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You’ve survived finishing four years of college, have received your diploma, and summer is right around the corner.  Life after graduation is looking like a great journey you’re ready to take, but one of the biggest decisions has to still be made: Are you moving on up or are you moving back home?  It’s no secret that it’s not exactly easy nowadays for college graduates to find a place that they can afford to live. With this notion Trulia has set out to help the newly graduated find the best affordable cities to live after graduation.

“Our standard is whether the total monthly payment, including rental payment and insurance, is less than 31% of the metro area’s median income for recent grads. We calculate affordability based on the local median graduate income and rents for the 25 largest rental markets in the U.S, ” says Trulia. Each market fluctuates from what they deem is affordable for a college graduate, but the good news is that there are many different  areas in the U.S that can accommodate different needs for different graduates.

So… where can you REALLY afford to live?

Better Rent Back Down South:

Living down south may not be an affordable solution from living on your own, but finding a roommate can help you pay the rent. Houston, St. Louis, and Dallas are a good balance for both wages and rent. Trulia says that, ” Although the percent of units in these areas that are affordable is under 19%, finding just one roommate is enough to make the median priced rental unit affordable.”

The Best Is Not In The West:

While some may want to live the life of a well-established college graduate, the facts are that it’s just way too expensive.  While some of the markets show that most of the rental units in California aren’t affordable for the average grad, cities like, Portland, Riverside-San Bernardino,CA,  Orange County, CA, Miami, FL, and, San Diego, CA, are possible living areas.  The problems are that there are few units, they’re  far between, and it takes living in dorm-like quarters to to decrease the rent price.

Big Cities Equal Big Salaries:

New York City, Washington D.C, and San Francisco may be cities that have high employment, but they are cities that require high salaries. The cities that pay the highest salaries come with high rental prices.  For example, metro Atlanta has a median salary of $25,571 per year for a new grad. According to Trulia, “If you’re only making this much money, then you can only rent homes that cost less than $661 per month based on the 31% guideline. Sadly, this means just 8.7% of the homes for rent in Atlanta (those listed for less than $661) are within reach.”

Back To The Nest”

While most college grads try their best to not have to go back to living at home with mom or dad, sometimes it can be the most affordable option — if their parents aren’t willing to help them pay the rent on a place of their own.

Where will you live after graduation?