LEXINGTON, Ky. — Well-known online financial information service SmartAsset has used its method to determine the top 25 metropolitan areas in America to start a career, and Lexington is on the list.

What You Need To Know

  • Lexington-Fayette is 106th largest metropolitan statistical area in America

  • SmartAsset used seven metrics to determine places on list

  • One man says he "couldn't be happier" with his decision to move to Lexington

  • Lexington area's unemployment rate third lowest among top 15 places

Dillip Yadav, 30, is from India. He moved to the United States in early 2022, initially living in the Chicago area.

“I was working a pretty good job in Chicago, but it is a very expensive city,” he said. “I have a friend who moved to the United States about a year ago, and he ended up in Lexington. We were talking, and he suggested I move here. I did some research and moved. So far, that was a great decision.”

The Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) ranks No. 14 after analyzing seven metrics: Unemployment rate, change in total employment over the past year, median income, income growth, annual housing costs, number of career counselors and the number of post-secondary teachers. 

The Lexington–Fayette MSA is the 106th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States. It has a population of nearly 1 million and includes Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Madison, Montgomery, Scott and Woodford counties.


Yadav works in a fulfillment center on Newtown Pike. He said his income is about the same as it was in Chicago, but the lower cost of living in Lexington has been beneficial.

“I have my own apartment here in Lexington, but I was sharing an apartment with two other people in Chicago and am paying about the same every month,” he said. “I moved here before I got a job and was worried about doing that, but I found a job much faster than I expected and that was a pleasant surprise.”  

The Lexington-Fayette MSA had an unemployment rate of 3.2% in April 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just two MSAs ranked higher than Lexington-Fayette on the list, Prove-Orem, Utah, and Huntsville, Alabama, had lower unemployment rates, at 2.4% and 2.2%, respectively. 

The Lexington-Fayette MSA’s 2020 median income was $39,110, has an average income growth over the length of a career of 14.30% and has 2.84 career counselors per 1,000 workers, which were also factored into the compiling the list.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than six million people not working at all or working fewer hours in June 2021 because their employer closed or lost business during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“While the record-high unemployment rate of 14.7% in April 2020 compelled many to budget carefully and remain cautious about changing jobs, the much lower June 2021 rate of 5.9% led some workers to re-examine their careers,” according to SmartAsset. 

Yadav said moving to and starting a career in Lexington has been a blessing.

“I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “When I talk to anyone I know, whether in India, Chicago or other parts of the U.S., I tell them they need to come here.”