The 35 Best US Cities For Millennials

Tyler Durden's picture

If you’re 24, buried in college loans and looking for a job in a city that’s affordable but not completely depressing, you’re probably wondering where to start (while spoon-feeding yourself ice cream in your high-school bedroom). On the other hand, if you’re in your early 30s and New York or Los Angeles is grinding you down into a quivering husk of financial and emotional instability, it might be time to get out. Either way, with new data showing that 36 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 31 are currently living at home with mom and dad (the highest number in 40 years, according to Pew Research Center), vocativ thought it was high time to crunch the numbers and figure out where the hell you can actually live these days and still retain some self-respect.


Via Vocativ,

The Livability Index: The 35 Best US Cities For People 35 and Under

Our semi-exhaustive, mostly scientific guide to America’s most livable cities

We started with the 50 most populous cities in the country, according to the 2010 census, and pared down results from there using Open Internet sources. Our Livability Index takes into account 20 essential indicators for those between 18 and 35, like average salary, employment rates, and the cost of rent and utilities measured against everyday factors like bike lanes for commuting, low-cost broadband and the availability of good, cheap takeout. We also considered all-important lifestyle metrics like the price of a pint of beer and an ounce of high-quality weed, and the level of access to live music and coffee shops.


The following 35 cities represent your best chance of not dying jobless and alone in your parent’s basement. You can slice and dice the data by city or across categories, depending what you care about most. In the end, some bigger cities like Los Angeles and Chicago didn’t make the top 35 (though they may have ranked in individual categories).  

Click map for interactive exhibit:

The Top 35 Cities:

And Some individual breakdowns:

Youngest Population:

Cheapest Beer:

Cheapest Weed:

Highest Average Salary:

Grab your patchouli; it’s time to move to Portland!


Source: Vocativ

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atomicwasted's picture

As per usual Tucson and Nashville have nothing at all to recommend them.

WayBehind's picture

Luckily I dont live in any of the cities on this list ...

Skateboarder's picture

San Jose represent! Numba one in income, top dulla playas.

Freddie's picture

Writing code and stupid ***king apps for The Man to spy on Americans.  F*** Silicon Valley.  

I hope foreign programmers and companies develop non-spy stuff that puts those evil ****s out of business.

smithcreek's picture

If some 28 year old asshole living in the same bedroom he has been since he was born is basing where he will move on the price of weed and manicures, and the number of coffee shops, vintage clothing stores and take out food, I'd say save the grief and just stay where you are.  Learn how to make your own cup of coffee, cut your nails, buy inexpensive clothes somewhere like TJ Maxx and give up weed until you have money left over after paying your rent.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Sometimes self reliance includes learning to cut your own nails, brew your own beer and grow your own weed.

Its this can-do spirit that once  made America great. We can raise the sails once more if we just turn off the TV and internet and face the tasks at hand instead of living in denial.

A brewpub in your parents basement is a great way to learn about business and run a black market tavern with wet T-shirt Tuesdays bringing the hordes to your venue.

the mothership is for learning and earning, not veggin, get on up off your asses and start growing and brewing and stop stewin'

You should be burnin, and learnin and earnin, not attemptin to acheive maximum density eatin nachos in front of a porn site all day and then askin mom to make some mac & cheese cause you can't even work the microwave.

growin up is about changin, findin the edges, explorin your boundaries, not learing they are four concrete block walls in your parents basement.

The best city in america is the one you are in right now with a handful of cannabis seeds and a dream.

MythicalFish's picture

“We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.


So let's all move to Virginia Beach for that 3.50/pint Guinness to show how pissed off we are?

Freddie's picture

Anyone who still watches TV and Hollywood supports it ALL like a tard.

VA Beach?  You better have heat there when the SHTF and the EBT cards stop working.

LFMayor's picture


That whole tidewater area is a fucking sewer.  Had some fun down in Oceanview a few times though... but you had to watch out for the trannys.

e_goldstein's picture

Unfortunately, I do. We have enough hipster douchebags running around and certainly don't need more.

lewy14's picture

hipster douchebags

Almost entirely redundant.

Buck Johnson's picture

I don't think there is a good place to go.  I think we are on our last Hooray and we will be in a nasty Hyperstaflation depression for two decades once the bubble bursts.  But on the good side, the govt. (hopefully) won't be to worried trying to go after you for your loans.  Unless they will demand payment and/or you doing govt. service.

McMolotov's picture

I'm slowly working towards reducing my cost of living and making as little money as possible while still living a halfway decent life. It's not easy, but it's doable. At some point I'll likely end up living in a camper in the desert or something, and I really couldn't give a shit. The less I hand over to this government the better. Every small bit I keep out of the hands of fascists is a small victory as far as I'm concerned, and I can die a happy man knowing I did my part to starve the beast.

If enough millennials realize they don't need nearly as much shit as they've been told, it'll bring the whole thing down a lot quicker.

g'kar's picture

Your idea works (by exprience).

in4mayshun's picture

Yes Millennials, come to California. ( Hope you took Spanish in college)

GeezerGeek's picture

That probably applies to Miami/Dade County. Maybe not to Miami Beach, but certainly to the greater metropolitan area. 

g'kar's picture

The top 10 cities for stoners explains some of the election results.

icanhasbailout's picture

It's a direct result of de facto or actual decriminalization. If you want to see just how easy it is to get a "medical" MJ card in CA check out



g'kar's picture

When I lived in Cal decades back you could walk down the sidewalks and smell the stuff growing (and being used) just about everywhere. Nobody had any cards. I guess the revenuers jumped in to take advantage. It wasn't going away so it made sense to go with the flow.

zhandax's picture

If decades back includes the 70's, you could make that statement within a half mile of every college campus in the country.

Levadiakos's picture

When I was in college 1 pound of mainstreet joe cost ya $100 or 1 pound of a gasket busting primo lumbo that you were blind after 3 hits set ya back $200, then again gas was 35 cents, a six pack $1.25 and an apt $75

adr's picture

A basket case house in Portland or Boston costs $350k. Good like finding anything bigger than a studio for under $1000.

Is this a list of the best places to be a homeless 30 year old?

Cities with cheap Pot? WTF kind of metric is that if you want to be out of mom and dad's basement.

My sister lives in Portland and had to be bailed out by my dad twice. 

I'm looking for a house outside Boston and make $75k. I can't find anything affordable in any town I would consider raising my son in. I found an affordable town but 60% of the school district was Hispanic and 80% of the students are on the reduced price lunch program. By affordable I'm talking $225k for what amounts to a double wide trailer.

Half the country is on welfare, half of the people working make less than $30k. How are these people going to afford the $345k median house in nearly every city on that list?

prains's picture

for God sake whatever you do, don't leave the good ol' nSSA/uSSA, that would be like....unthinkable

Gavrikon's picture

Oops, too late.

Never coming back.

sangell's picture

$345k In San Francisco its $800k for the median house. Apartment, nothing fancy, $3000, yeah its bicycle friendly ( if you like hills) because unless you have off street parking you may as well not own a car.

Mike in GA's picture

Therein lies the problem - working class can't afford anything other than necessities.

"Cities with cheap Pot? WTF kind of metric is that if you want to be out of mom and dad's basement."   It's called "maintaining self-respect"! 

These same millenials complaining about the high cost of taking care of their ailing baby boomer parents are making the same damn mistakes they (we) made. 

MisterMousePotato's picture

Actually, to be accurate, half the people working make less than, oh, about $25k by my calculation:

Also, by my calculation, substantially more than half the people in this country are on welfare (welfare welfare, government assistance, and, of course, our supreme overlords, government employees [and their enablers and hangerson]).

Yeah. $345k sounds pretty cool to me.


Hopeful Skeptic's picture

The cost of living in the middle of the country (excluding Denver/Colo Springs) tends to be significantly lower. I can tell you that the median home price is significantly lower in Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Now, people may refuse to live in "fly-over country", but in doing so they're deliberately choosing a higher cost of living.

And a note to anyone considering moving here from high-cost areas: We welcome you, but leave your progressive, utopian, nanny state inclinations on the coasts. There are alreay too many people trying to bring that infectious disease here.


Zadok's picture

The distortion between income and cost of living is ridiculous. High housing to income ratio due to fraud manifested in foreclosure stuffing etc combined with corporate welfare (pay so little Uncle Sammy makes up the diff to functional poverty).
Pissed yes, options few short of paradigm shift.

Ignatius's picture


"Where young people go to retire."

icanhasbailout's picture

"Highest Average Salary" is actually a contrary indicator. Sure your salary is higher but your taxes are also higher and your cost of living is MUCH higher. Salary relative to cost of living would be a much better metric for livability.

Five8Charlie's picture

Fresno, for fuck's sake? 

Because the people there are too broke to leave?

Professorlocknload's picture

Fresno's OK, just don't leave home without your dogleg...

bigrooster's picture

Stupid shit.  If I was 18 and not going to college got N Dakota or Alberta and work your way up.

Go to college and get an IT degree.  You can still make big bucks!  Fuck you anti college junkers!  

Ballin D's picture

Seriously, go to school for something technology related.  Every idiot that I went to school with who got a degree in CS is employed. 100% of the 2012 class.

Mike in GA's picture

Just proves you will all be working for robots in your lifetime.  You think bureaucrats are bad...think about the ramifications of working for machines.  Not nice machines.  Talk about extracting productivity.

GeezerGeek's picture

Working for machines? Learn to write programs (hear that, CGI?) and make the machines do what you tell them to. It worked well for me for nearly 40 years, and definitely gave me a feeling of control, something rare these days. I figured that I could tell my wife what to do...good luck with that. Or I could tell my son what to do...again, good luck. And I could tell my cats what to do all day long and be ignored pretty consistently. But if I told a computer what to do, it would do exactly what I told it to do. Now whether it was what I actually wanted it to do was another question, but at least I was in control and responsible for the results. (Hear that, Obama?)

in4mayshun's picture

It's pretty obvious that you actually don't work in the IT sector yet. If you did you would know that tech salaries are diving because there are more techies than jobs. Try $15/hr

Freddie's picture

Good programmers are doing better but you have to constantly work hard to keep your skills up. Many corps have IT ghettoes where Americans need not apply.

There are usually two types of companies:

1. Hip pre-IPO where they work you to death but usually have other good American programmers.  Interesting work where you work until you drop or before the company goes broke.  The pre-IPO stock you may get promised is usually an illusion. 

2. Big corps with legacy shit software and lots of H1-Bs and foreigners plus some Indian/Asian IT ghettos.  Usually soul destroying work.  You might get hired as the token American. 

lewy14's picture

Not far from the truth.

That said, there's one thing you're missing - if you find you have to work hard to keep your skills up, you are probably not in the right field.

All the best people have a word for the hours they put in to learning the newest stuff. They call it "fun".

They don't have to work to keep up. Keeping up is what they do for kicks.

MisterMousePotato's picture

You know what I do on Saturdays and Sundays? I read about chip architecture. Download and test software. Etc. While the wife and daughter watch movies, and the rest of the world football on television.

It is fun.

lewy14's picture

Exactly. My fun time is similarly spent.

(LOLing at the fact that all my up arrows happened after midnight.)

Go to bed internet, you're tired.

GeezerGeek's picture

One of the aspects of retirement that I appreciate is this: I finally have time to indulge in this kind of fun, even if I never get paid to apply it. When I was employed I was embedded in the Microsoft and Oracle morass. Now I get to do stuff with Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Netduino, and many other related things. I don't limit my learning solely to tech stuff, either. 

zhandax's picture

Usually, but there is an interesting little niche for people who can clean up and translate mangled Indian data back to management.  Not straight line IT, but someone has to do it.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

It is called R.O.I. Most college degrees these days don't have a good R.O.I. for the amount of debt you have to put yourself in to get one. It is not just the type of degree but where you get it. You think if 2 people walk into a office with IT degrees, one from an Ivory League school the other from some local state school that the state school kid is going to be offered the job if all things are equal. There is going to be a glut of IT people soon enough. The point of education is tool box skills that can be applied specifically later on. Have a specific skill degree without that tool box knowledge well you are fucked the minute the industry collapses. Problem is the people running these businesses only take industry specific degrees and then wonder why these 'college educated' people can't doing anything of value outside of their narrow fields of vision. You can always lean the specifics on the fly if you understand the basics and that is the major problem with 'college specific' degrees they don't teach that.


TheObsoleteMan's picture

They are not going to tell you the best places to move to, because only "shitsvilles" have to pay someone to write pieces about what  great places they are to live in. You couldn't pay me to live in any of those places mentioned. And while we are at it, how did Miami not make the cheap pot list? South Florida is where much of the pot east of the Mississippi comes through. The further away you get from the source, the more it cost because it passes through so many hands. Just say'n. Not that I would know about anything like that.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

That of course is imported weed. The majority of American Weed is raised right here in America by Americans (mostly)

Weed is bringing back American Employment, 3 out of every 5 new jobs is created in the weed or weed related industries.

Hemp is a multimillion dollar business and hemp is legal, therefore cannabis which is only legal in about half the states is a much bigger business, its a billion dollar baby waiting to grow up.

Weed its what America is having.


forwardho's picture

Re; 3 out of every 5 new jobs is created in the weed or weed related industries.

Link please, That statement pinned the BS meter.

Calmly Waiting for the Collapse's picture

No suprise that there isn't a catagory for fit, slender, attractive members of the opposite (or same for some) sex in lumpy USA.