News & Politics

Washington Is a Top-Ten City for Young Adults

Kiplinger compiles the best cities for those just out of college, and we make the list

Kendall Natter, Catherine Dobow, Lauren Allen, and Jessica Harris at the LivingSocial Best of Washington Party 2011. Photograph by Yassine El Mansouri

Kiplinger, a Washington-based business forecast news service, recently published a list of top-ten cities for young people, and our city is on it. The site didn’t identify cities that are cheap, but rather focused on cities that provide great value—“low cost of living and reasonable rents compared to paycheck size.”

But the Washington area definitely isn’t cheap—in fact, in 2008, Forbes ranked Washington on its top-ten list of most expensive rental cities. So how did lovely Washington make it onto Kiplinger’s list? It seems that in a struggling economy, government and government-contractor jobs tend to offer higher-than-average starting salaries.

Starting salary—garnered from—was one of the main factors Kiplinger looked at, and the list says that “young college grads in DC can expect to make 17 percent more than their peers elsewhere.” That may be the good news, but the bad news is that rents average over $1,200 a month (the national average is $817), and Washington has a cost-of-living score that’s 44 points above the national average.

Still, Kiplinger says the area’s population is made up of about 14 percent young people, potentially something that might draw in other young people. The city’s major downside, according to Kiplinger? “Nonstop politics.” That might not actually be a bad thing for some of this city’s cable news addicts.