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A lot of people like living and working in big cities for career opportunities that are there. But there are some who prefer a much quieter lifestyle.
They like the smaller cities, which actually offer just as many great opportunities for starting a career as a big city can offer.
Take a look over our list of the best small cities to start a career to find out where you should be searching for a job.
Best Small Cities to Start a Career
If you’re looking for a slice of the good life, your job search should start with this list. But if those cities don’t get your wheels a-turning, check out the full list of all the best cities below.
We looked at over 3,000 cities and ranked them on the following areas:
We first 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.
We defined small-sized as any city with a working population between 5,000 to 25,000 people. We then selected the highest-ranking city in each state.
All of our data came from the most recent Census ACS.
Individual Median Income: $69,923
The first stop for Small City, USA is Springdale, New Jersey. The quaint little city beats out the competition when it comes to starting a career with its low unemployment rate of 1.2. In addition, the cost of living is incredibly affordable as the average monthly rent there is only $785. And while you’re making an average of $69,923, you won’t have to skimp on the finer things in life.
Individual Median Income: $35,942
The next stop is Carroll, Iowa. While you probably won’t become a millionaire starting out here since the average income is $35,942, you won’t have to worry so much about the cost of living as the average rent is $811 a month. Plus, with unemployment at 2.1, you’ll be able to snatch up a job in no time.
Individual Median Income: $43,458
Pierre, South Dakota is next on our list. And it should be on yours as well. With a median income of $43,458, you’ll be able to take care of that $1,001 average rent.
Individual Median Income: $37,481
Far enough away from that big city that never sleeps, Hamburg, New York is the perfect small city for you to start a career. It’s hard to imagine rent averaging $843 a month anywhere in New York, but Hamburg has got it figured out. Plus with the median income being $37,481, you’ll have plenty to make it in a state you had probably crossed off your list.
Individual Median Income: $45,382
Next up is Whitehall, Pennsylvania. This city has an astonishing low unemployment rate at 1.4% so you’re sure to find a job easily enough. The only downside to living here is the living cost with the average rent at $1,125.
Individual Median Income: $47,701
For No. 6, we’ve arrived at Victoria, Minnesota. This cute little city is a great place to start a career, especially if you want to make a little extra money. The city’s median income is $47,701, which is plenty to get by with and still be able to afford the average rent of $1,131.
Individual Median Income: $41,000
Next up on the tour is Newcastle, Oklahoma. Its unemployment rate of 1.7% is so low that you’ll have no problem finding a job here. In fact, you may decide to spend the rest of your career here with the average rent costing only $719 and the median income being $41,000.
Individual Median Income: $38,078
You won’t want to miss this stop at Trenton, Michigan. With a low average rent of $941 and a low unemployment rate of 2.2%, you won’t have to worry about securing a job and you may even be able to splurge on housing.
Individual Median Income: $37,965
As we make a stop in Waupun, Wisconsin, you’ll notice how cheap the cost of living is here. With an average rent of $872, you’ll be able to spend your paycheck on things you want to purchase.
Individual Median Income: $48,807
The 10th stop at Macedonia, Ohio is where we get off the train. The city supports its employees with a median income of $48,807, which is really great especially for those who are just starting out. The high median income is needed for the city’s average rent of $1,117, but you’ll be able to enjoy the small city life in addition to paying bills and rent with that salary.
Not all people enjoy living in a big city so we spent some time finding smaller cities that are the best spots for starting a career. We went on a short little road trip across America to learn a little bit about each city. If you didn’t find your final stop in the top 10, don’t give up hope yet. We have a complete list of cities for you to check out below.
|Missouri||Town and Country||$84,526|
|New Mexico||Los Alamos||$70,383|
|North Dakota||West Fargo||$41,858|
|Rhode Island||Valley Falls||$41,807|
|South Carolina||Fort Mill||$42,188|
|West Virginia||Cheat Lake||$47,712|
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