Chicago: Not So Hip for College Grads

Chicago ties with Boston for 10th best town for youth

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The Wall Street Journal compiled a list of "meccas" for college graduates, and Chicago barely made the top ten.

    Recent college grads have it rough, trying to find a job and a home in a recovering economy. The Wall Street Journal compiled a list of "meccas for the young," and Chicago barely made the top ten.

    Six "experts"—including demographers, economists, and geographers—picked the 10 places where the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed graduates will likely move in the hopes of starting their careers and families.

    Topping the list were Washington, D.C. and Seattle which tied for first place.

    "Right now Washington [D.C.] is a magnet. It has become the new New York," said Steven Cochrane, managing director of Moody's Economy.com.

    The panelists agreed that the 2008 election sparked a political passion in many 20-somethings, and many grads have moved and will move to the nation's capital to follow that enthusiasm.

    And kids aren't moving to Seattle just for the Starbucks ... though that is a big draw.

    Seattle is "a high-tech and lifestyle mecca," said Dr. Richard Florida, author of Who's Your City?. With tens of thousands of jobs available in technology, music, and interactive media, the unemployment rate is a relatively low 7.7%.

    As for Chicago, we came in 10th on the list, sharing the spot with Boston. According to the WSJ:

    An affordable big city with a rich cultural and night life (sic), Chicago will continue to appeal to the young. Chicago is the undisputed regional capital of the Midwest with a large, diverse economy. ... "Beyond drawing driven young people by the droves, Chicago has great amenities, great nightlife, a spectacular waterfront, great restaurants and it's affordable," says one panelist. And its housing prices are well below comparable metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Washington and New York.

    So what gives? Why such a low spot on the list?

    Well, Chicago doesn't have as big of a reputation as New York (3rd place on the list), doesn't have the hip vibe of Portland, Ore. (4th), and isn't as laid-back or alternative as Austin, Texas (5th).

    And then there's that pesky 11.5% unemployment rate.

    Still, we're not putting too much stock into this list. After all, the panel only consisted of six people and—let's face it—it's the Wall Street Journal. It's not exactly the go-to guide for all that is hip and cool with the young'ns.

    Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, has great amenities.