Best Places for Millennial Job Seekers in New York

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Best Cities for Millennial Job Seekers in New York

New York has long been seen as an ideal destination for young workers — but now it’s not only the state’s big cities that are luring people. New York is a big state, and a diverse one, and as any resident will tell you, it’s so much more than the city with the same name.

The state’s 16 main industries are clustered into 10 labor market regions, according to the New York State Department of Labor. The industries range from financial services, information technology, communications, fashion and media to transportation, electronics, manufacturing and tourism.

Location matters

Millennials will find affordable rental costs in small towns or midsize cities upstate and in Western New York, but they won’t get big-city salaries. Lower New York millennials who are looking for convenient commutes and an urban lifestyle have the possibility of finding a higher salary, but they’ll also face expensive housing to match.

Among the cities NerdWallet analyzed in New York, the median population of millennials was about 19%. Surprisingly, the statewide population growth of millennials from 2010 to 2013 was a low median of 3.8%. In the cities we studied, millennial population growth ranged from below zero to a whopping 37%.

NerdWallet’s analysis

  1. Are there jobs in the area? We looked at the unemployment rate in 2013 and the average worker payroll salary in 2012, using the most recent U.S. Census Bureau figures. We determined the average worker’s salary with the census bureau’s payroll by ZIP code. Lower unemployment rates and higher payroll salaries scored positively.
  2. Can you afford to rent near work? Using census data, we measured a city’s median rent, including utilities, to determine if an area has reasonable rent costs. Lower costs resulted in a positive score.
  3. Do other millennials live there? We determined that millennials are workers ages 18-33, which is the definition used in a March 2014 Pew Research Center report. We used two of the census bureau’s brackets, ages 20-24 and 25-34, to create a millennial group for our analysis. From this, we found the percentage of millennials in a city’s 2013 population and the growth of millennial residents from 2010 to 2013. High percentages received positive scores.
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Key takeaways

Millennials keep options open.  Millennials don’t only want to live in large urban centers like New York City. The cities on our list range from 11,000 to 8.2 million residents, and they are all over the state — from Central New York and the Finger Lakes region to Western New York near Buffalo and suburbs of New York City in both the Lower Hudson Valley and Long Island.

Millennials want to be close to colleges and cities. The places on our list are in a college town or near a major metropolitan area. In the suburbs, transportation in and out of a city is key: Nearly all suburban places had a train stop.

Best places for millennial job seekers in New York

Check out this interactive map of our top 10 cities for millennial job seekers in New York. Click on a marker to see each city’s overall score.

 

1. Pearl River

With its location 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan, in Rockland County, Pearl River straddles the border of Bergen County, New Jersey. The area is bursting with potential for millennials, whose population grew 30% from 2010 to 2013. It’s a good location for commuters with a stop on the New Jersey Transit Pascack Valley Line and access to the Tappan Zee Bridge, the New York State Thruway and the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Pearl River also serves as the headquarters of the Rockland Business Association as well as for major employers like Pfizer and Orange & Rockland Utilities.

2. New York City

The Big Apple has long been a magnet for young workers. A quarter of the city’s over 8.2 million residents are in the millennial age group. While the city is known for tiny apartments with sky-high costs, the median rent at $1,200 is the third highest on this list, while the median salary is the highest at $101,180. But the unemployment rate is the highest of the top 10 at 10.6%. For all of its challenges, New York City is known for its fast pace and creative environment with thriving industries from mass media and arts to technology, finance, insurance and health care.

3. Geneva

The small Ontario County city is at the north end of one of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. Geneva saw the highest growth in its millennial population on our list at over 37% from 2010 to 2013, fueled in part by students at Hobart and William Smith colleges. Millennials are about 30% of Geneva’s 13,247 residents. While salaries are on the lower end of our list, housing costs are also among the lowest at $677 a month. The downtown features theater, arts, shopping, dining and other businesses. Major employers include Finger Lakes wineries, glass producer Guardian Glass and Zotos International, which produces sustainable beauty products powered by the city’s first wind turbines.

4. Ithaca

The millennial population in this major college town in Central New York is massive at over half of its 30,225 residents. But surprisingly, Ithaca is the only city on our list with negative growth in the millennial population from 2010 to 2013. The median payroll is over $37,000, while rent is $969 a month. Ithaca attracts tourists to its waterfalls, gorges and other scenic areas. The city also is home to more restaurants per capita than New York City, and it comes with art, festivals, professional theaters, parks, museums and a diverse music scene. With the campuses of Cornell University and Ithaca College located here, the economy is mostly based on education. Other industries include manufacturing, agriculture, technology and tourism.

5. Bethpage

This Nassau County hamlet is one of two Long Island towns to make our list. The millennial population here grew over 15% from 2010 to 2013. The 2012 payroll per employee is on the higher end at $84,952, but rent is the second-most expensive on our list at $1,636. Bethpage is 35 miles to Midtown Manhattan and has a stop on the Long Island Railroad. It’s the home of two grocery chains as well as a U.S. Postal Service sorting facility that serves the New York region. Bethpage State Park is known for its public golf courses and has twice hosted the U.S. Open Golf Championships.

6. Rye

This small city in Westchester County is 25 miles northeast of New York City. Rye is a quintessential commuter town off Interstate 95, with a stop on the Metro-North New Haven train line. While millennials are just 8.3% of the city’s population of 15,805, Rye saw an increase of about 23% in this age group from 2010 to 2013. It’s a great place for older millennials who have more career experience and bigger salaries to match the rent, which was the highest on the list at over $1,800 a month. Major employers in Rye include the Fortune 500 company Jarden, Bronx-Westchester Retail Energy Services, Consolidated Edison and the food service company Compass Group. The city is home to a quaint downtown, several country clubs, a beach on the Long Island Sound, the historic amusement park Rye Playland and Rye Town Park, which hosts movies, summer concerts and more.

7. Cortland

Millennials in Cortland, a college town in Central New York, make up over 31% of the population of 19,187. The city’s millennial population grew over 13% from 2010 to 2013. The average salary is on the lower end of our list, but rent is also among the lowest at $646 a month. Some of Cortland’s main employers include SUNY Cortland, Cortland Regional Medical Center, the water filtration company Pall Corp., as well as the hotel amenities supplier Marietta Corp. The city has its own airport and is near Binghamton and Syracuse.

8. Greenlawn

The second Long Island town on the list, Greenlawn, in Suffolk County, is about 45 miles outside Manhattan and has a stop on the Long Island Railroad. The town of 14,188 residents has seen its millennial population grow 22% since 2010. The median salary in Greenlawn is about $56,759, and the median cost to rent is just under $1,000 a month. Greenlawn is a hamlet of Huntington, where top employers include Huntington Hospital, Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Newsday and Estee Lauder.

9. Depew

This suburb is 10 miles east of Buffalo in Erie County. The village saw the number of millennial residents grow about 24%. Here, the cost of living is low, while salaries are average. Depew is a transportation hub that includes N.Y. Route 78 that runs north and south as well as U.S. Route 20, which runs east and west. Residents can find employment in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area. Some of the biggest employers in Buffalo include health care providers, banks, the University at Buffalo and General Motors Powertrain.

10. Fredonia

This college town in Chautauqua County is home to 11,077 people, and nearly 30% are in the millennial age group. Fredonia has the lowest salaries on our list at $24,252, but rent is also lowest at $633 a month. Located on the edge of Western New York, Fredonia is close to Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Toronto. Its location in Lake Erie wine country, year-round outdoor activities and charming downtown make it a popular destination in Western New York. SUNY Fredonia is a major employer.

Best places for millennial job seekers in New York

Rank City 2013 population Percentage of millennial population Millennial population growth 2010-2013 Unemployment rate 2012 payroll per employee Median rent
in 2013
Overall score
1 Pearl River 15,840 15.40% 30.20% 4% $88,285 $1,343 66.46
2 New York 8,268,999 25.00% 4.27% 10.6% $101,180 $1,200 59.03
3 Geneva 13,247 29.46% 37.14% 7.4% $31,616 $677 57.11
4 Ithaca 30,225 50.16% -3.97% 6.5% $37,373 $969 53.92
5 Bethpage 16,624 15.75% 15.38% 7.7% $84,952 $1,636 51.65
6 Rye 15,805 8.31% 23.29% 8.3% $97,376 $1,819 51.63
7 Cortland 19,187 31.04% 13.36% 8.3% $30,640 $646 50.73
8 Greenlawn 14,188 15.07% 21.89% 8.8% $56,759 $990 50.56
9 Depew 15,283 22.05% 24.08% 7.9% $31,545 $723 50.08
10 Fredonia 11,077 29.60% 12.68% 7.5% $24,252 $633 49.43
11 Tonawanda 58,186 19.56% -1.14% 5.9% $40,582 $754 49.41
12 Tarrytown 11,342 17.70% -27.64% 9% $109,204 $1,583 49.21
13 Jericho 13,386 11.79% 15.60% 5.1% $74,765 $1,794 49.02
14 Canandaigua 10,537 20.27% 13.74% 7.8% $37,056 $754 48.70
15 Mount Kisco 10,936 22.90% 20.15% 9.3% $63,406 $1,398 48.46
16 Cohoes 16,180 19.85% 7.46% 8.8% $47,051 $795 48.26
17 Dunkirk 12,458 22.48% 2.23% 7.6% $33,693 $614 47.94
18 Rome 33,375 20.14% -3.79% 6.4% $36,450 $681 47.77
19 Albany 98,142 31.30% 5.26% 10.1% $44,072 $847 47.67
20 Saratoga Springs 26,858 23.01% 17.85% 7.7% $35,586 $953 47.42
21 Batavia 15,406 21.32% 17.70% 8.9% $33,046 $707 47.41
22 West Islip 27,752 14.98% 15.34% 6.8% $53,214 $1,282 47.03
23 White Plains 57,153 21.89% 6.02% 6.6% $58,690 $1,460 46.90
24 Plattsburgh 19,907 32.17% 2.20% 9.1% $32,848 $725 46.82
25 Watervliet 10,249 28.16% 1.19% 8.7% $40,415 $846 46.79
26 Oswego 18,148 26.36% 13.34% 10.8% $38,214 $703 46.73
27 Oneida 11,333 18.72% 1.34% 6.7% $32,230 $684 46.49
28 Oneonta 13,922 37.39% 1.36% 8.5% $28,914 $850 46.28
29 Uniondale 24,405 24.58% -2.22% 8.8% $62,332 $1,262 46.24
30 Glens Falls 14,652 22.64% -0.60% 8.8% $43,105 $779 46.21
31 Ogdensburg 11,097 23.11% 3.97% 10.6% $39,988 $585 46.08
32 Westbury 15,132 21.52% 10.71% 5% $45,109 $1,457 45.94
33 Johnson City 15,063 22.50% -2.70% 8.8% $38,506 $671 45.63
34 Glen Cove 27,047 21.43% 20.10% 5.1% $44,338 $1,604 45.58
35 Harrison 27,636 17.49% 3.18% 7.4% $79,371 $1,817 45.44
36 Auburn 27,571 22.37% 10.48% 10.5% $35,329 $639 45.15
37 Olean 14,316 18.42% -3.37% 9.5% $43,552 $643 45.05
38 Binghamton 46,975 26.57% 8.46% 11.4% $36,515 $640 44.97
39 North Tonawanda 31,373 19.93% 4.04% 8.7% $32,260 $646 44.71
40 Corning 11,128 21.51% -5.71% 7.9% $34,762 $689 44.58
41 Mineola 18,822 18.22% -5.87% 6.2% $61,130 $1,465 44.34
42 Kings Park 17,657 16.28% 29.56% 7.2% $38,037 $1,330 44.22
43 Holtsville 20,092 16.63% 0.72% 5.5% $59,431 $1,600 44.02
44 Fort Drum 13,745 46.40% 16.26% 11.7% $39,082 $1,355 43.72
45 Lockport 21,042 20.14% 6.00% 9.5% $31,460 $649 43.57
46 Endicott 13,291 24.85% 1.29% 11.4% $38,081 $643 43.23
47 Great Neck 10,028 16.66% 26.50% 10.4% $57,234 $1,455 43.06
48 Syracuse 144,742 26.98% 2.70% 12.4% $41,686 $708 42.90
49 Troy 50,019 29.05% 7.58% 12% $39,117 $823 42.90
50 Ridge 12,882 14.42% 1.42% 6.2% $45,469 $1,228 42.74
51 Port Chester 29,107 24.88% 1.16% 8.6% $55,269 $1,428 42.70
52 Lancaster 10,325 21.59% -8.68% 10.2% $40,720 $655 42.57
53 Brentwood 57,361 25.05% 10.02% 9.9% $43,497 $1,160 42.38
54 Plainview 26,093 11.87% 4.10% 5.6% $51,374 $1,462 42.23
55 Manorville 14,096 14.54% 21.82% 5.2% $33,694 $1,438 42.19
56 Haverstraw 11,952 27.49% 20.19% 9% $31,784 $1,228 42.10
57 Bay Shore 28,365 22.71% 32.72% 10.4% $39,354 $1,337 42.09
58 Niagara Falls 49,920 21.27% 6.95% 11.3% $33,152 $627 42.04
59 Suffern 10,803 17.74% -9.11% 8.1% $62,268 $1,388 41.72
60 Beacon 14,724 22.36% 25.98% 11.3% $32,100 $984 41.41
61 Hauppauge 21,324 14.18% 0.07% 5.2% $59,504 $1,755 41.38
62 Elmira 29,176 23.35% -1.66% 11.4% $34,595 $610 41.31
63 Watertown 27,453 29.28% 12.56% 12.8% $32,873 $780 41.26
64 Fulton 11,854 20.86% 15.56% 11.9% $30,056 $675 41.15
65 Stony Point 12,516 16.29% 30.12% 8.3% $32,245 $1,299 40.96
66 Ronkonkoma 19,623 18.36% 3.45% 7.7% $52,126 $1,466 40.93
67 Woodmere 17,436 12.75% 18.43% 6.7% $42,455 $1,468 40.86
68 Wantagh 18,652 13.69% 18.30% 5% $36,781 $1,569 40.63
69 Buffalo 260,568 24.92% 6.76% 13.8% $39,723 $682 40.50
70 Rochester 210,624 26.96% 3.87% 13.7% $40,814 $751 40.08
71 Rockville Centre 24,048 13.96% 2.22% 6.9% $41,730 $1,250 40.01
72 Schenectady 65,990 22.84% 3.58% 11.5% $36,517 $813 39.97
73 Hampton Bays 12,680 20.84% 5.13% 6.6% $38,791 $1,448 39.70
74 Melville 19,717 10.70% -4.91% 5.4% $72,275 $2,000 39.63
75 Lindenhurst 27,278 18.48% 9.61% 6.1% $32,398 $1,377 39.60
76 Syosset 18,959 13.30% 1.24% 3.9% $53,772 $1,918 39.28
77 Yonkers 197,493 20.85% 3.47% 9.3% $41,210 $1,190 39.25
78 Hicksville 41,748 19.20% 4.25% 7.4% $47,575 $1,551 39.15
79 New Rochelle 77,820 19.81% 8.19% 8.6% $39,892 $1,304 39.11
80 Massena 10,953 18.42% 7.17% 13.7% $38,882 $625 39.08
81 Elmont 35,991 22.70% 12.66% 9.2% $39,966 $1,396 38.83
82 Long Beach 33,407 21.47% 6.11% 5.9% $37,828 $1,601 38.82
83 Babylon 12,175 17.74% 22.73% 8.1% $34,181 $1,453 38.56
84 Oceanside 30,097 15.47% 0.28% 6.5% $42,723 $1,431 38.52
85 Utica 61,979 21.26% 1.56% 12.6% $32,859 $643 38.28
86 Patchogue 11,902 24.01% -11.02% 6.3% $39,303 $1,418 38.13
87 Medford 24,830 19.90% 6.97% 6.2% $37,166 $1,605 37.70
88 East Meadow 37,687 17.56% -0.72% 6.3% $48,172 $1,689 37.55
89 Eastchester 19,678 12.84% 6.81% 4.2% $35,370 $1,640 37.54
90 New City 33,510 13.41% 10.66% 6.8% $35,738 $1,417 37.53
91 Nesconset 13,790 15.08% 16.41% 7.4% $34,393 $1,459 37.36
92 Amsterdam 18,425 19.49% 1.44% 12.4% $34,334 $725 37.33
93 Floral Park 15,988 16.50% 0.76% 6.7% $37,210 $1,404 37.14
94 West Babylon 43,496 18.54% 3.12% 7.7% $41,792 $1,490 37.04
95 Middletown 27,953 23.76% 14.65% 13% $38,282 $1,111 36.72
96 Monsey 18,341 17.61% 29.10% 10.1% $29,961 $1,351 36.63
97 Stony Brook 13,459 13.35% 2.69% 5.9% $47,785 $1,756 36.51
98 Miller Place 11,683 14.34% 7.72% 6.6% $28,121 $1,303 36.50
99 Selden 20,474 20.08% -4.46% 6.4% $30,557 $1,356 36.04
100 Newburgh 28,731 24.02% -10.93% 10% $34,383 $1,014 35.96
101 Merrick 21,208 13.74% 15.14% 5.9% $39,108 $1,806 35.85
102 Smithtown 26,241 11.99% -4.32% 7.7% $40,979 $1,286 35.72
103 Roosevelt 16,215 23.71% 32.31% 10.8% $31,954 $1,599 35.43
104 Bellmore 16,377 15.86% 14.51% 7.2% $33,527 $1,603 35.19
105 Deer Park 27,482 16.56% -8.41% 6.7% $40,608 $1,492 34.95
106 Mount Sinai 11,750 12.60% 9.62% 2.6% $29,931 $1,951 34.55
107 Huntington Station 33,224 19.48% -0.19% 8.7% $38,462 $1,439 34.49
108 Franklin Square 30,549 16.33% 3.14% 8.1% $33,526 $1,372 34.47
109 East Islip 13,796 14.86% 1.54% 6.6% $29,574 $1,404 34.32
110 Freeport 42,976 19.73% -2.14% 10.3% $38,722 $1,265 33.99
111 Dobbs Ferry 10,948 14.76% 7.09% 7.9% $36,878 $1,551 33.81
112 Kingston 23,823 19.35% -13.15% 10.2% $33,308 $972 33.76
113 Farmingville 16,106 21.90% 8.82% 6.3% $39,182 $2,000 33.75
114 Islip 18,563 17.24% 12.12% 7.7% $31,892 $1,600 33.75
115 Shirley 25,214 20.39% -7.02% 6.2% $40,928 $1,771 33.57
116 Jamestown 30,944 20.09% -3.79% 14.1% $28,959 $590 33.54
117 Huntington 18,580 14.38% -2.59% 6.4% $40,955 $1,680 33.53
118 Gloversville 15,514 19.00% -9.29% 13.9% $36,312 $687 33.38
119 West Hempstead 18,565 16.89% 10.47% 9.1% $36,867 $1,548 33.33
120 Garden City 22,443 12.10% 3.31% 6.4% $49,375 $1,948 33.22
121 Bohemia 10,644 13.31% 0.35% 8.8% $51,294 $1,706 32.99
122 Ossining 25,158 22.12% 1.79% 9.3% $31,591 $1,405 32.96
123 Copiague 22,155 18.21% 1.82% 8.1% $33,836 $1,529 32.68
124 Riverhead 13,370 21.23% 4.68% 12.2% $36,245 $1,224 32.61
125 West Haverstraw 10,243 20.72% 5.00% 11.9% $41,631 $1,384 32.59
126 Seaford 15,527 16.13% -1.69% 6.7% $38,679 $1,714 32.57
127 Holbrook 27,225 16.02% 0.14% 7.5% $41,589 $1,726 32.43
128 Spring Valley 31,742 25.58% 3.32% 14.5% $40,363 $1,164 32.15
129 Mount Vernon 67,653 20.53% 3.28% 14.5% $45,419 $1,167 32.13
130 Hempstead 54,350 25.32% -1.09% 11.8% $35,328 $1,290 32.08
131 Port Washington 16,136 11.69% -9.84% 8.7% $59,658 $1,783 32.03
132 Mastic 16,875 18.53% -2.13% 6.6% $28,398 $1,589 31.69
133 Wyandanch 10,608 22.89% -6.69% 9.9% $43,729 $1,608 31.53
134 Central Islip 36,944 24.24% 4.39% 11.2% $32,758 $1,403 31.51
135 Centereach 32,738 19.23% 18.77% 6% $26,694 $2,000 31.38
136 Valley Stream 37,544 20.60% 4.41% 10.8% $36,170 $1,478 31.07
137 Baldwin 23,757 18.62% 1.44% 7.3% $27,939 $1,599 31.07
138 Nanuet 18,578 16.54% 5.17% 8.4% $32,480 $1,594 31.01
139 Levittown 53,253 17.19% 12.50% 6.9% $28,214 $1,815 30.86
140 Rocky Point 14,062 17.05% 4.58% 9.1% $26,881 $1,392 30.81
141 Coram 39,935 19.90% -0.48% 6.7% $26,062 $1,661 30.55
142 Scarsdale 17,337 5.62% 17.47% 6.3% $39,644 $2,000 30.42
143 Peekskill 23,702 20.49% -22.04% 10.9% $42,126 $1,240 30.14
144 Lynbrook 19,461 14.77% -13.35% 8.2% $44,056 $1,614 30.14
145 Commack 35,757 11.82% -0.61% 7.6% $39,131 $1,708 30.09
146 Poughkeepsie 31,172 22.48% -10.22% 14.3% $37,443 $985 29.84
147 East Northport 19,877 14.01% -3.93% 6.7% $31,193 $1,650 29.67
148 Lake Grove 11,176 17.56% -3.21% 5.1% $21,534 $1,718 29.46
149 Mamaroneck 19,035 15.64% -9.73% 9.6% $43,557 $1,597 28.99
150 Sayville 16,178 11.84% 2.63% 8% $31,227 $1,643 28.39
151 North Babylon 17,079 19.44% -7.88% 7.8% $27,922 $1,672 27.31
152 Massapequa Park 17,065 14.56% 7.58% 8.3% $26,782 $1,783 26.45
153 Massapequa 21,877 12.71% -3.34% 6% $31,068 $2,000 25.56

Methodology

NerdWallet analyzed 187 places in New York, but the final list didn’t include places without payroll data. The score for each place was derived from the following sources:

  1. Millennials as a percentage of the population — the growth in the millennial population from 2010 to 2013 is 30% of the score.
  2. The unemployment rate for each city is 20% of the score. The lower the unemployment rate, the higher the score
  3. Average annual worker salary is 30% of the score. Salary figures are all the average salaries by ZIP code in a given city, and dividing by the population of that area.
  4. Median gross rent is 20% of the score. The lower the rent, the higher the score.

All data are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey and the 2012 Business Patterns survey.


New York City image via iStock.