NYC is the 3rd best place for twenty-somethings??? WTH??? is the 3rd best place for twenty-somethings??? WTH???

Photo: View of Manhattan from the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn / Photo credit: ChrisGoldNY / / CC BY-NC

Many recent graduates head to the New York Metropolitan area, which has one of the highest populations of 20-year-olds in the nation. – NerdWalletDC is #1? WTH???

NerdWallet posted their Top 20 Best Places for 20-somethings list

As posted below, cities are scored on a points system aggregating employment rates, income, median rent and cost of living among several factors.  Superlative lists are always fun.  They make for great cocktail conversation.  This list certainly hits some favorites such as San Francisco (#2) and Los Angeles (#8).

On the other hand, its confusing mathematical approach leaves out some of the most up-and-coming US cities such as Austin and Raleigh as it fails to look at hot areas of growth.  What about classic cities like Philly?  Superlative lists make for great fodder list does miss the mark with some twisted logic on some key variables.  Then again, what could be more twisted than ranking NYC #3 behind DC?  WTH? WTH?? WTH???

Food for thought:

1. What are the dominant industries?  

LA has film and NY holds serve on fashion, digital media and Silicon Alley among hot growth areas.  When looking at top choices such as Washington, DC there are often complaints that for those not involved in life on “The Hill” the city might not offer as much promise.  For those in high-tech Stamford, CT might not have the same appeal as San Jose.  While Honolulu is a lovely place, the question must be asked, “Do I really want to choose Hawaii to launch my fashion design career because the rents are better?”

 2. Whose idea was it to lump in New Jersey and Long Island with New York City?  Santa Ana with Los Angeles?

This list is rife with “tri-city” areas.  In its analysis of geographical regions the list conveniently debatable conflates areas that, while accessible to each other, are actually quite diverse from one another eventually skewing many of the accompanying facts and figures such as rent rates and cost of living.

Smushing Oakland and San Francisco together… well, suddenly median rent takes a huge plunge while average incomes skyrocket.  Is the suggestion to work on one end of town while living in another?  This isn’t clear.  In the case of LA or NY, does this research really believe the Santa Ana to LA commute is wise?  Long Island to “New York City”?  Then again, which of the 5 boroughs did they mean?

The Top 10 from NerdWallet:



By NerdWallet’s logic the Cost of Living Indexes (CLI) put Northern New Jersey and New York together, which is fair in some economic estimates.  Wiser minds and locals know its not that simple, young grasshopper.  As Huffington Post’s piece The 10 Cities With The Highest Cost Of Living demonstrates, Queens measures in the 150’s while Brooklyn comes in at 186.  NerdWallet rates NYC at 229.  Where did they get 229? That astronomical figure derives from Manhattan alone.  (FYI 100 represents the national average, so 229 is more than double!)

That said, how is the NYC median rental rate magically listed at $1,187?  If measuring using Manhattan’s CLI then it stands to reason the real median rent for Manhattan – $3200 – should be the basis for consistency alone.  NerdWallet needs to make up its mind on where its living, how much its paying for rent and where its working.

On the same token the unemployment statistics are also carving-out the best numbers from the highest value locations.

3. What qualifies as “Entertainment per 1000 people”?

Following the same line of thinking, smushing regions together as if they are one big and easy to access place doesn’t always work in real life.  Try living deep in Northern New Jersey and telling yourself the entertainment is the same as the Village.  While this statement might spark some sour grapes from our “Pretty Much New Yorker” friends in the Garden State in all fairness, NY and NJ are not one and the same and a night out in the Village will help make that abundantly clear no matter how clean the PATH trains or the  lure of Hoboken pub crawls.

Ted Mosby on “Pretty Much New Yorkers”:


Speaking of sour grapes there were bound to be some gripes in reading any ranking that puts New York behind DC and San Fran.  NerdWallet puts some great information forward.  With that in mind, the most important “entertainment” factor for twenty-somethings might be the singles scene.  Here’s NerdWallet’s Top Cities for Singles that gives high marks to Denver and Austin.  Funny how “20-something faves” Oakland and Stamford don’t make the cut.  Similarly,  Kiplinger’s ranked singles cities with NYC, Philly and LA leading a pack that includes some surprises such as Baltimore, MD and Bloomington, IL.  There are many choices but stats and numbers are easily manipulated to put Bloomington alongside the Big Apple.  Is that really a fair comparison?

Confused, yet?  Worry not.  For anyone in fashion… nay, for anyone sane… NYC will always remain in the top spot.  (Biased?  Yes!)


From the site’s post describing the opportunity in New York:

#3 New York City – Northern New Jersey – Long Island, NY/NJ Many recent graduates head to the New York Metropolitan area, which has one of the highest populations of 20-year-olds in the nation. Be sure to get out and socialize with the huge concentration of entertainment options, including the parks and trails of New York – yes, there is nature in the big city. Head to East Village for great entertainment options like restaurants, bars and comedy clubs. Or head to Brooklyn for (slightly) cheaper real-estate prices.


Author Description


London is a Senior Editor and Co-Founder of trendboardnyc. He counts among his life's greatest accomplishments hiking to Machu Picchu and being able to play "Sweet Child O' Mine" on that Hello Kitty guitar (which he will one day own).

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