It may be true that everything is bigger in Texas--even Gen Z's job prospects. 

Deciding where to move after college is one of the most important decisions a twenty-something can make. But that doesn't mean getting a job you want in a place where you want to live--and can afford--will be easy. (Hint: The Big Apple is not as economically viable as it is enticing.) 

Personal finance network WalletHub recently released its annual study of the Best & Worst Places to Start a Career, evaluating the 150 largest U.S. cities across 19 key metrics, including: workforce diversity, median annual income, and number of leisure establishments. As you might have guessed, California--with its stereotypically laid back culture--led in the latter category, with Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana and Irvine tying for first in leisure establishments.

Even so, when it comes to affordability of housing and salaries, Texas won biggest: Plano and Corpus Christi had the cheapest housing markets, respectively, with Houston and Arlington leading for pay (adjusted for cost of living.)

WalletHub spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez attributes Texas' strong rankings to the fact that it boasts a high number of entry-level jobs that span multiple different industries. She adds that those Texas-based cities in the top 10 had the second-highest workforce diversity numbers, and that Texas' overall population growth is staggering: It could double by as soon as 2050, according to recent data. Austin in particular is seeing more "entrepreneurial opportunity" than most cities, which helped to bump it up to No. 3 on the list. 

To be sure, the overall employment situation has improved for the youngest workers. Not only did the unemployment rate drop to 5.4 percent last week, employers are reportedly more willing to hire this year than they were a year ago. The National Association of Colleges and Employers projects that the job outlook for the class of 2015 is up by nearly 10 percent.

"This is the second year we've done [this study,] and there are a lot of similarities. For the most part, when people think of starting careers, you might think New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. Realistically, those are some of the most expensive places to live, and they have a very low number of entry level jobs available," Gonzalez added. 

The map below represents the areas of the U.S. where new hires are most likely to start a successful career. Areas in blue, depict the places where grads have the highest chances for landing a job; the cities noted by the orange circles represent the areas where Americans are least likely to find work. 

Source: WalletHub


Here's the complete breakdown of the top 10 cities to start a career: 

1. Irving, TX

2. Grand Prairie, TX

3. Austin, TX

4. Denver, CO

5. Houston, TX

6. Corpus Christi, TX

7. Fremont, CA

8. Fort Worth, TX

9. Sioux Falls, SD

10. Tulsa, OK


Published on: May 11, 2015