San José Calif.

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San José stands out in the midsize metro category: Innovation is double that of most others, but so are rents. Demographically, young people will find a highly educated and diverse crowd, which earns it a No. 1 ranking in this category. The capital of Silicon Valley provides a slightly more economically advantageous alternative to the San Francisco area, if students are willing to give up quality-of-life amenities, including a far less active entertainment scene and more time spent behind the wheel on California’s freeways.

#4 San José Calif.

POPULATION: 1,952,403
STUDENTS: 161,558
RANKING DETAIL:
#1 COLLEGE EDUCATED
#1 DIVERSITY

Quality of life

#5 CITY ACCESS
#20 ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
#19 BARS AND RESTAURANTS

Economics

#6 YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT
#7 LABOR FORCE
#1 INNOVATION
#20 RENT

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