The Best City For Single Young Professionals In Each State

By Kathy Morris
Mar. 10, 2021

Find a Job You Really Want In

For many young professionals, success isn’t just about their career.

It is also about finding a location where they can have a rewarding social life and have financial stability.

Sadly, not all cities offer young professionals affordable living or an exciting social scene. To better understand where single young professionals have a good chance of prospering, we set out to find where rent is cheap, jobs are plentiful, and there are a high number of singles.

Check below to see if your city ranks as one of the top 10 best cities for single young professionals.

10 Best Cities For Young Professionals

  1. Madison, Wisconsin
  2. Fargo, North Dakota
  3. Salt Lake City, Utah
  4. Raleigh, North Carolina
  5. Cambridge, Massachusetts
  6. Charleston, South Carolina
  7. Arlington, Virginia
  8. Lincoln, Nebraska
  9. St. Paul, Minnesota
  10. Nashville, Tennessee

In general the Midwest and Southeast offer pretty good options for those looking for luck in love and in their careers. If your state didn’t make the top 10, scroll to the bottom to see what is the best city in your state.

HOW WE DETERMINED THE BEST CITIES For Young, Single Professionals

We looked at over 200 cities and ranked them on the following areas:

  • Number of Singles
  • Median Income
  • Average rent
  • Unemployment

We first examined the number of adults in each city over 15 who have never married. While you technically just need one fish in the sea, it certainly helps when you can weed out the fish with bad taste in music and other undesirable qualities. Similarly, single adults are often more open to social encounters- which can make building friendships easier.

However, dating isn’t cheap! And men and women both want partners who are successful in their fields and capable of paying their own living.

So we then examined median income to find the cities where young professionals can expect to bring home the biggest paychecks. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy creature comforts and pay off hefty student loans which goes a long way.

However, big paychecks can come with big bills- so next we looked at average rent costs. For those just graduating college and moving to jump-start their careers, it can be a struggle to scrape together first month’s rent, last, and a security deposit. That first paycheck may not make it into their bank account for a month! The smaller the monthly rent, the better.

Finally, we looked at average unemployment. If that first job doesn’t end up being a dream job, getting your next job is easier when you’re in a city with a strong labor market.

All of our data came from the most recent Census ACS.

From there, we simply selected the city in each state that had the highest rank. West Virginia was excluded from our results.

1. Madison, Wisconsin


Source: Dori|GFDL

% Never Married: 50
Median Income: $45,382
Rent: $1,125

Madison, Wisconsin is the best place in the whole country for single young professionals. What puts Madison a grade above the rest? First of all Madison has the 2nd lowest unemployment of all the cities examined. This gives young professionals the luxuries of a friendly job market to explore career possibilities. It also gives the vast majority of them the luxury of not having to say, “Um, actually…” when they get asked on a date what they do for a living.

2. Fargo, North Dakota


% Never Married: 43
Median Income: $38,525
Rent: $818

Fargo is a seriously underrated city. While people living in Fargo only make a median income of $38,525, average rent is only $818 a month. Toss a higher rate of singles, and young professionals have a better shot of finding love and launching their careers in Fargo than other cities in North Dakota (and most of the country!)

3. Salt Lake City, Utah


Source: |CC BY-SA 3.0

% Never Married: 42
Median Income: $43,458
Rent: $1,001

Utah is the best state for millennials, so it’s no surprise capital Salt Lake City has a lot to offer young professionals. In addition to low cost of living and a healthy individual income, Utah has a seriously low divorce rate.

4. Raleigh, North Carolina


% Never Married: 43
Median Income: $47,701
Rent: $1,131

43% of adults over 15 have never said “I do” in Raleigh. In addition to a large dating and social pool, young professionals can expect to earn around $47,701 and pay $1,131. Combine that with a low unemployment rate, and Raleigh deserves some recognition for all it has to offer young professionals.

5. Cambridge, Massachusetts


Source: |CC BY-SA 3.0

% Never Married: 57
Median Income: $77,382
Rent: $2,350

A 15 minute drive away from vibrant Boston, Cambridge, Massashusetts is home to the prestigious Harvard University. Unsurprisingly, Cambridge is full of career focused individuals: 57% of residents over 15 have never been married.

6. Charleston, South Carolina


% Never Married: 42
Median Income: $56,121
Rent: $1,288

The 6th best city for single young professionals is Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston offers young professionals healthy salaries and a strong job market, which definitely helps them afford fun social outings.

7. Arlington, Virginia


% Never Married: 44
Median Income: $96,802
Rent: $1,924

Arlington, Virginia boasts an impressive median income of $96,802. While rent is high at $1,924, it doesn’t out-pace the healthy salaries. What else makes Arlington a good choice for single young professionals? Take a look at their stunningly low unemployment of only 1.6%.

8. Lincoln, Nebraska


% Never Married: 39
Median Income: $37,481
Rent: $843

With a low average monthly rent of $843 per month and the unemployment rate sitting at 2.4%, the No. 8 spot of Lincoln, Nebraska doesn’t sound like a bad place to send a few resumes for young professionals.

9. St. Paul, Minnesota


Source: |CC BY 3.0

% Never Married: 45
Median Income: $41,425
Rent: $947

Move over Minneapolis, St. Paul is the twin city with the best opportunities for single young professionals. 45% of those in St. Paul have never married, giving single young professionals plenty of dating options. That’s nice. Although with cheap rent of only $947, they may won’t need a roommate or romantic partner to split rent unless they want to.

10. Nashville, Tennessee


% Never Married: 41
Median Income: $48,807
Rent: $1,117

Nashville is fast becoming the place to be in the Southeast. 41% of residents in Nashville have never said “I do”– and options are never bad. Another thing nice about Nashville? Low unemployment. Comparatively high rent kept Nashville from ranking higher.

These Are Good Places To Be Young And Prosper

While we can’t guarantee everyone in Madison has a good chance of finding love and not being financially burdened, they certainly have a lot stacked in their favor. Similarly, so do young professionals in the other top 10 cities.

Healthy salaries, comparatively cheap rent, and a high number of singles are a great set-up for starting your career and your social life off right.

However, if you prefer staying in a state closer to home (or are just curious where life is smoothest for young professionals), you’re in luck. Below we have the best city for single young professionals in every state.

Best City For Single Young Professionals

State City % Never Married Median Salary Rent Unemployment
Alabama Mobile 40 $26,244 $837 3
Alaska Anchorage 34 $53,789 $1,238 3
Arizona Tempe 53 $46,385 $1,158 3
Arkansas Little Rock 37 $33,938 $819 3
California San Francisco 45 $88,771 $1,880 2
Colorado Denver 42 $54,571 $1,330 2
Connecticut New Haven 57 $33,103 $1,191 5
Delaware Wilmington 54 $31,526 $974 5
District of Columbia Washington 56 $71,189 $1,516 5
Florida Orlando 43 $39,789 $1,187 3
Georgia Athens-Clarke 54 $29,956 $843 3
Hawaii Honolulu 36 $42,265 $1,472 2
Idaho Boise City 34 $38,078 $941 2
Illinois Chicago 48 $45,215 $1,100 5
Indiana Indianapolis 42 $33,805 $881 4
Iowa Des Moines 39 $36,273 $837 3
Kansas Wichita 33 $32,337 $772 3
Kentucky Lexington-Fayette 38 $36,825 $915 3
Louisiana Metairie 32 $34,532 $919 2
Maine Portland 45 $34,041 $1,079 2
Maryland Baltimore 52 $38,052 $1,057 4
Massachusetts Cambridge 56 $77,382 $2,350 2
Michigan Ann Arbor 56 $38,256 $1,282 3
Minnesota St. Paul 45 $41,425 $947 3
Mississippi Jackson 48 $27,797 $831 6
Missouri Columbia 48 $33,098 $881 3
Montana Billings 29 $32,434 $895 2
Nebraska Lincoln 39 37481 $843 2
Nevada Reno 35 $42,106 $1,068 2
New Hampshire Concord 32 $36,318 $1,052 2
New Jersey Paterson 48 $23,446 $1,186 1
New Mexico Albuquerque 37 $33,240 $870 3
New York Buffalo 51 $30,828 $792 3
North Carolina Raleigh 42 $47,701 $1,131 2
North Dakota Fargo 42 $38,525 $818 2
Ohio Columbus 45 41000 $954 3
Oklahoma Norman 41 $32,341 $843 2
Oregon Portland 41 $49,487 $1,297 2
Pennsylvania Pittsburgh 52 $32,122 $917 2
Rhode Island Providence 54 $32,577 $977 4
South Carolina Charleston 41 $56,121 $1,288 2
South Dakota Sioux Falls 33 $35,942 $811 2
Tennessee Nashville-Davidson 40 $48,807 $1,117 2
Texas Austin 43 $54,979 $1,314 2
Utah Salt Lake City 42 $43,458 $1,001 2
Vermont Burlington 62 $25,234 $1,177 2
Virginia Arlington 43 $96,802 $1,924 1
Washington Seattle 44 $68,343 $1,699 2
Wisconsin Madison 50 $45,382 $1,125 1
Wyoming Casper 29 $35,799 $859 2

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Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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