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Website ranks Salt Lake City among best places for young adults

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 3 2010 8:48 p.m. MDT

Nicole Brewer, 24, grew up in Price and moved to Salt Lake City about a year and a half ago.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's capital is one of the 10 best places for young adults to live, according to Kiplinger.com.

The website's "10 Great Cities for Young Adults" used youth-friendly factors such as large percentages of people under age 35, cost of living, rental costs, culture, nightlife and average commute to determine which U.S. cities offer the best settling ground for 20-somethings.

Young adults often aren't tied down to kids or a mortgage, so it's easier for them to pick up and move anywhere. Because of this, Kiplinger asked: "So which place is best for you when the world is your oyster?"

Salt Lake City made the cut because of its high percentage of Generation Y residents, 28.8 percent, and because it's an affordable alternative to trendier Rocky Mountain cities such as Denver and Boulder, Colo. In fact, one year's rent in Boulder can pay for a year and half in Salt Lake City.

Nicole Brewer, 24, grew up in Price and moved to Salt Lake City about a year and a half ago.

"I love Salt Lake," Brewer said. "I feel like 20 minutes this way is nothing but city, and then 25 minutes this other way is nothing but wilderness, trees and animals. I like how easily accessible different lifestyles are."

Brewer said she likes the people and the atmosphere of living near the city, and rent is decently priced — especially as a single student.

One thing Salt Lake City may be lacking is nightlife.

"I don't really think that there's a whole lot to do," Brewer said. "It's more about the people you're with. It's fun, but I'm sure there could be a lot more to do."

Westminster College student Tom Luchs, 19, agreed.

"The city kind of closes down early," he said.

But both Brewer and Lochs said the downtown area is trying to make improvements.

"I can see them trying to make changes to get more crowds and get more involvement in the community," Brewer said. "Like a free workout in the Gallivan Center and the free Twilight Concert Series."

And Kiplinger noted the changes to the downtown district, where luxury condominiums, high-rise office buildings and trendy shops and restaurants have appeared since the 2002 Olympics.

The average commute in Salt Lake City is only 19 minutes, which Lochs said he loves. He's also a big fan of Utah's weather.

"It's just amazing," Loch said. "Sometimes, like in the months of March or November, I can go golfing half a day and skiing the other half of a day."

Brewer also mentions the city's low crime rates.

"I travel a lot and, comparatively, Salt Lake gives you that big city, important-type feeling, but yet it's not as scary," she said. "I feel comfortable living here."

10 Great Cities for Young Adults

Austin, Texas: Pros include low cost of city living, hundreds of bars and music venues and reasonable rent. Cons include hot summers, accelerating urban sprawl and limited public transportation.

Charlotte, N.C.: Pros include a cost of living well below national average, reasonable rents, a bustling downtown and high-paying advancement opportunities in the financial sector. Cons include humid summers, smog alerts and high crime rates.

Chicago: Pros include low cost of major city living, cheap rentals, an efficient public transportation system, high-paying jobs in business and finance and great nightlife. Cons include extreme winters, high crime rate and distance to other major cities.

Houston: Pros include low cost of living, rents below national average, great restaurants, good nightlife and an hour away from Gulf Coast beaches. Cons include heat, traffic, heavy air pollution and a high crime rate.

Kansas City, Mo.: Pros include low rents, low cost of living, money and momentum behind future development and a short commute. Cons include mediocre nightlife, high crime rate and poor public transportation.

Lansing, Mich.: Pros include low rent, respectable bar and club scene and short commute. Cons include extreme winter weather, unimpressive public transportation and above average unemployment rate.

New York: Pros include incomparable job opportunities and extensive mass transportation. Cons include the highest cost of living in the continental U.S.

Portland, Ore.: Pros include below-average rent, innovative art and music scenes, no sales tax and plenty of microbreweries and coffee shops. Cons include above average cost of living, high crime rate, rainy weather and a high unemployment rate.

Salt Lake City: Pros include low rent and cost of living, urban development, job opportunities in manufacturing, finance and technology, nearby ski slopes and cycling trails, and a breathtaking setting. Cons include mediocre nightlife, occasional smog and low wages.

Washington, D.C.: Pros include stable government jobs, extensive public transportation system and a vibrant nightlife. Cons include hot summers, regular Metro breakdowns and traffic gridlock.

Source: Kiplinger.com

e-mail: apierce@desnews.com

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