Denver 13th for college grads

Share releases report of 100 top cities for recent college grads.

Denver ranked No. 13 by

Experts surprised Denver wasn’t ranked higher by

Economist Patty Silverstein included this slide in a preservation she gave last year. She is surprised didn’t rank Denver higher for recent college grads.

The release says the Denver metro area “ranks high” for recent college graduates seeking to launch a career.

And, no, wasn’t making a tired, play on words by using the word “high” as a reference to the Denver’s booming marijuana business.

Yet, being ranked No. 13 out of 100 cities (Boulder was No. 16), doesn’t strike two economic development experts as being a particularly high ranking.

“I’m kind of surprised Denver didn’t do better,” said Patty Silverstein, chief economist for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. and the Denver Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re usually at the top of the mix for these kind of rankings,” said Silverstein, who also is the principal of Development Research Partners.

Indeed, last year she released a report that showed that Millennials, an age group that includes recent college grads, was the single biggest demographic group in the Denver-area.

Not that being in the Top 15 is terrible.

“It still reveals that the Denver Metro area and Boulder are very attractive to recent college graduates and individual seeking employment,” she said.

She noted that the Denver area’s employment growth had been revised upward to 3.7 percent and it’s possible that hadn’t taken that into consideration. ranked cities by a number of thinks that a younger person should consider when starting a career.

They include:

  • Job prospects (Denver was No. 11, and Boulder 13);
  • Pay potential (Denver 14, Boulder 7);
  • Career advancement (Denver 17, Boulder 38)
  • Quality of life (Denver 12, Boulder 13).

Quality of life factors in housing and apartment affordability.

New York City was No. 1 in the analysis. Los Angeles and San Francisco were next.

Other cities on the top 10 were Washington, D.C., San Jose, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas and Philadelphia.

“When you first told me about it, my first assumption we didn’t score higher because of our high housing costs,” said Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. and executive vice president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

“But when you told me New York and Los Angeles were No. 1 and No. 2, were housing costs are far higher than in Denver, clearly what it really comes down to size,” Clark said.

Seattle, San Jose and Boston also have higher housing costs than in Denver.

“It is true there are more job opportunities in the bigger cities,” Clark said.

“That’s just a fact of life,” Clark said.

“In fact, when people ask me the one thing I would really love to have in Denver, they are surprised when I tell them I would love to have the 28 million people in the Los Angles area, except for all the traffic and congestion,” Clark said.

The bottom five cities for recent college graduates were all small markets.

Fayetteville, North Carolina, ranked last because it ranked at the bottom for career advancement, job prospects and pay potential, despite providing a sound quality of life, according to

The other cities at the bottom of the list were Mobile, Alabama; Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas; Jackson, Mississippi; and Montgomery, Alabama.

“Not everyone is looking to climb to the top of the corporate ladder, so cities that ranked low on our list may be very desirable to some, said Claes Bell, an analyst for

“It’s important for young folks to determine what factors are important to their future and use research such as this to determine what area best suits their needs,” Bell said.

 Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at is sponsored by 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.

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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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