Despite the fact that so many people grow up dreaming about moving to New York to start their careers, it may not actually be the best place for everyone. As magical a city as it is, with expensive housing and a high cost of living, low starting salaries and a highly competitive job market, it can be hard to make it work in the Big Apple.
So, where is the best place to start a career, then, if not NYC? A recent report from WalletHub ranked the best and worst places to do so in 2017, and the results might surprise you. Coming in at the number one spot—for both professional opportunities and quality of life—is actually Salt Lake City, Utah. New York, by comparison, fell at number 129 out of 150 cities included.
In the rest of the top 5 spots? Orlando, Austin, Grand Rapids, and Tempe, while the bottom 5 cities include Toledo, Montgomery, Augusta, Cleveland, and Newark.
According to the report, Salt Lake City and Orlando actually tie for the top spot as the cities with the most entry level jobs (per 100,000 working age population). New York, despite being a city of dreams, takes the very bottom spot, with a 15x difference between them.
The report also broke down the data by category, which you can read below.
Monthly Average Starting Salaries (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
- Highest: Durham, NC
- Lowest: Honolulu, HI
Job Growth (Adjusted for Population Growth)
- Fastest: Riverside, CA
- Slowest: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
- Most: Plano, TX
- Least: San Francisco, CA
Percentage of Population Aged 25-34
- Highest: Boston, MA
- Lowest: Cape Coral, FL
Of course, declaring the best city to start a career is totally subjective and depends on what your individual career goals are and what industry you work in—Salt Lake City may be the best place overall based on the qualities and factors covered in the report, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best place to start your career. (New York might still be the best place for you after all.)