Livability Final Poster Horizontal

The Livability Index: The 35 Best U.S. Cities For People 35 and Under

Our semi-exhaustive, mostly scientific guide to America’s most livable cities

If you’re 24, buried in college loans and looking for a job in a city that’s affordable but not completely depressing, you’re probably wondering where to start (while spoon-feeding yourself ice cream in your high-school bedroom). On the other hand, if you’re in your early 30s and New York or Los Angeles is grinding you down into a quivering husk of financial and emotional instability, it might be time to get out. Either way, with new data showing that 36 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 31 are currently living at home with mom and dad (the highest number in 40 years, according to Pew Research Center), we thought it was high time to crunch the numbers and figure out where the hell you can actually live these days and still retain some self-respect. We started with the 50 most populous cities in the country, according to the 2010 census, and pared down results from there using Open Internet sources. Our Livability Index takes into account essential indicators for those between 18 and 35, like average salary, employment rates, and the cost of rent and utilities measured against everyday factors like bike lanes for commuting, low-cost broadband and the availability of good, cheap takeout. We also considered all-important lifestyle metrics like the price of a pint of beer and an ounce of high-quality weed, and the level of access to live music and coffee shops.

The following 35 cities represent your best chance of not dying jobless and alone in your parent’s basement. You can slice and dice the data by city or across categories, depending what you care about most. In the end, some bigger cities like Los Angeles and Chicago didn’t make the top 35 (though they may have ranked in individual categories).  Grab your patchouli; it’s time to move to Portland!

35 Cities For People Under 35

Select a
or

Categories Ranked in the Top 5Top 35 Cities


The Breakdown

Data collected from the third and fourth quarter of 2013.

Respond Now
RACE

A Visit to Eric Garner's Grave: Unmarked, Untended & Totally Neglected

Mike Spies
DRUGS

Government's War on Online Drugs Targets Wrong Sites, Helps Dealers

Eric Markowitz
US POLITICS

A Journey Through the 6 Most Bizarre Political Moments of 2014

Mike Spies
EGYPT

My 10 Hours of Beatings, Interrogations and Fear in a Cairo Jail

Conor Sheils
FUN

Q&A With the Mom Who Called C-SPAN to Tell Sons to Stop Arguing on TV

Luke Malone
RUSSIA

With the Ruble Tanking, Russia Reinvents the Soviet Breadline

Vladi Vovchuk
HACKING

This Guy Just Ensured That the Hacked Sony Files Will Live On Forever

Eric Markowitz
RUSSIA

Russian Inflation Is So Bad, Some Businesses Abandoning Rubles

Sarah Kaufman
Join the Fray
I Was Tailed by a Private Investigator