Once you graduate from college, it’s time to decide where you want to put down roots and start a career. Transitioning into the “real world” can be difficult, especially when you start to consider long-term goals.
To help grads find the right place to settle down, we investigated the economic prospects and cost of living in all 50 states. The states that top the list share two common traits: First, they have excellent projected employment growth rates; and second, they offer earning potential that is relative to the cost of living in the state.
Number two on the list is Virginia, a state that offers college graduates a growing economy and an affordable housing market. Employment projections are strong in the technology sector, with more than 7,400 job openings expected for individuals with degrees in subjects like computer programming and software development between 2012 and 2022.
- Average score: 31.30/40
- Cost of living: 25th
Every state was ranked based on the four data points listed below:
- Average salary — The median annual salary for graduates holding this specific degree in this state (based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Center for Education Statistics).
- Leftover salary — How much money a degree holder can expect to have left over after paying for housing on a median-priced home or apartment (based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, and the American Community Survey, 2013).
- Job potential — How many new jobs are projected for careers associated with this degree in the state between 2012 and 2022 (based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Projections Central, the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, and Workforce West Virginia).
- Cost of living — How affordable the state is to live in overall (based on data from the Council for Community and Economic Research, 2014).