NerdWallet, a personal finance and information company, has ranked Portland as the 19th best city in the nation for young entrepreneurs.

The survey, released Monday, compares metrics such as education level, unemployment rates, percentage of people ages 25-34 and small-business financing in its ranking of 181 metropolitan areas.

Portland and South Portland combined to receive a score of 61.0, enough to secure the No. 19 spot and more than 14 points behind the top city for young entrepreneurs, Austin, Texas, which received an overall score of 75.67.

The company said in a release that access to small-business loans and higher education are increasingly leveling the playing field for entrepreneurial cities that want to compete with Silicon Valley, New York and Boston.

It also noted lower costs of living associated with smaller cities often correlate to lower operating costs for startups, which helped propel Austin, Salt Lake City and Midland, Texas, to the top 10. By reducing living and office space costs, entrepreneurs have more cash to invest in their growing businesses, according to NerdWallet. All three metro areas have costs of living below the national average.

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