Where we live – and the cost of living associated with our place of residence – is a big factor in our personal finances. It’s no secret that many of the cities that draw Millennials – London, New York, San Francisco, etc., are expensive places to live (a 2010 New York Times article on twentysomethings living in the city profiled folks who pay hundreds of dollars a month for cramped, illegally divided spaces). Is there another way? Can you find cities with a solid job market, reasonable cost of real estate, and still enough of the arts and cultures and amenities that many young people love? The Atlantic’s Nona Willis Aronowitz says yes, and published a series on cities where Millennials can make it now. If you’ve ever considered moving for lower cost of living, I’d check out her series.
Nona says of our Millennial generation:
We’re realizing that those big, bustling cities have become unaffordable for those of us just starting out. And the house in the suburbs, with its long commutes and high gas bills, doesn’t fare much better. So where does a Millennial turn?
I traveled across the country for six weeks in search of the best, most affordable places for twentysomethings to achieve their goals nowadays—whether it’s to start a business, live off their art, have kids earlier, or just finally find a fulltime job.
She found nine cities – listed in no particular order – that fit her criteria:
- Omaha, Nebraska
- Jackson, Mississippi
- Jersey City, New Jersey
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Houston, Texas
- San Antonio, Texas
I have to say that I have never lived in any of these cities, and while I’d be open to trying out other parts of the country, most of Midwestern or Northeastern cities listed here would be much too cold for me. Houston’s sprawl is intimidating. I would be quite open to living in San Antonio – saw an episode of House Hunters where I fell in love with the architecture of the houses the hunters visited – though, if the job market there were bigger/better for MBA jobs. My parents lived in Albuquerque before and I would also be open to that location, although, again, the jobs!
I was a little surprised to that cities in North Carolina (Charlotte and the Research Triangle area) were left off the list. I’ve spent some time in those areas and really think they’d be a great place for many folks – temperate weather, natural beauty, low cost of living, a good job market, and a nice food scene, etc. I have also heard great things about Nashville, Tennessee and Indianapolis, Indiana as great, affordable mid-sized cities to live in. In fact, a classmate turned down a job in Los Angeles in favor of a position in Indianapolis – even though he loved LA and the beach – because he had kids and wanted to buy a house and settle down, and Indianapolis is much more conducive to that goal than Los Angeles would be.
What do you think of this list? Do you agree / disagree that these are awesome cities for Millennials to get ahead or settle down in? If you live in one of the cities, please do your share experiences and thoughts.