The Most Popular Places to Live for Alumni of These 25 Colleges

Your choice of college affects more than just the quality of education you get or the number of degree programs available to you. It can also have an effect on your earning potential, whom you'll marry, and even where you'll live.

Most community college alumni (61 percent) live within 50 miles of their school, according to a 2018 report on alumni migration from labor market data company Emsi. Emsi's data also showed that state university graduates remain within state lines but live an average of 330 miles from their alma maters. Meanwhile, alumni with degrees from Ivy League schools live nearly 700 miles away from their universities after graduation.

Most popular places to live for 25 colleges
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To learn more about where graduates are residing, StudySoup used data from LinkedIn to analyze alumni location data for over 1,700 four-year, accredited universities and colleges. From there, we selected 25 popular schools and revealed the five places home to the most alumni from the last 100 years for each school. Alumni without a LinkedIn profile were not included in this analysis.

Keep reading to discover how close—or far—alumni of 25 colleges are living to their alma maters.

University of California, Los Angeles
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University of California, Los Angeles

- #1 place for graduates: Greater Los Angeles Area (140,666 alumni, 43.0% of graduates)
- #2 place: San Francisco Bay Area (35,652 alumni, 10.9% of graduates)
- #3 place: Orange County, California Area (16,991 alumni, 5.2% of graduates)
- #4 place: Greater New York City Area (10,423 alumni, 3.2% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater San Diego Area (10,002 alumni, 3.1% of graduates)
- University location: Los Angeles, California
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 326,881

More than 85 percent of students at UCLA come from in-state and the majority of graduates stay in California, proving out the data that people attending in-state universities tend to stay pretty local after graduation. A large percentage of alumni live right in the Los Angeles area, where several major companies—including Google, Intel, Facebook, and Disney—have campuses and regularly hire UCLA graduates. UCLA alumni pursuing graduate degrees also have plenty of reasons to stay local, with UCLA, USC, Stanford, and UC Berkeley ranking among the top programs for UCLA alumni in all fields.

New York University
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New York University

- #1 place for graduates: Greater New York City Area (157,131 alumni, 54.7% of graduates)
- #2 place: Greater Los Angeles Area (12,058 alumni, 4.2% of graduates)
- #3 place: San Francisco Bay Area (9,050 alumni, 3.2% of graduates)
- #4 place: Washington D.C. Metro Area (6,351 alumni, 2.2% of graduates)
- #5 place: China (5,882 alumni, 2.0% of graduates)
- University location: New York, New York
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 287,210

For NYU alumni who pursued popular majors like visual and performing arts, business management, marketing, or health professions, New York City is one of the best places to be after graduation as jobs in these industries abound here. New York University also has a campus in Shanghai, China, which leads many of the graduates from this branch to land jobs with China-based employers like Alibaba, ByteDance, Discover Information Technology, and NetEase.

The Ohio State University
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The Ohio State University

- #1 place for graduates: Columbus, Ohio Area (118,088 alumni, 42.1% of graduates)
- #2 place: Cleveland/Akron, Ohio Area (21,082 alumni, 7.5% of graduates)
- #3 place: Cincinnati, Ohio Area (12,691 alumni, 4.5% of graduates)
- #4 place: Greater New York City Area (8,255 alumni, 2.9% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater Chicago Area (6,923 alumni, 2.5% of graduates)
- University location: Columbus, Ohio
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 280,494

Columbus, Ohio is the 15th largest metropolis in the country, with growing research and tech industries as well as several Fortune 500 companies. The economic opportunities combined with a low cost of living make this area a great choice for Ohio State graduates. Nearby Cleveland is another attractive option for those with tech degrees, as numerous tech startups take up residence amid longstanding Cleveland establishments like MRI Software and Briteskies.

University of Washington
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University of Washington

- #1 place for graduates: Greater Seattle Area (166,567 alumni, 61.4% of graduates)
- #2 place: San Francisco Bay Area (10,268 alumni, 3.8% of graduates)
- #3 place: Portland, Oregon Area (7,729 alumni, 2.8% of graduates)
- #4 place: Greater Los Angeles Area (6,276 alumni, 2.3% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater New York City Area (5,208 alumni, 1.9% of graduates)
- University location: Seattle, Washington
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 271,433

Seattle was ranked the eighth-best city for jobs in 2021 by WalletHub, indicating plenty of career opportunities for UW graduates. A number of major companies have a significant presence in the Seattle area, including Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, and Nordstrom. Top job titles for UW graduates include software engineer, software developer, and financial analyst, which explains why they're also drawn to the tech-powered Bay Area.

University of Michigan
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University of Michigan

- #1 place for graduates: Greater Detroit Area (78,146 alumni, 30.2% of graduates)
- #2 place: Greater New York City Area (21,604 alumni, 8.3% of graduates)
- #3 place: Greater Chicago Area (15,430 alumni, 6.0% of graduates)
- #4 place: San Francisco Bay Area (12,355 alumni, 4.8% of graduates)
- #5 place: Washington D.C. Metro Area (9,051 alumni, 3.5% of graduates)
- University location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 258,816

The University of Michigan has hundreds of initiatives and ongoing programs throughout Detroit that are facilitated by enrolled students along with researchers and alumni. These close-knit connections and projects are enough to entice many grads to stay in the area, despite Detroit's ranking among the worst U.S. cities for jobs in 2021 by WalletHub. The university is home to the prestigious Ross School of Business, which has long-standing ties to local industries—most significantly the automobile industry—that keep students and alumni invested in and connected to the area.

University of Central Florida
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University of Central Florida

- #1 place for graduates: Orlando, Florida Area (113,996 alumni, 51.1% of graduates)
- #2 place: Miami/Fort Lauderdale Area (11,563 alumni, 5.2% of graduates)
- #3 place: Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida Area (10,317 alumni, 4.6% of graduates)
- #4 place: Melbourne, Florida Area (9,950 alumni, 4.5% of graduates)
- #5 place: Daytona Beach, Florida Area (5,739 alumni, 2.6% of graduates)
- University location: Orlando, Florida
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 223,299

Many University of Central Florida graduates remain in the area because they are able to secure jobs here ahead of graduation, according to school surveys. Nearly 90 percent of graduates find employment somewhere in the state. The school is the No. 1 preferred supplier in Florida of employees to the U.S. aerospace and defense industries, with many graduates getting jobs in the Orlando area at companies like NASA, Lockheed Martin, and Siemens.

Boston University
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Boston University

- #1 place for graduates: Greater Boston Area (68,986 alumni, 31.4% of graduates)
- #2 place: Greater New York City Area (26,584 alumni, 12.1% of graduates)
- #3 place: Greater Los Angeles Area (7,421 alumni, 3.4% of graduates)
- #4 place: San Francisco Bay Area (7,020 alumni, 3.2% of graduates)
- #5 place: Washington D.C. Metro Area (7,005 alumni, 3.2% of graduates)
- University location: Boston, Massachusetts
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 219,383

Boston University was ranked 14th in the nation for most employable graduates, according to research published in Times Higher Education. The school's real-world preparation in fields like business management, computer science, economics, communication, and media gives alumni a leg up finding employment in the city of their choosing.

Cornell University
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Cornell University

- #1 place for graduates: Greater New York City Area (43,581 alumni, 20.8% of graduates)
- #2 place: Ithaca, New York Area (14,422 alumni, 6.9% of graduates)
- #3 place: San Francisco Bay Area (12,426 alumni, 5.9% of graduates)
- #4 place: Greater Boston Area (10,189 alumni, 4.9% of graduates)
- #5 place: Washington D.C. Metro Area (9,610 alumni, 4.6% of graduates)
- University location: Ithaca, New York
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 209,711

One-quarter of Cornell University alumni work in the financial services sector after graduation, finding gainful employment in some of the best cities for finance jobs including New York City, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. More than 60 percent of Cornell University students are from out-of-state, which gives a strong indicator of where people will move after graduation: Up to 50 percent of new graduates today return home after getting their degrees.

University of Arizona
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University of Arizona

- #1 place for graduates: Tucson, Arizona Area (53,061 alumni, 27.6% of graduates)
- #2 place: Phoenix, Arizona Area (32,540 alumni, 16.9% of graduates)
- #3 place: Greater Los Angeles Area (10,079 alumni, 5.2% of graduates)
- #4 place: San Francisco Bay Area (8,005 alumni, 4.2% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater New York City Area (5,791 alumni, 3.0% of graduates)
- University location: Tucson, Arizona
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 192,182

Phoenix and Tucson, two cities that attract large numbers of University of Arizona graduates, are both home to major air force bases and army intelligence centers. Given the school's world-renowned space exploration program, it's likely that many of the graduates who remain in the area do so to seek employment in the aerospace industry. And if aerospace isn't their thing, both cities offer plenty of other employment options by the way of the technology and telecommunications industries.

University of Houston
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University of Houston

- #1 place for graduates: Houston, Texas Area (132,274 alumni, 69.6% of graduates)
- #2 place: Dallas/Fort Worth Area (7,778 alumni, 4.1% of graduates)
- #3 place: Austin, Texas Area (5,946 alumni, 3.1% of graduates)
- #4 place: San Antonio, Texas Area (2,531 alumni, 1.3% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater New York City Area (2,238 alumni, 1.2% of graduates)
- University location: Houston, Texas
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 190,121

Houston is home to the second-highest concentration of public companies in the country, spelling employment opportunities for graduates of every University of Houston program. The school's most popular majors, including engineering, business management, computer sciences, and biomedical sciences, perfectly align with H-town's biggest industries: energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, and medicine. The hottest job in Houston for 2021 is that of a petroleum engineer—a promising metric for alumni of UH's Department of Petroleum Engineering.

North Carolina State University
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North Carolina State University

- #1 place for graduates: Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Area (84,896 alumni, 48.0% of graduates)
- #2 place: Charlotte, North Carolina Area (13,536 alumni, 7.7% of graduates)
- #3 place: Greensboro/Winston-Salem, North Carolina Area (8,902 alumni, 5.0% of graduates)
- #4 place: Washington D.C. Metro Area (4,533 alumni, 2.6% of graduates)
- #5 place: San Francisco Bay Area (3,896 alumni, 2.2% of graduates)
- University location: Raleigh, North Carolina
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 176,766

The Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina is one of the largest and most successful research centers in the country, specifically in the high-tech and biotech arenas. Many North Carolina State University alumni remain in the area to complete a graduate-level program at one of the city's four universities (NC State, Duke, UNC‐Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest), allowing them to participate in significant projects undertaken in the Research Triangle. NC State in particular awards hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsored research each year.

University of Colorado Boulder
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University of Colorado Boulder

- #1 place for graduates: Greater Denver Area (85,357 alumni, 48.8% of graduates)
- #2 place: San Francisco Bay Area (8,203 alumni, 4.7% of graduates)
- #3 place: Greater New York City Area (6,120 alumni, 3.5% of graduates)
- #4 place: Greater Los Angeles Area (5,767 alumni, 3.3% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater Seattle Area (3,867 alumni, 2.2% of graduates)
- University location: Boulder, Colorado
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 175,039

The main campus of the University of Colorado is located in one of the most scenic towns in the state. However, Boulder's small size means that career options are limited, especially if you've chosen one of the school's popular but specialized majors, like mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, or molecular biology. As a result, many alumni migrate to nearby Denver, which offers much more in the way of job prospects and ranked fourth in Forbes' Best Places for Business and Careers in 2019.

University of Missouri-Columbia
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University of Missouri-Columbia

- #1 place for graduates: Greater St. Louis Area (34,139 alumni, 21.5% of graduates)
- #2 place: Columbia, Missouri Area (29,394 alumni, 18.5% of graduates)
- #3 place: Kansas City, Missouri Area (19,570 alumni, 12.3% of graduates)
- #4 place: Greater Chicago Area (8,801 alumni, 5.5% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater Denver Area (3,309 alumni, 2.1% of graduates)
- University location: Columbia, Missouri
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 158,685

Alumni of the University of Missouri-Columbia flock to nearby St. Louis after graduation, finding employment in industries like finance, health care, manufacturing, and business services—all leading contributors to Missouri's economy. Many who remain in Columbia either enroll in a graduate program or find employment at the university, which hired 125 new grads in 2020 alone.

Louisiana State University
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Louisiana State University

- #1 place for graduates: Baton Rouge, Louisiana Area (45,062 alumni, 28.8% of graduates)
- #2 place: Greater New Orleans Area (21,481 alumni, 13.7% of graduates)
- #3 place: Houston, Texas Area (12,328 alumni, 7.9% of graduates)
- #4 place: Dallas/Fort Worth Area (6,568 alumni, 4.2% of graduates)
- #5 place: Lafayette, Louisiana Area (4,741 alumni, 3.0% of graduates)
- University location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 156,229

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, offers the flavor and opportunities of New Orleans without the high cost of living and bustle of tourism. Many Louisiana State graduates who enjoy the general collegiate vibe of the area decide to settle here permanently, finding competitive work in energy and medicine. With year-round warm weather, it's easy to see why Baton Rouge was ranked the second-best place to live in the state.

Southern New Hampshire University
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Southern New Hampshire University

- #1 place for graduates: Greater Boston Area (39,760 alumni, 25.6% of graduates)
- #2 place: Greater New York City Area (8,188 alumni, 5.3% of graduates)
- #3 place: Greater Atlanta Area (3,249 alumni, 2.1% of graduates)
- #4 place: Washington D.C. Metro Area (3,218 alumni, 2.1% of graduates)
- #5 place: Dallas/Fort Worth Area (2,793 alumni, 1.8% of graduates)
- University location: Manchester, New Hampshire
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 155,085

Southern New Hampshire University has the most diverse assortment of post-grad living locations of any school on our list. With 3,000 on-campus students and 135,000 studying online, the vast majority of the students never step foot in Manchester—where the physical campus is located—let alone settle there after graduation. The vast majority of SNHU alumni hold degrees in business-related fields, attracting them to cities that function as major commercial hubs with plenty of white-collar employment opportunities.

University of South Carolina
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University of South Carolina

- #1 place for graduates: Columbia, South Carolina Area (40,354 alumni, 27.0% of graduates)
- #2 place: Charlotte, North Carolina Area (11,530 alumni, 7.7% of graduates)
- #3 place: Greenville, South Carolina Area (10,431 alumni, 7.0% of graduates)
- #4 place: Charleston, South Carolina Area (9,856 alumni, 6.6% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater Atlanta Area (6,447 alumni, 4.3% of graduates)
- University location: Columbia, South Carolina
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 149,350

Columbia, South Carolina, was ranked No. 5 in WalletHub's Best Cities to Start a Career in 2021. Richland County, where Columbia is located, attracted a record-setting $638 million in new capital investment in 2020, spelling plenty of job opportunities for USC alumni. About 75 percent of USC medical students are South Carolina natives, with more than half of them staying in the Palmetto State post-graduation to practice medicine. The school was ranked No. 1 for its graduates practicing medicine in underserved communities.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
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University of Tennessee, Knoxville

- #1 place for graduates: Knoxville, Tennessee Area (45,975 alumni, 31.9% of graduates)
- #2 place: Greater Nashville Area, TN (20,690 alumni, 14.4% of graduates)
- #3 place: Greater Atlanta Area (6,806 alumni, 4.7% of graduates)
- #4 place: Greater Memphis Area (5,191 alumni, 3.6% of graduates)
- #5 place: Chattanooga, Tennessee Area (4,535 alumni, 3.1% of graduates)
- University location: Knoxville, Tennessee
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 144,111

Almost 25 percent of students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville go straight on to grad school after graduation—more than any other university on our list. The top five graduate schools for UT Knoxville alumni are all located in Tennessee itself, which helps to account for the high number of alumni living in the state.

University of Pennsylvania
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University of Pennsylvania

- #1 place for graduates: Greater Philadelphia Area (38,587 alumni, 26.8% of graduates)
- #2 place: Greater New York City Area (25,763 alumni, 17.9% of graduates)
- #3 place: San Francisco Bay Area (7,130 alumni, 5.0% of graduates)
- #4 place: Washington D.C. Metro Area (7,098 alumni, 4.9% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater Boston Area (5,205 alumni, 3.6% of graduates)
- University location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 143,780

Financial services and consulting were by far the most popular industries for new University of Pennsylvania graduates in 2020. Companies like JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and McKinsey & Company were among the top employers, all of which have offices in New York, San Francisco, and Boston. UPenn alumni who remain in Philadelphia largely work in health care or at the university itself.

Oklahoma State University
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Oklahoma State University

- #1 place for graduates: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Area (37,792 alumni, 27.4% of graduates)
- #2 place: Tulsa, Oklahoma Area (27,176 alumni, 19.7% of graduates)
- #3 place: Dallas/Fort Worth Area (12,525 alumni, 9.1% of graduates)
- #4 place: Houston, Texas Area (4,333 alumni, 3.1% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater Denver Area (2,497 alumni, 1.8% of graduates)
- University location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 137,963

Oklahoma City's robust aviation and aerospace industry attracts graduates of OSU's Aerospace Administration and Operations program. The university has also added to its offerings an undergraduate degree in chemical biosciences, another significant industry in Oklahoma City. More than 70 percent of the OSU student body is composed of in-state students, tracking with the large percentage of grads living in-state.

University of Iowa
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University of Iowa

- #1 place for graduates: Iowa City, Iowa Area (24,137 alumni, 17.7% of graduates)
- #2 place: Greater Chicago Area (20,661 alumni, 15.1% of graduates)
- #3 place: Des Moines, Iowa Area (12,042 alumni, 8.8% of graduates)
- #4 place: Cedar Rapids, Iowa Area (5,752 alumni, 4.2% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area (4,931 alumni, 3.6% of graduates)
- University location: Iowa City, Iowa
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 136,628

For those who know the area—and whose connections can help them land jobs quickly—Iowa cities offer enticing reasons to settle down. Low unemployment rates in Iowa as a whole may also encourage University of Iowa alumni to stay local. Still, most students leave the state post-graduation. Iowa has long struggled with the retention of alumni following graduation. The pandemic exacerbated the shortage in labor: While the national labor supply dropped by roughly 2.5 percent during the pandemic, Iowa's labor supply has dropped by double that rate.

University of Connecticut
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University of Connecticut

- #1 place for graduates: Greater New York City Area (37,647 alumni, 27.6% of graduates)
- #2 place: Hartford, Connecticut Area (37,393 alumni, 27.5% of graduates)
- #3 place: Greater Boston Area (11,874 alumni, 8.7% of graduates)
- #4 place: New London/Norwich, Connecticut Area (4,592 alumni, 3.4% of graduates)
- #5 place: Washington D.C. Metro Area (2,682 alumni, 2.0% of graduates)
- University location: Storrs, Connecticut
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 136,173

Although it is a picturesque New England town, Storrs, Connecticut, doesn't offer all that much in the way of job opportunities or cultural experiences. Opportunities abound, however, in nearby New York City, which attracts many of the school's economics majors, and Hartford, with its booming insurance industry. A look at the list suggests that many UConn alumni learn to love the New England way of life during their time at school, and they don't leave that behind after graduation.

The University of Georgia
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The University of Georgia

- #1 place for graduates: Greater Atlanta Area (56,173 alumni, 41.3% of graduates)
- #2 place: Athens, Georgia Area (17,277 alumni, 12.7% of graduates)
- #3 place: Greater New York City Area (3,452 alumni, 2.5% of graduates)
- #4 place: Washington D.C. Metro Area (3,144 alumni, 2.3% of graduates)
- #5 place: Savannah, Georgia Area (2,461 alumni, 1.8% of graduates)
- University location: Athens, Georgia
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 136,100

Atlanta is home to some of the country's biggest companies, like Coca-Cola, Home Depot, UPS, Delta Airlines, and Turner Broadcasting. Between the unparalleled career opportunities, cultural diversity, and big-city vibe, it's easy to see why so many University of Georgia graduates pick up and move 90 minutes west after receiving their diplomas.

University of Kentucky
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University of Kentucky

- #1 place for graduates: Lexington, Kentucky Area (41,156 alumni, 30.9% of graduates)
- #2 place: Louisville, Kentucky Area (16,001 alumni, 12.0% of graduates)
- #3 place: Cincinnati, Ohio Area (9,350 alumni, 7.0% of graduates)
- #4 place: Greater Chicago Area (2,960 alumni, 2.2% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater Nashville Area, TN (2,922 alumni, 2.2% of graduates)
- University location: Lexington, Kentucky
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 133,223

Lexington combines familiarity with abundant career opportunities, a blossoming art scene, and low unemployment rates, providing the perfect long-term, post-grad destination for University of Kentucky alumni. Nearby Louisville, with its emerging health care and medical science industries and low cost of living, is another comfortable yet promising choice for recent graduates looking to start their careers.

University of Utah
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University of Utah

- #1 place for graduates: Greater Salt Lake City Area (70,873 alumni, 56.6% of graduates)
- #2 place: Provo, Utah Area (5,891 alumni, 4.7% of graduates)
- #3 place: San Francisco Bay Area (2,846 alumni, 2.3% of graduates)
- #4 place: Greater Seattle Area (2,515 alumni, 2.0% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater Los Angeles Area (2,408 alumni, 1.9% of graduates)
- University location: Salt Lake City, Utah
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 125,314

Salt Lake City has been ranked among the best cities for retaining college graduates. It's no wonder, considering it's also the No. 1 city for starting a career, according to WalletHub data. The desire to remain plugged into a religious community also keeps many University of Utah graduates in the Salt Lake/Provo area. More than 60 percent of Utah's population belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, with nearly 36 percent of University of Utah students also belonging to the tight-knit church.

University of Chicago
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University of Chicago

- #1 place for graduates: Greater Chicago Area (27,717 alumni, 31.8% of graduates)
- #2 place: Greater New York City Area (8,819 alumni, 10.1% of graduates)
- #3 place: San Francisco Bay Area (4,512 alumni, 5.2% of graduates)
- #4 place: Washington D.C. Metro Area (3,693 alumni, 4.2% of graduates)
- #5 place: Greater Boston Area (2,644 alumni, 3.0% of graduates)
- University location: Chicago, Illinois
- Alumni on LinkedIn: 87,046

Economics is far and away the most popular major at the University of Chicago, with nearly a quarter of students picking that field of study. It makes sense, then, that upon graduation many alumni would settle down in the windy city, one of the finance capitals of the world, or move to other cities—like New York and San Francisco—where finance jobs rule.

This story was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.