By G. Scott Thomas, American City Business Journals

BOSTON (CBS) -The Southwest has become the new frontier for young Americans — the region that offers the widest range of opportunities for men and women getting started in their careers.

Four metropolitan areas in the Southwest, led by No. 1 Austin and No. 2 Houston, are among America’s seven best places for young adults, according to new rankings by On Numbers.

Boston ranks No. 6 and is only one place behind Washington, D.C., for its share of college-educated young adults, which stands at 38.7 percent.

Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City are the other high-rated Southwestern entries, ranking fifth and seventh, respectively.

On Numbers analyzed 65 metros with populations above 800,000, searching for qualities that would appeal to workers in their 20s and early 30s.

The study’s 10-part formula gave superior marks to places with strong growth rates, moderate costs of living, and substantial pools of young adults who are college-educated and employed.

The least desirable markets for young adults, according to the On Numbers study, are Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., No. 65; and Detroit, No. 64.

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal reports

Both areas have lost more than 2.5 percent of their jobs since 2006, and both are saddled with exceptionally high unemployment rates for workers between the ages of 16 and 34.

The 10 factors in the study’s formula were 10-year population growth, five- and one-year employment growth, per capita income, five-year income growth, share of total population in the 18-34 age range, unemployment rate for the 16-34 age group, share of householders in the 18-44 age range who earn more than $150,000 a year, share of 18- to 34-year-olds with college degrees, and median rent.


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