#7: New York City
New York’s final score was actually the same as Houston’s, but it got the nod for the seventh spot thanks to its social life (ranked No. 1 by AOL) and its spot among happiest cities for young professionals (three higher than Houston).
The bright lights, fast pace and sheer reputation of the Big Apple are obvious reasons why many want to strike out on their own there.
But the downside of the city is also pretty clear: It’s darn expensive. While the starting salary is the second-highest out of our sample at a hefty $49,000, that’s just because the cost of living is 69% higher than the national average. A huge chunk of that paycheck will probably go towards rent.
Unemployment is high, too — despite the stacks of office buildings, 8.7% can’t find jobs. The young-aged population isn’t especially large, probably because the huge city attracts a huge variety of people, but the singles pool is at least above-average.
At the end of the day, though, moving to New York might not be about numbers, but the experience … and there’s no doubt that the city offers everything in terms of fun, change and opportunity.