CareerBliss' Happiest Cities For Job-seeking Grads

Posted May 14, 2012

New grads looking for the right mix of job satisfaction and disposable income may want to saddle up and head to the Lone Star State.

Texas is home to six cities on our list of the Top 40 Happiest Cities For Job-seeking Grads, with two cities -- Houston and San Antonio -- in the top 10. Florida also has two cities in the top 10, Jacksonville and Orlando, and a total of four cities on entire list.

St. Louis took the No. 1 spot, and Philadelphia rounded things off at No. 40 (see the full list below).

So, how did we arrive at the list?

We looked at 14,000 company reviews submitted in the past year by employees with jobs that require less than two years of experience. The reviews measure employee happiness on a variety of factors -- such as compensation, management and work-life balance -- to determine an overall job happiness rating, the CareerBliss Score.

Using CareerBliss Scores, we determined which cities in general had the happiest workers (at least those workers with less than two years experience). Then we put them in a grinder with the cost-of-living-adjusted average salary for the 40 happiest cities and, voilà, out popped our list.

And, what does the list mean?

Here's our take: Salary should be considered as it relates to cost of living. On the surface, that great job in New York may pay well. But when you start looking at how much it costs to live in New York, you may start to feel like you're making a lot less. And that might make you unhappy. What good is living in New York when you don't make enough to really live in New York. That is, by the way, why larger cities, such as New York and San Francisco, didn't make the top 40.

On the other hand, if you found a job in a city where employees purport to be happy and the cost of living is lower -- say, St. Louis -- your overall happiness may be higher because you'd have more disposable income to spend on stuff like TVs, spa days and vacations (or, consider saving some of it!). Think of the top 40 as great starter cities, places where you can find a satisfying first job, have plenty of disposable income and get a great start to your professional career.

Don't worry -- New York and San Francisco will still be there in a few years (we assume).

Now, without further ado:

CareerBliss' Top 40 Cities for College Grads:

RankCityCareerBliss Score*Salary**
1St. Louis4.117$50,900
2Salt Lake City4.111$43,010
3Jacksonville, Fla.4.083$45,736
4Memphis3.947$56,158
5Indianapolis4.021$44,757
6Orlando4.039$43,047
7Houston3.944$47,615
8San Antonio3.978$$43,640
9Oklahoma City3.943$42, 304
10Birmingham, Ala.3.907$47,491
11New Orleans3.964$39,793
12Tampa3.913$46,941
13Fort Worth3.909$43,566
14Dallas3.938$51,493
15Detroit3.893$50,480
16Cleveland3.959$41,040
17Charlotte3.866$42,819
18Austin3.856$48,118
19Louisville3.843$44,221
20Des Moines3.834$41,367
21Miami4.003$36,855
22Tulsa3.814$49,556
23Phoenix3.891$49,451
24Atlanta3.879$49,521
25Pittsburgh3.805$42,126
26El Paso3.736$45,155
27Cincinnati3.765$46,478
28Saint Paul3.951$41,389
29Seattle4.003$44,472
30Las Vegas3.820$49,079
31Portland3.949$46,215
32San Diego4.071$35,946
33Denver3.844$45,421
34Kansas City3.767$43,595
35Tucson3.699$48,741
36Chicago3.905$40,710
37Baltimore3.933$36,898
38Fresno3.806$46,572
39Minneapolis3.793$46,572
39Philadelphia3.913$40,014

*CareerBliss Scores are derived from independent reviews submitted by CareerBliss users.

**Salaries adjusted for cost of living.

photo of The CareerBliss Team

The CareerBliss Team

CareerBliss cares about your career happiness. That's why we offer a variety of great tools and resources to help you make better-informed career decisions. We believe that if you're happier at work, you'll be happier in life! Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!

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