Figuring out where to go and work after graduation is one of the biggest decisions one makes in a lifetime.

According to a new national ranking, the best place for new college grads to make a fresh start in their working lives is in Pittsburgh.

Researchers at Porch — a Seattle-based online home services firm with revenues of more than $77 million in 2019 — looked at pre-pandemic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The company created a composite score based on:

  • Median income for recent graduates
  • Unemployment rate for recent graduates
  • Number of employer firms per 1,000 residents
  • Concentration of recent graduates compared to the national average
  • Median 1-bedroom rent
  • Cost of living compared to the national average

At 88.2, Pittsburgh’s composite score is the highest among large cities (population above one million) studied. The median income for new graduates is $41,600, and the unemployment rate is a shockingly low 1.9 percent for new graduates. The median one-bedroom rent is $839, and the cost of living is 7.6% lower than the average.

Pittsburgh skyline

Photo by TH Carlisle.

St. Louis and Omaha were ranked second and third among large cities.

Curiously, Johnstown, PA (9) and Charleston, W.Va. (14) ranked high among small cities, along with with knowledge economy boomtowns like Ann Arbor, Michigan and Sunbelt boomtowns like Wilmington, North Carolina.

Read the entire study here.