Vox Media recently released an article naming the cities where paychecks go the furthest. It’s an interesting read that uses Pew Research Center data to illustrate average weekly wages after adjusting for the cost of living. For example, workers in San Francisco average some of the nation’s highest wages, but the cost of living is remarkably high in that city, so you’d think that the take-home pay isn’t so great after paying the bills. But that wasn’t the case.
The data reveals that workers in San Francisco are still bringing home more, even after adjusting for the high cost of living. The following are the US cities that feature that highest weekly wages, adjusted by regional price parities:
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California – $1,706
California-Lexington Park, Maryland – $1,277
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California-$1,244
Seattle-Tacoma Bellevue, Washington – $1,227
Midland, Texas – $1,190
Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina – $1,179
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas – $1,170
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut – $1,164
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts/ – $1,161
Huntsville, Alabama – $1,127
Considering the technology titans headquartered around San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle, there’s little mystery to why wages are so high. But the data is also mildly flawed. According to Vox’s Timothy Lee:
One weakness of this data is that it’s based on average instead of median wages. That could give a distorted picture in areas where a minority of highly paid engineers or investors are pulling the average upward — even as the average worker struggles to keep up with rising rents.
However, it’s not just professionals in the technology sector that are pulling the average upward – nurses in cities like San Jose are doing well enough to lift the area’s average weekly wage. While the average salary for a software engineer in San Jose is $110 thousand, according to Glassdoor.com, nurses in San Jose average $112 thousand a year, a sum exponentially higher than the $63 thousand average US nurse salary.
You can read the article in its entirety here. Also included in the read is a list of cities that average the lowest weekly wages, including some light analysis of what could cause these factors.
Of course for travel nurses, compensation will vary by assignment, facility and role. But it doesn’t hurt to know where paychecks are going the furthest.