Top Destination Cities Attracting Recent Graduates

June 4, 2014

For the newly minted Class of 2014, a diploma often comes with the tough decision to pack up and move to a new city. “Destination cities” like New York or London attract people from all over the world and from all walks of life. They act as giant talent magnets for a wide variety of industries. However, our data indicates that not all of them are equal. We analyzed the migration patterns of LinkedIn members over the the past year to determine the top 10 destination cities for recent graduates.

To do this, we first had to define our destination cities as places that attracted lots of LinkedIn members from a wide variety of regions in the past year. The resulting shortlist of destination cities, as defined by LinkedIn data, included some that were obvious (like Paris), and others that weren’t (like Minneapolis). Next, we ranked each destination city by the percentage of movers who were recent graduates. Below are the top ten cities, along with employers and universities of members who moved to each of the cities in our list!

Paris tops our list, with Washington D.C. effectively tied for second with Minneapolis-St. Paul - a city which may come as a surprise to many. According to our data, the Twin Cities attracted a lot of members from all over the Midwestern United States. The distances these members traveled to get to Minneapolis-St. Paul weren’t as great as our other destination cities, but they were significant nonetheless. Furthermore, many of the cities that members moved from were also homes to universities, like Duluth or Madison, improving Minneapolis-St. Paul’s standing in our list.

Given the current economic situation in Spain, particularly their high youth unemployment rate, we were also a bit surprised to see Madrid on the list. When we looked at the companies that hired these recent graduates, we found the majority them were international companies, suggesting that whatever jobs were to be had weren’t likely to be offered by Spanish firms.

As we continue to build the Economic Graph, a digital map of the global economy, we’ll be able to provide students and recent graduates with information they need to navigate an increasingly complex and challenging job market. Youth unemployment is one of the most important challenges of our time, and we hope to provide meaningful solutions in the near future.


Methodological details: The results of this analysis represent the world as seen through the lens of LinkedIn data. As such, it is influenced by how members chose to use the site, which can vary based on professional, social, and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility. These variances were not accounted for in the analysis. Additionally, nationality and visa status are not fields included in the LinkedIn profile. Therefore, we cannot make any inferences on the citizenship of our members who were included in this analysis.

We determined the geographic movements of our members in the last year by looking at every new position that was added to profiles between November 2012 and November 2013, which included a regionally specific location (e.g. “Greater Los Angeles Area”) that differed from the regionally specific location of the previously held position (e.g. “Greater New York City Area”). Next, we excluded movements which did not exceed 100 miles (161 km), based on the direct distance between two geographic coordinates, generalized as the geographic center of each region. Next, we looked at all movements that included 100 or more members.

“Destination cities” were defined as those that were the terminus for more than 10 such migrations of 100 or more members, that exceeded a distances of 100 miles. We defined “recent graduates” as members who were 0 to 3 years removed from the graduation year of the last school listed in the education section of their profile.