If you're a member of the millennial generation, you've probably heard multiple cautions about life after college, and today we've got another one. Your demographic group has had to deal with a number of unique circumstances not experienced by other generations before them, particularly their parents'.
My inspiration to write about this comes from a report I received, which touts The Worst States for Millennials to settle in after college, an analysis put together by Kathy Morris of Zippia.com. Here's how she sees it:
It is no surprise millennials are struggling financially. As a group, 22-37 year olds earn less and have less assets than their parents did a generation ago. However, just like the job market and cost of living, where you live matters. We analyzed all 50 states and the District of Columbia to uncover where it is hardest for millennials to thrive.
Below we detail the criteria we used to rank the states and have the full ranked list. But first, let's see the 10 states where millennials have it the roughest.
Check this interesting, related graphic:
The Top 10 list of worst states shows that seven of the top 10 are neighbors:
1. District of Columbia
3. New York
5. North Carolina
7. South Carolina
Clearly, the South dominates this list with seven of the top 10 being southern states. The other three are notorious for their high cost of living.
There are so many of these "reports" emerging across the internet these days that many times our eyes gloss over because of what seems to be contrived sensationalism. So the first thing I do when I encounter cautionary analyses like this one is to examine the methodology. In other words, what data related to what criteria did they use to put the information together? In the case of this report, this is how they did it:
Each state and Washington, D.C. were ranked 1 to 51 in four categories:
- Millennial Unemployment Rate
- Average Student Loan Debt
- Millennial Home Ownership
- Percent Of Millennials Living In Poverty
All four categories were then averaged together, each weighted equally. The lower score in each category, the lower the rank. For example, DC's $60,039 was the highest average student loan debt, earning it a rank of #1 for student loan debt.
We used the most recent American Community Survey 2013-2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau to get unemployment rate by state for those 25-34. The ACS data also provided the poverty rate by state for the 25-34 age demographic. To analyze millennial home ownership, we once again used the ACS data to find the percentage of homeowners in the millennial age range by state.
To gather average student loan debt by millennial borrower, we used the most recent report from the US Department Of Education. This one was pretty simple. We simply took the total number of money borrowed by those 25 to 34 and divided by the number of total borrowers.
If your state isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the page to see where it lands on the full list. Otherwise, learn more about why these states are the worst place to be a millennial.
Here are the details from three of the Top 10:
1. Washington, D.C.
- Unemployment: 6%
- Home Ownership: 18.38%
- Poverty Rate: 25%
- Student Loan Debt: $60,039
It is no surprise to see the notoriously expensive District Of Columbia top the list of worst places to be a millennials. 1-in-4 DC millennials live in poverty and have the highest student loan debt in the nation. In addition to having the highest student loan debt in the, DC millennials are also the least likely to own a house.
With a staggering $567,900 median home price, millennials would have to sacrifice 63,100 servings of avocado toast to become homeowners in the capital city.
- Unemployment: 7%
- Home Ownership: 23%
- Poverty Rate: 17%
- Student Loan Debt: $34,449
California may be the golden state, but for millennials living there may not look so shiny. High home costs mean home ownership is out of reach for many millennials. When paired with high unemployment and an unpleasantly high poverty rate, it earns California its spot at #6.
- Unemployment: 10%
- Home Ownership: 37%
- Poverty Rate: 27%
- Student Loan Debt: $33,261
Mississippi often comes in dead last in education and quality of life metrics, so it is no surprise to see millennials have it rough in Mississippi. While millennials in Mississippi are more likely to own a home than other states, they are also more likely to be unemployed and live in poverty.
Check the Zippia report for all remaining details. If you're going to graduate this coming spring and are still searching for candidate places to find a job, this information can provide some preliminary screening for you, thus saving you time and effort.
Keep in mind that you may be able to find the ideal place to live in any of these states, regardless of their ranking on Zippia's list. However, data points tend to give us a good idea of prevalent trends, and odds are that you may come to agree with the statistics above. Regardless, best wishes for finding your best place to live and work after graduation.