Study: Austin, Omaha top new list of best cities for millennials

An ranking of economic, educational and lifestyle factors highlights which American cities may be the best fit for young adults.

FOSTER CITY, Calif., March 9, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Based on its youthful population, low unemployment rate and affordable in-state tuition, Austin is the best city in America for millennial college students, according to a new analysis from that ranked the availability of education, quality of life and economic opportunity. Omaha and Oklahoma City, which both ranked well for their relatively low cost of living, low unemployment and short commutes, rounded out the top three.

Recent studies about the millennial demographic show that these young adults, born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, want to make a positive social impact, care about access to culture and have strong opinions on work-life balance. They're also flocking to cities. But many millennials are also coming of age with student loan debt and starting their careers amid the challenging economic situation of a recession.

That makes where they live all the more important. Using data from the American Community Survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources, ranked all U.S. cities with a population greater than 400,000 on nine factors that affect overall quality of life in a given city. These include:

  • Annual mean wage
  • Unemployment rate
  • Percentage of the population aged 20-34
  • Cost of living
  • Percentage of the population attending college or graduate school
  • Average in-state tuition
  • Percentage of the population who commute to work via public transit
  • Average commute time
  • Entertainment factor, which includes data on bars, restaurants, museums, sports and music

Based on these rankings, the top five cities are:

  1. Austin
  2. Omaha
  3. Oklahoma City
  4. Seattle
  5. Colorado Springs

To see the full list of top finishers, including details on where they ranked in all nine categories, please see's article on the 15 Best U.S. Cities for Millennial College Students.


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