Austin vs. San Fran: What is the Better City for Young Adult Careers?

Austin vs SF for a Job

In many ways both Austin and San Francisco are considered to be mirror of one another. They both have a large number of young adults migrating to the area, they’re both important players in the technology and start-up scene, and both cities are known for their music festivals. But when it comes to which city has the better job market, one location stands out far above the other.

We conducted a study to find out which area is a better city for young adults to start their career based on several factors, including:

  • Which city has more opportunities for small businesses.
  • Which city has a better up-and-coming job market.
  • Which city is the more affordable area to live in.
  • Which city has performed better during the recession.

After careful examination, we found that when it comes to the future outlook of both cities Austin is the clear winner. Below is a breakdown of why Austin is the better spot to find a job over San Francisco.

Reason #1 Better Tech Growth

It’s no secret that the technology industry has been thriving over the last ten years, and is quickly becoming a major economic cornerstone in America. Even though Silicon Valley is the main hub for technology enthusiast, Austin still was able to grow at a larger pace for technology jobs. Voted number one by Forbes for creating the most technology jobs, Austin saw a larger percentage increase in both technology and STEM jobs than San Francisco. 10819226023_75b05920de_b (1)

Source: Flickr / Jims_Photos

Reason #2 Austin Conquers the Recession

In January, 2010, San Francisco had a 6.9% unemployment rate compare to San Francisco’s 10.1%. This was in part due to Austin having a strong technology sector and a large number of stable government positions that kept the area from being effected by the recessions impact on jobs. 10433212995_7bf48bce46_b

 Source: Flickr / Jims_Photos

Reason #3 Better Job Growth Outlook

Predicted to have a better future job growth than San Francisco by over 15% in the next 15 years, Austin is rapidly rising in the amount of medical, technology, and start-up companies setting up shop in the area. Austin has also been voted as one of the best places for small businesses by both CNN Money and Forbes. Austin Texas Lake Front

Source: Flickr / RumpledElf

Reason #4: More Room for Residents and Economic Expansion

San Francisco is bustling with successful tech giants like Facebook, Apple, and Google. This has caused a renter’s crunch in Silicon Valley and landlords are literally trying to buy out tenants who have rent controlled apartments so they can offer wealthy employees the space at a marked up price. San Francisco has also seen a mass migration of people moving to the area over the last decade in hopes of finding a prosperous job. In fact, San Francisco now has 6,898 people per km2 compared to Austin’s 1007 people per km2 of land. Austin, however, is still a young and sprawling city with rapidly expanding suburbs and affordable housing situations, making the ceiling for job and employee growth in the area much higher. 11526058626_c04774859b_b

Source: Flickr / Earl McGehee

Reason #5: Lower Cost of Living

Austin, TX is a cheaper city to live in for many reasons. With no income tax, low property taxes and people spending, on average, 2% less of their income on rent in Austin compared to SF, it is clear why Austin appeals to an entry level employee. Not to mention the average cost to take your date to a restaurant, according to, is almost $20 more expensive in San Francisco than Austin! 13340162044_99a172c33c_b

Source: Flickr / Anthony Quintano

Employment Category
Austin, Texas
San Francisco, California
Future Job Growth
High Tech Job Growth (2001-2013)
STEM Occupation Growth (2001-2013)
Unemployment Rate
Median Household Income
Income Tax Rate
Median Rental Rate
Median Household Income
Cost of Living Index


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