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The 10 Best Cities For College Grads In 2015

05/12/2015 04:12 pm ET | Updated May 29, 2015

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New grads know that choosing where to move after college depends on job potential first, followed by a slew of other factors.

A new index from the the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) ranks U.S. metro areas on their desirability for recent college grads, taking into account both job opportunities and "amenities" like restaurants, well-priced apartments and the ease of biking to work.

The report measured 75 metro areas on factors including employment rates, racial diversity and the average salary for residents aged 22-35 with a bachelor's degree or higher. The lineup may be somewhat surprising, with college towns like Iowa City, Iowa; Ithaca, New York; and Ann Arbor, Michigan at the top. College campuses make these cities ethnically diverse, AIER's director of research and education Rosalind Greenstein told The Huffington Post. They also make cities hotspots for big-name corporations.

"A growing technology corridor has improved economic opportunity in Iowa City, and low rents, more restaurants and bars, as well as a diverse population, also attract young people," Greenstein said about the list's top-rated location for college grads.

Standard "big cities" like Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco also hit the top of the list, with high salaries, numerous start-up companies and full slates of restaurants and attractions that make them great options for recent grads. Whether sprawling metros or smaller towns, the list is full of cities ripe for exploration. Here are the top employment destinations for college grads in 2015 according to the American Institute for Economic Research:

10. Bloomington, Indiana
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9. Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
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8. Boston
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7. Lawrence, Kansas
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6. New York City
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5. San Francisco
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4. Washington, D.C.
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3. Ann Arbor, Michigan
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2. Ithaca, New York
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1. Iowa City, Iowa
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  • 10. Minneapolis, Minnesota
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    ZipRecruiter score: 0.76
    Unemployment rate: 3.00

    Which industries are hiring: Professional services, health care, tech and food manufacturing are all local industries expected to hire in 2015.
  • 9. Boulder, Colorado
    Scott Leigh via Getty Images
    ZipRecruiter score: 0.75
    Unemployment rate: 3.20

    Which industries are hiring: Small and medium-sized businesses in the sectors of education, government, tech and manufacturing will be the key drivers of employment in Boulder.
  • 8. Fort Collins, Colorado
    Marek Uliasz via Getty Images
    ZipRecruiter score: 0.69
    Unemployment rate: 3.20

    Which industries are hiring: Job seekers in the fields of education, tech and manufacturing will have the best luck finding a job in Fort Collins, Northern Colorado's economic hub, according to ZipRecruiter.
  • 7. Omaha, Nebraska
    Jupiterimages via Getty Images
    ZipRecruiter score: 0.66
    Unemployment rate: 3.0

    Which industries are hiring: Home to Warren Buffett, the financial services industry, as well as the health care and tech industries will provide job growth in Omaha, according to ZipRecruiter.
  • 6. Provo, Utah
    Denis Jr. Tangney
    ZipRecruiter score: 0.61
    Unemployment rate: 3.0

    Which industries are hiring: Home to Brigham Young University, the fields of education, tech and health care are all experiencing healthy growth, according to ZipRecruiter.
  • 5. Odessa, Texas
    ZipRecruiter score: 0.49
    Unemployment rate: 2.8

    Which industries are hiring: Led by a thriving oil industry, energy services and construction lead job creation in Odessa, according to ZipRecruiter.
  • 4. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
    inkknife_2000 (2.5 million + views)/Flickr
    ZipRecruiter score: 0.39
    Unemployment rate: 2.7

    Which industries are hiring: Sioux Falls boasts a diversified and fast-growing economy, providing job growth in the fields of mail-order pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturing and information assurance, according to ZipRecruiter.
  • 3. Rochester, Minnesota
    Andy445 via Getty Images
    ZipRecruiter score: 0.32
    Unemployment rate: 2.6

    Which industries are hiring: Rochester, home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, is a major center of health care hiring. A new project by the clinic is also expected to bring thousands of construction jobs, according to ZipRecruiter.
  • 2. Fargo, North Dakota
    Davoud Davies via Getty Images
    ZipRecruiter score: 0.11
    Unemployment rate: 2.2

    Which industries are hiring: Thanks to booming population growth over the last decade, education and health care are the main drivers of job growth in Fargo.
  • 1. Lincoln, Nebraska
    Jupiterimages via Getty Images
    ZipRecruiter score: 0.07
    Unemployment rate: 2.1

    Which industries are hiring: Lincoln is first in the nation in job growth for construction, financial services, state government, manufacturing and health care, according to a study by the University of Nebraska.
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