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25 best cities for young entrepreneurs

Many top cities for young entrepreneurs are on the expensive side, but three of the top 10 cities offer costs of living below the national average. (Photo: iStock)
Many top cities for young entrepreneurs are on the expensive side, but three of the top 10 cities offer costs of living below the national average. (Photo: iStock)

Are you interested in starting a new insurance agency? Or, if you're already an insurance agent, are you interested in adding young entrepreneurs to your client base? Well, some cities are friendlier — and cheaper — than others to launch a business, especially if you’re just starting out in your career.

To find the best places to start a small business, NerdWallet recently analyzed 181 metropolitan areas in the United States — each area for which cost of living information was available. Researchers analyzed data on the local business environment and economy from sources including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Because a young, local entrepreneurial community is most likely to flourish with networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities, NerdWallet factored in the population ages 25-34, as well as the education level of each city.

Related: 20 of the wealthiest places in America

Many top cities for young entrepreneurs are on the expensive side, but three of the top 10 cities offer costs of living below the national average. By reducing living and office space costs, entrepreneurs have more cash to invest in their growing businesses. The good news is that you can find small-business loans in any city. 

Here are the top 25 cities in America for young entrepreneurs, including ambitious insurance professionals interested in opening a new insurance agency:

Lincoln is the capital of the State of Nebraska and the second-most populous city in Nebraska

Lincoln is the capital of the state of Nebraska and the second-most populous city in Nebraska. (Photo: Wikipedia)

25. Lincoln, Neb.


Overall score: 59.41

Median earnings: $39,110

Population age 25-34: 14.20%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 35.60%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 2.20%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.51

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $7,959,760 

downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo: Wikipedia)

24. Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Overall score: 59.48

Median earnings: $45,007

Population age 25-34: 13.10%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 30.60%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.50%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.3

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $15,121,625 

Related: These 10 big cities had the best economic growth in 2015

St. George, Utah

St. George is a city located in the southwestern part of the state of Utah on the Utah-Arizona border. (Photo: Nick Christensen via Wikipedia)

23. St. George, Utah


Overall score: 59.5

Median earnings: $36,762

Population age 25-34: 12.80%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 25.40%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.70%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.67

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $18,785,769

Des Moines Iowa skyline fro the Pappa John Sculpture Park

The Pappajohn Sculpture Park, in Des Moines's downtown Western Gateway Park, plays host to the Des Moines Arts Festival. (Photo: Wikipedia)

22. Des Moines-West De Moines, Iowa


Overall score: 59.9

Median earnings: $47,904

Population age 25-34: 14.90%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 36.10%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.10%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.31

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $5,264,811 

Related: 20 cities Americans are flocking to and fleeing

downtown Manhattan, Kansas

Manhattan is a city in northeastern Kansas, located at the junction of the Kansas River and Big Blue River. (Photo: Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau)

21. Manhattan, Kan.


Overall score: 59.95

Median earnings: $38,454

Population age 25-34: 16.80%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 45.80%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 2.90%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.06

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $4,762,516

Downtown New York is seen at top in this view from the air approaching Newark Liberty International Airport, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014

Downtown New York is seen at top in this view from the air approaching Newark Liberty International Airport, Jan. 30, 2014, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo)

20. New York City-Newark-Jersey City


Overall score: 60.76

Median earnings: $52,252

Population age 25-34: 14.50%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 37.90%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 4.90%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.68

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $10,243,343 

Related: The 10 U.S. metro areas at the highest risk of storm surge

Portland, Maine

The "Super Duck II" cruises Portland Harbor Oct. 1, 2002, during an amphibious tour of Portland, Maine. The tour, which lasts over an hour, takes passengers through downtown Portland and along the working waterfront. (Photo: Joel Page/AP Photo)

19. Portland-South Portland, Maine


Overall score: 61

Median earnings: $45,836

Population age 25-34: 12.20%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 38.60%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.00%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 3.16

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $11,634,852

 In this Nov. 25, 2009 file photo, The BMW Oracle trimaran sails past the San Diego skyline during testing in San Diego

In this Nov. 25, 2009 file photo, The BMW Oracle trimaran sails past the San Diego skyline during testing in San Diego. (Photo: Lenny Ignelzi/AP Photo)

18. San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.


Overall score: 62.61

Median earnings: $50,392

Population age 25-34: 16.20%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 37.10%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 4.60%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.68

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $12,970,276

Related: Most and least expensive vehicles to insure in big cities 

In this Wednesday June, 17, 2015 photo, vehicles travel along Williston Road during the afternoon rush hour in Burlington, Vt.

In this June, 17, 2015 photo, vehicles travel along Williston Road during the afternoon rush hour in Burlington, Vt., Despite having minor traffic congestion problems when compared with other parts of the country, Vermont officials continue to encourage commuters to share rides and take public transportation. (Photo: Wilson Ring/AP Photo)

17. Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.


Overall score: 62.95

Median earnings: $47,268

Population age 25-34: 13.6%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 41.7%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.2%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.96

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $10,030,766

View of downtown Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and the second most populous city in the state. (Photo: Gerry Broome/AP Photo)

16. Raleigh, N.C.


Overall score: 63.05

Median earnings: $47,618

Population age 25-34: 13.9%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 43.4%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 4.6%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.28

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $10,020,435 

Related: The 10 U.S. states with the cheapest Auto insurance rates

A Washington Metro train crosses the Potomac River with the skyline of Roslyn, Va., in the distance

A Washington Metro train crosses the Potomac River with the skyline of Roslyn, Va., in the distance, Sept. 25, 2014. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

15. Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria


Overall score: 63.1

Median earnings: $62,172

Population age 25-34: 15.5%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 49.3%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 4.3%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.26

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $7,364,348 

North Dakota state capitol

The North Dakota State Capitol, a 21 story tower, is located in Bismarck. (Photo: iStock)

14. Bismarck, N.D.


Overall score: 63.99

Median earnings: $42,655

Population age 25-34: 14.5%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 32.2%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 2%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.89

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $10,720,089 

Related: Here are the top 20 most wired cities for transportation

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, is in the south-central part of the state on the Cook Inlet. (Photo: iStock)

13. Anchorage, Alaska


Overall score: 64.76

Median earnings: $55,009

Population age 25-34: 16.2%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 29.7%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 5.1%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.53

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $14,424,330

Columbia, Missouri

Columbia is the county seat of Boone County, Mo., and home to the University of Missouri. (Photo: Wikipedia)

12. Columbia, Mo.


Overall score: 65 

Median earnings: $41,235

Population age 25-34: 14.80%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 44.7%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.1%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.44

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $10,513,209 

Related: 10 safest and most hazardous U.S. cities for driving in bad weather

Fairbanks, Alaska

Downtown Fairbanks, Alaska, along the Chena River(Photo: iStock)

11. Fairbanks, Alaska


Overall score: 65.82

Median earnings: $56,653

Population age 25-34: 17.3%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 34.4%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 4.7%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.4

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $11,505,078

Fargo, North Dakota

The Fargo Theatre in Fargo, N.D. (Photo: iStock)

10. Fargo, N.D.


Overall score: 66.4

Median earnings: $42,704

Population age 25-34: 16.3%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 36.7%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 2.1%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.61

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $10,303,954 

Related: The 5 best insurance and financial service companies for millennial workers

U.S. Coast Guard boats patrol the Boston Harbor

U.S. Coast Guard boats patrol the Boston Harbor, Jan. 5, 2015. (Photo: Michael Dwyer/AP Photo)

9. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.


Overall score: 66.64 

Median earnings: $60,168

Population age 25-34: 14.5%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 45.2%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 4.1%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.47

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $11,384,097

Midland, Texas

Midland is located in southwest Texas. (Photo: iStock)

8. Midland, Texas


Overall score: 66.79

Median earnings: $52,261

Population age 25-34: 16.9%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 25.5%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.3%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.9

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $6,707,714 

Related: Top 5 states for women-owned businesses

Madison, Wisconsin

Downtown Madison, Wis. (Photo: iStock)

7. Madison, Wis.


Overall score: 67.45

Median earnings: $48,194

Population age 25-34: 14.9%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 44.7%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 2.7%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.4

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $11,354,367

Seattle, Washington

Downtown Seattle with Mount Rainier in the background. (Photo: iStock)

6. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Overall score:  69.57

Median earnings: $55,123

Population age 25-34: 16%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 39.4%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 4.3%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.53

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $13,807,823 

Related: The 10 states with the highest homeowners' insurance premiums

Minneapolis

View of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo: iStock)

5. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.


Overall score: 71.56

Median earnings: $51,496

Population age 25-34: 14.8%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 40%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.1%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.48

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $15,957,600

Denver

Downtown Denver skyscrapers with the Rocky Mountains in the background. (Photo: iStock)

4. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.


Overall score: 71.75 

Median earnings: $49,713

Population age 25-34: 15.9%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 40.8%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.20%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.62

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $14,648,482

Salt Lake City

Downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo: iStock)

3. Salt Lake City, Utah


Overall score: 72.03

Median earnings: $41,915

Population age 25-34: 16.3%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 31.3%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.1%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.5

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $21,590,164

San Francisco

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge. (Photo: iStock)

2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.


Overall score: 74.88

Median earnings: $61,810

Population age 25-34: 15.7%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 45.9%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.8%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.51

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $15,826,472

Austin, Texas

Downtown Austin, with a view of the Texas State Capitol. (Photo: iStock)

1. Austin-Round Rock, Texas


Overall score: 75.67

Median earnings: $45,649

Population age 25-34: 17.5%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 41.5%

Unemployment rate as of Sept. 2015: 3.3%

Small businesses per 100 residents: 2.2

SBA loans per 100,000 residents: $17,692,769

Related: 20 cities with America's best drivers

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