Forget Miami, Las Vegas, New Orleans and all the other traditional young-adult party meccas. Young people who truly want to live large may be better off in Houston.
That’s because Houston boasts the highest starting salaries in America, according to a new study that analyzed and ranked the 150 most populous cities in the country. Would you rather be broke and trying to party in South Beach, or earning well and working hard in Houston?
Personal finance site WalletHub is betting on the latter, ranking the Bayou City (and three other Texas cities) in the Top 5 of its Best Cities for People In Their Twenties to Live. Houston’s $3,671 monthly median starting salary jumps out as the highest starting salary of the 150 cities studied.
In fact, the only other city that comes within even $300 of Houston’s median starting salary is Arlington, and chances are you’ll find much more fun in Houston than Arlington (as shown by the No. 5 to No. 11 cities ranking edge the Bayou City holds over the home of the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Cowboys in the study).
But money’s not everything (at least in the eyes of the study analysts). No. 4 Denver, No. 3 Austin, No. 2 Grand Prairie and No. 1 Irving finish above Houston as the best cities for young people, despite trailing by a not insignificant margin in starting salaries.
Austin is lauded for “tons of single people to hang out with” and ranked No. 1 in quality of life. Irving, the top overall city, is praised for its abundance of entry-level professional jobs and workforce diversity. Grand Prairie — a booming corner of the Dallas-Fort Worth MetroPlex — earns major points for its combination of affordable housing and high median starting salary ($3,190 per month).
Still, no city beats Houston (which is held back by a quality-of-life score — 71st out of the 150 cities — that seems unduly low) in terms of pure starting salaries. It’s enough to make one reconsider what a twentysomething’s paradise truly is.