This one city has beaten out even New York City and Los Angeles as the most desirable destination for graduates fresh out of college: Seattle.

That’s according to a new poll published by Axios this week, using the Axios-Generation Lab Next Cities Index, which tracks rising U.S. work and culture trends through geographic preferences.

What is it about Seattle? Yes, it’s among the cloudiest major U.S. cities. It’s even been ranked among the nation’s “gloomiest” cities — although that’s a disputed claim. And Seattle’s cost of living is far from cheap. It’s 56.8% higher than the national average, according to

Plus, Seattle is also dealing with a “brutal” housing market that was expensive even before pandemic times. Now, it’s even more wild as some homebuyers are paying $300,000 to $500,000 over asking price — in some cases even nearly $1 million over — according to a report by the local channel KIRO 7 News.

But apparently college grads are overlooking those challenges for these draws of the Emerald City: its “superstar tech-hub status,” as Axios called it. Its cool climate. Its focus on green energy. Its music and art scene.

“It feels like a young-person city,” said Riley Harbick, a computer science major in his senior year at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, who aspires to move to Seattle, Axios reported.

Axios’ survey of 2,109 college students was conducted in waves from Nov. 18, 2021, to Feb. 14, 2022. Of those, 1,072 said they wanted to leave their home states for a fresh start some place new, according to the report.

It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points. The survey’s sample included college students at community colleges, technical colleges, trade schools and public and private four-year institutions.

Drilling down on demographics including political party, Seattle drew the most bipartisan appeal. It was also most appealing for independents, according to the poll.

But students who identify as Republicans had eyes for a different city: Austin, Texas. For Democrats? New York.

Overall, Seattle ranked as the most desirable college graduate destination, beating out New York in the No. 2 slot, and Los Angeles in No. 3.

Here’s the poll’s top rankings:

  1. Seattle, Washington
  2. New York, New York
  3. Los Angeles, California
  4. Denver, Colorado
  5. Boston, Massachusetts
  6. Chicago, Illinois
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Phoenix, Arizona
  9. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  10. Austin, Texas
  11. Portland, Oregon
  12. San Francisco, California
  13. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  14. Dallas, Texas
  15. Atlanta, Georgia

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly reported Axios’ poll questioned 1,109 college students. The poll included responses from 2,109 students.