With tuition at private colleges routinely eclipsing the $60,000 mark, it’s more important than ever for recent graduates to settle in cities where circumstances allow them to start paying down their massive debt piles as quickly as possible.
That means a city with strong job offers, but where the cost of living isn’t so high as to siphon off a young worker’s earnings.
To that end, Credible crunched the numbers for the country’s 23 most populous cities and ranked them according to how much younger workers struggle with student-debt payments. The lender, using data from 9,000 of its own borrowers, took the average income in each of those cities with the average monthly housing payment and their average monthly student loan payment, and found that the city where students struggle the most is San Jose, Calif., followed by Fort Worth, Texas and Boston, Mass.
In Dallas, Jacksonville, and Houston, the cities that topped Credible’s ranking for the most affordable cities for recent grads, borrowers have more of their income left over after paying their monthly loan and housing bills as compared to the other cities on the list. More than 70% of US students borrow money to attend college, with the average debt load among this cohort amounting to about $37,000.
But even in these cities, “nearly 27 percent of borrowers’ average monthly income is eaten up by their monthly housing payment and their monthly loan payment alone. That doesn’t even take into account other expenses such as taxes, food, or transportation," according to Credible.
It’s also not that far removed from the more than 30 percent of borrowers’ average monthly income dedicated to loan and housing payments in the cities at the top of the list.
But this isn’t that surprising. While monthly housing costs tend to be slightly higher in the least affordable cities compared with the other cities, the margin of difference isn’t large – suggesting that, while affordability might be one factor that grads take into account when choosing where to live, high rents don’t necessarily prevent people from flocking to certain cities.