The skyline of Washington, D.C., including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, US Capitol and National Mall, is seen from the air at sunset in this photograph taken on June 15, 2014.
Photograph by Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images
By Jonathan Chew
April 5, 2016

College graduates looking for financially greener pastures after school seem to be eyeing a bunch of cities to move to.

Specifically, there are nine cities that are attracting more out-of-state graduates into its fold in relation to in-state graduates, and two cities that rank above the rest: Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, NC., according to a study done by student loan lender Credible.

Credible looked at a sample of 4,448 student loan refinancing requests within its database, and specifically at young applicants who had been out of school for around 4.6 years. From the study, the lender set up a comparison of out-of-state grads versus in-state ones, and found nine cities where the numbers titled towards out-of-state applicants.

The nine cities where out-of-state graduates outnumbered in-state grads were: Washington, D.C. (2.20 out-of-state graduates for every in-state graduate), Charlotte (2.17), Denver (1.92 ), Portland (1.48), Seattle (1.35), San Francisco (1.22), Oakland (1.19), New York City (1.06), and Dallas (1.03).

An interesting observation is that some of the cities listed are also notoriously expensive to live in, yet it hasn’t stopped graduates from entering these major job centers looking for high-flying careers. For example, Credible found that the median rent-to-income ratio—the percentage of your income that is dedicated to paying rent—averaged 18.53% for the 20 major cities it analyzed. But for some of these cities, the ratio proved much higher than the rest.

Cities like Seattle, New York and San Francisco are still attracting talent despite lower levels of affordability, and seem to be hubs for a significant number of the roughly-300,00 people that move between cities in the U.S. over the past year, according to the Census Bureau. Credible puts this down to the better employment prospects at these cities that makes issues like cost an accompanying, but secondary concern.

“People are going to be attracted to a thriving job market, regardless of cost,” Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, told CNBC. “The most important thing on many of their minds is to get a job.”

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