Florida's Best Cities for Young Adults


Think Florida and the first words that spring to mind may not be “young professional.” But the state, with its large population, diverse industries, and warm climate, does have a lot to offer college graduates starting out on their career paths. To find the right place in the Sunshine State, young adults need to look closely at potential communities to figure out which ones are fun and thriving, and which might be more attractive to the 80-and-over set. We made the search easy for you by narrowing down the 10 best Florida cities for the younger crowd.

Study Methodology

Looking at 100 of the biggest communities in Florida, we considered three factors:

  1. Median salary for college graduates
  2. Percent of residents between ages 20 and 34
  3. Safety

To begin with, we considered how much college graduates could expect to be rewarded for their degree, looking at the U.S. Census for the median pay for locals with a bachelor’s degree. Among the places we considered, the average annual salary was $42,409.

Next, we sought out the places with the highest concentration of young adults, using the Census to find the percent of the population between ages 20 to 34. Living somewhere with plenty of young people means more chances to meet friends and find dates as well as the potential for the types of local-living aspects that appeal to that age group. The average was 19.6 percent.

Finally, we wanted to make sure our top 10 places are locations where young people can feel safe, even if they end up wandering back to their apartments at 3 a.m. after an evening out. For this measurement, we looked at the FBI’s figures for violent crimes reported in 2012. The average number of violent crimes per 1,000 residents in the places we considered was 5.2.

Best Cities for Young Adults in Florida

1. Winter Springs

  • Median income for residents with a bachelor's degree: $50,402
  • Residents ages 20-34: 21.7%
  • Crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.4

Located in Seminole County, about 20 minutes north of Orlando, Winter Springs is home to about 34,000 people, and about 22 percent of them are between 20 and 34 years old. It’s among the safest cities in Florida with just 1.4 violent crimes for every 1,000 residents. Stuffed with amusement parks, resorts, and restaurants, the Orlando area is one of the strongest economies in the state and spills over to this city, with residents who can easily access many employer options, including tech companies and the University of Central Florida. The income for a typical college graduate in Winter Springs is more than $50,000. Along with easy access to a major city, Winter Springs is close to plenty of open space at Lake Jesup and the Lake Jesup Wilderness Area.

2. Doral

  • Median income for residents with a bachelor's degree: $50,708
  • Residents ages 20-34: 20.9%
  • Crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.8

More than one in five residents of this Miami suburb is between 20 and 34, and the rate of violent crime is far lower than in many other parts of the Miami area, even though it’s only 12 miles from downtown. The city is home to the headquarters Carnival Cruises Lines, and local residents with a degree typically make more than $50,000 a year. In Doral, you can have it all – a taste of the Miami life but a quick escape to the suburbs, plus access to many employment opportunities.

3. Coral Gables

  • Median income for residents with a bachelor's degree: $52,312
  • Residents ages 20-34: 19.3%
  • Crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.6

This waterfront city south of downtown Miami has an above-average concentration of young people, a low crime rate, and strong wages for college graduates. It’s also the home of the most glamorous municipal pool in the world, according to TripAdvisor. Lots of shopping, dining, and entertaining options await the type of crowd that is just starting out in the real world.

4. Plant City

  • Median income for residents with a bachelor's degree: $51,276
  • Residents ages 20-34: 22.8%
  • Crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.9

About 25 miles east of Tampa, this community of 36,000 sits in the middle of an agricultural part of the state known for farms that grow strawberries through the winter. But Plant City is no rural backwater. If offers easy access to the more urban surroundings of Tampa plus decent salaries for college graduates, of more than $51,000. Almost 23 percent of residents are between 20 and 34, and the crime rate is below average.

5. Miramar

  • Median income for residents with a bachelor's degree: $51,400
  • Residents ages 20-34: 22.3%
  • Crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.2

On the edge of the Everglades and not far from the beaches of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Miramar is one of the larger cities on our list with 126,000 people. Its crime rate is a bit higher than some of our top picks, at 4.2 violent incidents per 1,000 residents, but still lower than average for the communities we evaluated. The median income for folks with a bachelor’s degree is more than $51,000, and over 22 percent of residents are between 20 and 34.

6. Cutler Bay

  • Median income for residents with a bachelor's degree: $46,735
  • Residents ages 20-34: 22.5%
  • Crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.0

Near the southern tip of the state about a half hour from downtown Miami, Cutler Bay is a relatively new community. Its first housing development was built in the 1950s, and it didn’t become an official municipality until 2005. Today, it’s home to about 42,000 people, and more than 22 percent of them are between 20 and 34. At $46,735, the median income is above average for the communities we considered, and the violent crime rate is below average at 3 per 1,000 residents.

7. Pembroke Pines

  • Median income for residents with a bachelor's degree: $47,523
  • Residents ages 20-34: 19.2%
  • Crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.5

Located directly north of Miramar, Pembroke Pines is another relatively large community, with about 160,000 people. Its official website promises “small town feel, big city amenities.” And while its median income and percentage of young adult residents fall a bit short of its neighbor, the rate of violent crime here is a very low, 1.5 per 1,000 residents. Even if the high number of senior citizens could be a turnoff to the youngest of twentysomethings, this community has become popular with younger families. Fort Lauderdale is a short car ride away when you need a change of pace.

8. Sunny Isles Beach

  • Median income for residents with a bachelor's degree: $50,000
  • Residents ages 20-34: 17.9%
  • Crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.2

A barrier island between the Intercoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, just north of Miami, Sunny Isles markets itself as a resort community with white sands beaches and vibrant nightlife. But it’s also home to more than 21,000 people, and they’re clearly not all working as lifeguards and bartenders. The median income for college-educated residents is $50,000. Sunny Isles is also reasonably youth-friendly, with 17.9 percent young adults living here, and its rate of violent crime is just 1.2 per 1,000 residents.

9. Parkland

  • Median income for residents with a bachelor's degree: $56,317
  • Residents ages 20-34: 14.4%
  • Crime rate per 1,000 residents: 0.8

Parkland is one of the smaller cities on our list, with fewer than 25,000 residents. It’s actually a bit below average for its percentage of young adults, but Parkland makes up for that figure with a super-low crime rate of 0.8 per 1,000 residents and strong annual income for college graduates. Located north of Fort Lauderdale, the city offers activities like a fishing derby, movies in the park, and a concert series.

10. Ocoee

  • Median income for residents with a bachelor's degree: $55,175
  • Residents ages 20-34: 20.1%
  • Crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.8

This community of 37,000 just west of Orlando skews quite young, with one in five residents between ages 20 and 34. The median income for those with bachelor’s degrees is more than $55,000, and the violent crime rate is below average at 3.8 per 1,000 residents. Unlike many of the places on our list, Ocoee is pretty far from the beach, near the middle of the state. But you don’t have to go far to find water, with lakes dotting the area all around this city.


Florida is a diverse state, with many features that fall beyond the scope of this study. Depending on whether you want to be close to a big city with plenty of job opportunities or you prefer living near the beach or across from an awesome Cuban restaurant, you may differ on our ranking. Still, for many young professionals, the communities on this list are the best places in Florida to find the right mix of career opportunities and lifestyle advantages.

Sources used in this study:

Livia Gershon is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Livia Gershon at livia@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped young adults make savvy decisions. (read more)


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