging from several million to just a quarter-million.

Below are the Top 9 cities on Vocativ’s list, as well as a summary of their highest and lowest categories, and population data from the US Census Bureau.

Population: 243,344

Highest Ranking Category: Jobs (7)

Lowest Ranking Category: Demographics (80)

The state capital of Wisconsin boasts relatively cheap housing and an inexpensive nightlife. However, the city doesn’t do so well in terms of demographics, a category that includes diversity and number of young singles. The city also had low scores for its food offerings.

Population: 294,873

Highest Ranking Category: Housing (6)

Lowest Ranking Category: Entertainment (62)

If Madison isn’t your style, you could always move a bit west to another state capital. The eastern half of the Twin Cities has abundant jobs and housing, as well as good food and a good nightlife. However, its score is dragged down by its demographics and paltry entertainment offerings.

Population: 652,405

Highest Ranking Category: Food (3)

Lowest Ranking Category: Demographics (97)

Football fans have good reason to want to live in Seattle, but Vocativ found the city is also full of great food and entertainment options, as well as plenty of jobs. It’s near the bottom of the list when it comes to demographics and housing.

Population: 400,070

Highest Ranking Category: Jobs (1)

Lowest Ranking Category: Night Out (78)

The other twin city is the top city for the 35-and-under set when it comes to jobs. However, it’s in the middle of the pack for housing, and in the bottom half when it comes to food, demographics, overall appeal, and the cost of a night out.

Population: 885,400

Highest Ranking Category: Jobs (2)

Lowest Ranking Category: Entertainment (54)

Austin is another great job market for young adults. It also boasts a cheap nightlife and top-tier food. The city scores less well when it comes to entertainment options, and “appeal”—the livability index.

Population: 649,495

Highest Ranking Category: Food (8)

Lowest Ranking Category: Housing (59)

The Mile High City has the cheapest beer in the nation, helping it score highly in the “night out” category. Its food, entertainment, and jobs scores also benefitted the city’s rank. Demographics, housing and ease of getting around hurt the city’s scores, although the city is still in the middle of the pack in those categories.

Population: 837,442

Highest Ranking Category: Food (2)

Lowest Ranking Category: Housing (99)

San Francisco’s high and low categories are probably obvious to most readers. The city has great food, but housing is hard to find and very expensive. However, the city also has plentiful jobs, a solid public transportation city, and high appeal.

Population: 379,577

Highest Ranking Category: Food (5)

Lowest Ranking Category: Demographics (82)

If you asked most people to name the big cities in Texas, it’s likely many wouldn’t even think of Arlington, the less-well-known neighbor of Dallas/Fort Worth. The city’s main claim to fame is its sports arenas, facts that helped the city score reasonably well in the entertainment category. But Vocativ found Arlington’s the best city in Texas for young adults, flush with jobs, good food, and cheap nightlife.

Population: 8.4 million

Highest Ranking Category: Getting Around (1)

Lowest Ranking Category: Night Out (100)

Again, few surprises here. New York City calls out to many young adults due to the city’s exciting entertainment options, great food, and diversity. One thing the city doesn’t have is a cheap cost of living, thus its low scores for housing, and nightlife costs.

Read Vocativ’s full rankings here.