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20 US Cities with the Highest Salaries

January 23, 2019・4 mins read
20 US Cities with the Highest Salaries

Ever been curious about the US cities with the highest salaries? Perhaps unsurprisingly, salaries range widely from location to location, making one’s home address arguably more important than one’s qualified skillset in terms of earnings potential.

The national average salary, calculated across all occupations and all regions, is $50,620. But if you want to make more than that, there are more than a few ways to boost your paycheck.

You could, of course, wait for a raise and promotion.

Alternatively, you could move to San Francisco, a city that boasts a 153% markup on the national average pay take home. In “The City by the Bay,” a small business account manager makes $65,000 per year compared to an account manager in Peoria, Illinois with the same level of experience who makes $52,500.  Or what about Boston? If you can endure bitter winters, you could see a 137% bump in your paycheck by becoming an east-coaster.

To determine the difference in salary rates for each city compared to the national average, we used BLS data and calculated a multiplier which reveals whether a city is above, below, or right at the national average for pay. For example, if the multiplier equaled 1, it meant the average salary for that city was exactly 1 x $50,620, whereas if the multiplier was 1.25, it would be 1.25 x $50,620. A number below 1, like .75 would indicate a below-average local salary. With this bit of data crunching, we determined the 20 US cities with the highest salaries.

20 US Cities With the Highest Salaries

1. San Francisco, California

Average salary: $77,448

Multiplier: 1.53

2. San Jose, California

Average salary: $76,942

Multiplier: 1.52

3. Lexington Park, Maryland

Average salary: $70,868

Multiplier: 1.4

3. Washington DC Metro Area (including Arlington, Alexandria)

Average salary: $70,361

Multiplier: 1.39

4. Boston, Massachusetts

Average salary: $69,349

Multiplier: 1.37

5. Bridgeport, Connecticut

Average salary: $67,324

Multiplier: 1.33

6. Framingham, Massachusetts

Average salary: $66,312

Multiplier: 1.31

7. Seattle, Washington

Average salary: $65,299

Multiplier: 1.29

8. Silver Spring, Maryland

Average salary: $64,287

Multiplier: 1.29

9. New York, New York

Average salary: $63,781

Multiplier: 1.27

10. San Rafael, California

Average salary: $63,275

Multiplier: 1.26

11. Lowell, Massachusetts

Average salary:$62,768

Multiplier: 1.25

12. Trenton, New Jersey

Average salary: $62,768

Multiplier: 1.24

13. Oakland / Berkeley, California

Average salary: $62,768

Multiplier: 1.24

14. Boulder, Colorado

Average salary: $60,744

Multiplier: 1.24

15. Newark, New Jersey

Average salary: $$60,237

Multiplier: 1.19

16. Hartford, Connecticut

Average salary: $59,225

Multiplier: 1.2

17. Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Average salary: $59,225

Multiplier: 1.19

18. Anchorage, Alaska

Average salary: $58,213

Multiplier: 1.17

19. Ithaca, New York

Average salary: $57,706

Multiplier: 1.17

20. Hempstead, New York (Nassau County)

Average salary: $57,684

Multiplier: 1.14

Why Do Cities Have Different Pay Rates?

Local impact on employee pay is generally a byproduct of a combination of things including: costs of living, the competitiveness of the job market, legacy pay that creates present salary benchmarks, and a host of other things like: educational opportunities, resources, local economic wealth, and more. You'll notice these same patterns in the above cities with the highest salaries.

What Can Employers Learn from Salary Benchmarks?

Employers use localized pay averages to calculate how much they’ll need to pay local talent. It can also be important in:

To get more specific about the costs of particular roles, and account for things like experience levels or specific job titles, businesses can use compensation benchmarking tools.

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