These Carolina Cities Are Ranked As 2021’s Best Places to Start a Career

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With graduation season upon us and employers planning to hire 7.2% more graduates from the Class of 2021 than they did from the Class of 2020, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s Best & Worst Places to Start a Career.

To help recent graduates launch their careers in the right place, the site compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 28 key indicators of career-friendliness. The data set ranges from the availability of entry-level jobs to monthly average starting salary to housing affordability.

Three cities in the Carolinas ranked among the top 10 in the nation, including Columbia at #5, Charleston at #6, and Durham at #9. Charlotte also faired pretty well, coming it at #30 out of 182 cities ranked.

Best Cities to Start a Career

Overall Rank  City Total Score  Professional Opportunities  Quality of Life 
1 Salt Lake City, UT 69.15 2 2
2 Orlando, FL 65.81 1 27
3 Atlanta, GA 64.99 3 19
4 Austin, TX 61.94 22 1
5 Columbia, SC 61.10 5 31
6 Charleston, SC 60.88 9 14
7 Seattle, WA 60.72 24 4
8 Overland Park, KS 60.38 11 23
9 Durham, NC 60.19 6 46
10 Scottsdale, AZ 60.18 13 17
11 Tempe, AZ 59.82 34 3
12 Boise, ID 59.68 17 18
13 Tampa, FL 59.53 4 95
14 Knoxville, TN 59.33 7 54
15 Cincinnati, OH 59.22 16 30
16 Madison, WI 59.21 33 5
17 Raleigh, NC 58.59 28 11
18 Huntsville, AL 58.20 19 45
19 Denver, CO 58.16 32 10
20 Reno, NV 57.94 30 21
21 Portland, ME 57.89 46 6
22 Pittsburgh, PA 57.87 29 16
23 Richmond, VA 57.47 20 55
24 Cheyenne, WY 57.05 27 42
25 San Francisco, CA 56.81 51 9
26 Birmingham, AL 56.37 10 99
27 St. Petersburg, FL 56.34 12 94
28 Irving, TX 56.31 31 44
29 Nashville, TN 55.79 39 39
30 Charlotte, NC 55.61 37 50
31 Grand Rapids, MI 55.54 14 101
32 Omaha, NE 55.45 47 33
33 South Burlington, VT 55.13 44 47
34 Chandler, AZ 55.12 59 28
35 Jacksonville, FL 55.06 23 91
36 Sacramento, CA 55.04 41 49
37 St. Louis, MO 55.00 8 141
38 West Valley City, UT 54.99 38 61
39 Kansas City, MO 54.90 55 34
40 Chattanooga, TN 54.87 18 108
41 Boston, MA 54.85 53 38
42 Nampa, ID 54.63 25 89
43 Colorado Springs, CO 54.27 36 73
44 Fort Worth, TX 54.21 43 63
45 San Diego, CA 54.17 82 13
46 Tacoma, WA 54.16 21 111
47 Fort Smith, AR 54.13 35 74
48 Dallas, TX 53.92 58 52
49 Plano, TX 53.76 83 22
50 Minneapolis, MN 53.59 80 25
51 Gilbert, AZ 53.57 60 56
52 Springfield, MO 53.46 61 60
53 Tulsa, OK 53.39 57 64
54 Des Moines, IA 53.34 62 59
55 Phoenix, AZ 53.12 56 69
56 Sioux Falls, SD 52.89 85 40
57 Washington, DC 52.78 110 8
58 Manchester, NH 52.58 49 82
59 Lincoln, NE 52.51 108 15
60 Rochester, NY 52.25 42 96
61 Fargo, ND 52.21 94 41
62 Wilmington, DE 52.13 26 147
63 Mesa, AZ 52.10 65 75
64 Columbia, MD 52.06 118 26
65 Irvine, CA 51.97 95 36
66 Billings, MT 51.90 103 35
67 Portland, OR 51.90 104 24
68 Virginia Beach, VA 51.84 93 43
69 Lubbock, TX 51.78 87 57
70 Oakland, CA 51.77 67 79
71 Spokane, WA 51.70 48 106
72 Glendale, AZ 51.63 64 84
73 San Jose, CA 51.21 66 92
74 Oklahoma City, OK 51.19 109 32
75 Burlington, VT 51.18 145 12
76 Columbus, OH 51.02 127 20
77 Miami, FL 50.89 15 174
78 Fort Wayne, IN 50.85 40 150
79 Riverside, CA 50.67 79 78
80 Indianapolis, IN 50.65 78 85
81 Nashua, NH 50.53 68 102
82 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 50.53 98 66
83 Tucson, AZ 50.41 117 48
84 Rapid City, SD 50.36 142 29
85 Arlington, TX 50.32 84 80
86 Winston-Salem, NC 49.99 50 145
87 Peoria, AZ 49.89 77 104
88 Ontario, CA 49.87 72 113
89 Vancouver, WA 49.81 70 121
90 Tallahassee, FL 49.76 133 51
91 Wichita, KS 49.70 92 86
92 St. Paul, MN 49.61 122 58
93 Mobile, AL 49.40 69 131
94 Houston, TX 49.26 114 67
95 Augusta, GA 49.25 54 155
96 New Orleans, LA 49.10 111 71
97 Missoula, MT 48.83 171 7
98 Modesto, CA 48.80 63 149
99 Aurora, CO 48.76 52 161
100 Honolulu, HI 48.70 138 53
101 Fremont, CA 48.64 124 72
102 San Antonio, TX 48.40 106 87
103 Fresno, CA 48.37 76 140
104 Fort Lauderdale, FL 48.30 45 166
105 Oceanside, CA 48.26 100 98
106 Albuquerque, NM 48.19 113 88
107 Baton Rouge, LA 48.03 102 100
108 Laredo, TX 47.85 86 134
109 Cedar Rapids, IA 47.74 150 65
110 Cleveland, OH 47.72 91 135
111 Bismarck, ND 47.70 136 76
112 Amarillo, TX 47.67 121 90
113 Garland, TX 47.61 112 103
114 Warwick, RI 47.55 71 160
115 Newport News, VA 47.53 90 138
116 Grand Prairie, TX 47.46 101 118
117 Santa Rosa, CA 47.42 96 128
118 Huntington, WV 47.31 88 139
119 Casper, WY 47.21 154 62
120 Montgomery, AL 47.13 115 114
121 San Bernardino, CA 46.90 105 127
122 Las Vegas, NV 46.90 123 110
123 Akron, OH 46.66 97 143
124 Chesapeake, VA 46.58 126 119
125 Lexington-Fayette, KY 46.57 149 77
126 Little Rock, AR 46.32 147 81
127 Moreno Valley, CA 46.30 120 129
128 Los Angeles, CA 46.29 137 97
129 Louisville, KY 46.29 99 148
130 Huntington Beach, CA 46.03 159 68
131 Worcester, MA 45.98 131 124
132 Milwaukee, WI 45.85 139 109
133 Greensboro, NC 45.61 75 170
134 Providence, RI 45.60 89 167
135 Salem, OR 45.35 144 112
136 Fontana, CA 45.31 140 122
137 Dover, DE 45.08 107 159
138 Buffalo, NY 45.01 119 157
139 Norfolk, VA 44.78 130 152
140 Jackson, MS 44.68 143 132
141 Aurora, IL 44.67 129 153
142 Oxnard, CA 44.52 141 137
143 Bakersfield, CA 44.42 151 116
144 Henderson, NV 44.41 152 115
145 Cape Coral, FL 44.38 116 163
146 Memphis, TN 44.22 134 154
147 Stockton, CA 44.13 124 162
148 Pearl City, HI 44.00 160 105
149 Chicago, IL 43.99 163 83
150 Charleston, WV 43.84 74 177
151 Port St. Lucie, FL 43.81 73 178
152 Lewiston, ME 43.80 81 176
153 Chula Vista, CA 43.76 156 117
154 Brownsville, TX 43.52 148 146
155 Garden Grove, CA 43.40 167 93
156 Glendale, CA 43.09 161 125
157 Long Beach, CA 42.98 158 133
158 Corpus Christi, TX 42.90 153 144
159 Santa Ana, CA 42.87 157 136
160 Toledo, OH 42.73 128 169
161 Juneau, AK 42.62 182 37
162 Anchorage, AK 42.55 178 70
163 Gulfport, MS 42.33 175 107
164 Fayetteville, NC 42.29 165 130
165 Las Cruces, NM 42.19 168 126
166 Anaheim, CA 42.13 169 120
167 Baltimore, MD 42.10 131 171
168 Jersey City, NJ 41.80 170 123
169 Shreveport, LA 40.65 166 158
170 El Paso, TX 40.31 173 151
171 New Haven, CT 40.31 162 165
172 Yonkers, NY 40.15 174 156
173 Santa Clarita, CA 39.86 177 142
174 Philadelphia, PA 39.54 155 175
175 North Las Vegas, NV 38.66 176 164
176 Columbus, GA 37.95 164 172
177 Pembroke Pines, FL 37.78 146 179
178 Detroit, MI 37.77 135 181
179 Bridgeport, CT 36.49 179 168
180 New York, NY 33.15 181 173
181 Hialeah, FL 33.05 172 182
182 Newark, NJ 30.89 180 180

Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that city, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.

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