City, News

Boston ranked eighth best metropolitan area for recent college graduates

GRAPHIC BY RACHEL CHMIELINSKI/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
GRAPHIC BY RACHEL CHMIELINSKI/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston metropolitan area is the eighth-best metropolitan area for new college graduates to live in, a Wednesday ValuePenguin report found. Ranking 381 cities nationwide, the report used metrics of employment, affordability and lifestyle to determine the best places for recent graduates, according to ValuePenguin.

Analyzing findings based on U.S. Census Bureau data, ValuePenguin found that the Boston area, which includes Boston, Cambridge and Newton, has the highest percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree or higher because of its high concentration of colleges and universities.

Madison, Wisconsin; Fargo, North Dakota; Burlington, Vermont.; Bloomington, Illinois and Logan, Utah landed on the top five spots on the report.

ValuePenguin Associate Editor Andrew Pentis said the report was generated to educate people on personal finance.

“We want to reach all people who have to make personal finance decisions on a daily or weekly or monthly basis, but clearly I think a lot of our content is targeted for young people, because we do cover a lot of things that people who are new to personal finance would find helpful,” Pentis said. “Whether that’s learning about how to save money or learning how to budget, or how to invest, I think those are all topics that young people find helpful.”

Pentis said in a follow-up email that Boston is the ranked fifth in the percentage of full-time workers without employer health coverage and fourth in the percentage of 20-to-24-year-olds who commute to work via public transportation.

Boston also ranked 15th in the concentration of people over 25 who have acquired a graduate or professional degree, Pentis wrote.

Silvia Domínguez, a sociology professor at Northeastern University, wrote in an email that although Boston is a great city for those with high-paying jobs, it can be a difficult place to live for the majority of Americans.

“Boston is … like Seattle, [S]an Francisco and Portland which are now incredibly unequal with very well off people working in the High Tech and biotech fields coming out of schools like Harvard, MIT, etc., and Stanford and Berkeley out west,” Domínguez wrote. “These cities are unaffordable to middle and lower income people who are pushed further and further away from the urban areas.”

The report noted that students are increasingly burdened with student debts, citing data from the National Center for Education Statistics that reported a 20 percent increase in college enrollment from 2003 to 2013, but the number of graduate level jobs have remained the same.  

Several Boston residents said although Boston has quality educational institutions and workplaces, it is not affordable.

Cynthia DeRocco, 31, of Brighton, said she is not surprised at the ranking, given that Boston is a large college town.

“College grads come out with a lot of loans, and a lot of debt,” she said. “The housing in the city is kind of out of control right now. It seems like every day there’s the new big development that’s mixed use, and condos, and it’s all luxury. It’s not for normal people.”

Ariana Hakim, 28, of Brighton, said Boston is full of opportunities, and upward mobility is viable in the city.

“First of all, [Boston is] such a great college town,” she said. “It’s kind of impossible for there not to be so many opportunities. Speaking from my own experience, I went to Emerson, I had a lot of internship opportunities available for me, and while I left after a few years, I’m clearly back, so there’s clearly a lot of opportunity here.”

Abigail Burns, 25, of Jamaica Plain, said although the opportunities she has seen in Boston is superior to those in her hometown, Detroit, she said she has experienced unpleasant career paths in Boston.

“One of the reasons I chose to come to school in Boston is that there would be a lot more opportunity for someone coming straight out of school,” she said. “The longer I’ve been here, the more I see … it’s not the worst … but I’ve seen enough people struggling, not finding something in their field. And that wasn’t what I was expecting.”

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