Houston, Texas skyline at dusk
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A new study compares where you’re most likely to move forward—and get paid handsomely for it.

By Mack Gelber and Monster
May 30, 2017

This article originally appeared on Monster.com

Choosing where to start your career is almost as tricky as choosing what you want your career to actually be. While every U.S. city has something to offer, not all are equally equipped when it comes to setting you up for maximum career success. And now, thanks to a new analysis from financial services company Bankrate, you can see which cities are the best (and worst) places to launch your career.

The analysis ranked each city on a scale of 0 to 100 for job prospects, pay potential, social opportunities, chances for career advancement, and quality of life (think cost of living, tax rates, and local amenities like bars and restaurants).

With each variable equally weighted, Houston ranked as the best city in the U.S. for starting your career due to high scores earned for career potential, job prospects and affordability for new grads. The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul came in second, with Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, and Dallas completing the top five metro areas.

Here are Bankrate’s top 10 cities for launching your career:

  1. Houston, Texas
  2. MinneapolisSt. Paul, Minnesota
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  5. Dallas, Texas
  6. Columbus, Ohio
  7. San Jose, California
  8. New York, New York
  9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  10. San Francisco, California

Meanwhile, low pay potential and job prospects caused San Bernardino, California, to be named the most challenging city for launching a career, followed by Miami, Florida; Sacramento, California; Memphis, Tennessee; and Tampa, Florida.

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Of course, simply being able to find a job isn’t the same thing as finding a job you truly love. Monster’s most recent jobs report explored just that, identifying which states are full of workers that love what they do for a living. Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and Utah led the pack, while Maryland, Louisiana, and New Jersey were named as places where you might be more likely to hate going to work every day.

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