Getting the Most out of Life

Living in Austin, Texas: A Top City for Millennials

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Would living in Austin make sense for you? If you’re unfamiliar with this side of the Texas Hill Country, the answer may surprise you.

John Steinbeck once wrote the following about Texas: “Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. … few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox.”

For young urbanites who have never been to the Lone Star State, it may conjure images of cacti languishing under hot weather, cattle grazing along barren landscape, and Stetson-fitted cowboys riding beside oil derricks. But in Austin, Millennials can experience a lively hub of creativity, intellectual curiosity, business opportunities, and – for singles – a promising haven for finding your romantic match.

“Don’t Mess With [Austin] Texas”

Austin is perhaps America’s best place for Generation Y, rivaling more popular destinations such as San Francisco and Seattle in terms of job prospects, quality of life, and affordability. Since 2007, Texas has added more jobs than the rest of the 49 states combined, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But what makes Austin stand out in particular is its mix of elements important to many Gen Yers, including higher education, a healthy start-up business climate, cheap living, a great music scene, recreational outlets, and a number of similarly aged, like-minded Millennials.

Consistently Top-Ranked Hub for Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Austin, which hosts the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) film and music festival, among other events, calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World. The city has also rightly earned the moniker Silicon Hills for its thriving entrepreneurship and booming tech industry: It ranks as the sixth-best city for job seekers after factoring in employment availability, workforce growth, and affordability. The city has a working-age population growth rate of 12.47 percent and a low unemployment rate of 4 percent, according to NerdWallet.

Living in Austin yields tax benefits, too. Small businesses and employees in the Texas capital are helped by the state’s lack of personal income tax as well as right-to-work laws (which enable workers to decline membership into unions); the latter, according to the Michigan Capitol Confidential, may lead to faster job growth. In fact, BLS data shows that between 1990 and 2014, the Lone Star State held the sixth-highest state employment growth in the nation.

Forbes’ annual list of the best cities for jobs consistently ranks Austin at the top, and the publication notes that the city is highly ranked in other areas as well. “It is the third-fastest-growing city in the nation,” according to Forbes, “attracting large numbers of college grads, immigrants, and families with young children.”

Vibrant Nightlife and Recreational Pursuits

The city’s bustling nightlife is another draw for Millennials looking for fun things to do during post-business hours. South Congress Avenue (SoCo), known for its shops and restaurants, is a Gen Y hot spot for dance clubs, live music bars, and combination movie theater/restaurant venues.

On 6th Street, the epicenter of the state capital’s party scene, you’ll find Millennials and University of Texas students wearing “Keep Austin Weird” shirts. And if you’re single, you might be interested in another top ranking: Travel + Leisure rates Austin the fourth best city for singles.

Then there’s boating on Lake Travis; swimming in Barton Springs; horseback riding; and running, cycling, and hiking trails along Lady Bird Lake to work off that good old-fashioned Texas barbecue.

Many Gen Yers may not be familiar with Austin. But this college town perched in the Texas heartland merits a chance for its multitude of opportunities. Are you weird enough for Austin?

Over 6,000 articles appear under Marv Dumon's byline. He has written for Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Yahoo!, and Fortune 500 clients. Marv previously worked in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and Six Sigma, and earned BA, BBA and MPA degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.