Affordable rent for ‘starter jobs’ makes St. Louis best US city to launch career, report says

St. Louis is the best city in the U.S. to start a career, according to a new LinkedIn report that ranked large cities based on the affordability of housing given median rents and median salaries for “starter jobs.”

With median monthly rent of $992 and a median starting salary of $60,400, according to LinkedIn, rent consumes about 19.7% of gross income for recent graduates in St. Louis. That was the lowest rate of all the cites in the study.

Kansas City ranked sixth on the list. It had median monthly rent of $1,113 and a median starting salary of $61,000, according to the report, meaning 21.9% of recent graduates’ gross income is consumed by rent.

The Midwest accounted for the top nine cities on the list. After St. Louis, the top five featured Milwaukee, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

The report’s top 15 did not include coastal hubs like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, where media rent eats up more than 35% of median gross income.

Lori Sparger, chief operating officer of Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts, said that many recent graduates and entry-level candidates are moving near home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“A lot of students and graduates are deciding that they want to work somewhere that’s closer to their families,” Sparger said in the report. “They don’t want to be as far away.”

The report used LinkedIn job and salary data, and rental data from Zillow. The list was limited to larger cities, with a city needing 15,000 “starter” hires between 2017 and 2019 to qualify for consideration.


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