For recent grads, choosing where to start your post-college career can make a big impact in the trajectory of your life. And according to one report, Massachusetts is the best state that offers young workers plenty of jobs, affordable living and fun amenities.
The New England state ranks No. 1 for its combination of strong job market, affordability, safety and leisure factors, according to a new report from Scholaroo, a college scholarship resource, and based on data from the U.S. Labor Department, Census Bureau and more.
The report considers career factors like states with a high employment rate, financial considerations like median household income, and lifestyle priorities ranging from access to quality health care as well as ample restaurants, bars, museums and movie theaters. Several data points are geared toward recent college grads and other young professionals looking for internships and entry-level jobs.
These are the top 10 states for young workers to find jobs, live affordably and have fun, according to Scholaroo:
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
Massachusetts, in particular, ranks highly for jobs, health and workplace diversity factors, but trails in its affordability. With that said, residents are among the highest earners in the country, with Massachusetts workers bringing home an average salary of $76,600 per year. That’s slightly above the U.S. median household income of $74,580 in 2022.
Rhode Island ranks No. 2 thanks to high scores for leisure, health and safety factors, but it scores lowest for workplace diversity, which takes a look at the employment rate for people with disabilities, the racial and gender wage gaps, and state laws that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment.
And rounding out the top 3, New Hampshire scored well in affordability and is ranked No. 1 for having the lowest cost of groceries, on average, in the U.S. It also ranks highly safety, workplace diversity and leisure, but scores lowest on the jobs front.
The Scholaroo analysis also ranks states by subcategories across jobs, finances and lifestyle aspects. For example, the state with the highest number of entry-level jobs is North Dakota, and the state with the highest number of restaurants and bars is Hawaii.
At the bottom of the list, the worst states for young professionals are concentrated in the South: West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
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