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Where Are the Best Places for Nurses to Live in the US?

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If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re considering packing up and heading to where the job opportunities are best, be it the next state over or the other side of the country. If so, congrats! We fully believe in letting your passion as a healthcare professional guide you toward the right career path, whatever and wherever it may be.

Even if you’re still undecided on the “where,” one thing’s for sure: You have an exciting adventure ahead. We’re here to help you start your research with information on the best cities for nurses. 

This article will look at some of the more practical aspects of choosing the right nursing job, namely: salary, career outlook, and cost of living. 

Best places for nurses to live 

Highest-paying cities for nurses

Where do nurses make the most money? The 10 highest-paying cities for nurses are all in California. How much do nurses make in California? In many of its cities, the average nursing salary is more than $100,000 a year. 

If you like a healthy dose of sunshine and proximity to some of the country’s most stunning natural wonders, a nursing job in California could be just what the doctor ordered. Here’s how the cities rank based on their approximate average annual salary for registered nurses (RNs): 

  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara $155,000
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward $152,000
  3. Vallejo-Fairfield $146,360
  4. Santa Rosa $141,440
  5. Napa $140,680
  6. Santa Cruz-Watsonville $139,590
  7. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade $135,490
  8. Salinas $130,520
  9. Modesto $127,730
  10. Hanford-Corcoran $124,790

States with the most employed nurses

Salary is important, but to earn well, you need to first land a job. Before you load up the car and hit the road to Cali, check out these cities with an excellent career outlook for nurses and plenty of jobs. 

States with the most need for nurses

California also happens to currently have the highest number of available nursing positions, but keep in mind that these are ranked by state. If you’re seeking the hustle and bustle of a major metropolitan area, you’ll find those in the following list. 

  1. California 274,650
  2. Texas 207,810
  3. New York 180,730
  4. Florida 174,710
  5. Pennsylvania 139,480

Major cities with the highest number of employed RNs

New York City may not be as sunny as California, but it certainly has a lot to offer culturally and socially, not to mention many employed registered nurses. But if your heart’s stuck on California, good news: LA is the runner-up. 

  1. New York, New York 123,640
  2. Los Angeles, California 75,160
  3. Chicago, Illinois 73,820
  4. Houston, Texas 50,780
  5. Boston, Massachusetts 44,890
  6. Atlanta, Georgia 39,460
  7. Dallas, Texas 39,460
  8. Phoenix, Arizona 37,120
  9. Minneapolis, Minnesota 36,540
  10. St. Louis, Missouri 33,660

Best “salary vs. cost of living” combo 

It doesn’t matter how much money you make if the city you call home is so expensive that you live paycheck to paycheck. Another important factor is looking at the best states for nurses’ cost of living

Living costs often relate to the desirability of an area and quality of life. The more people want to live in a certain place because of cultural and educational amenities, climate, landscape, and other factors, the higher the cost of living. California’s cost of living is among the highest in the country. We’ve included one of the state’s more affordable options at the top of this list.

Riverside, California: Riverside boasts a great educational offering with many colleges and universities in the area. It’s not far from the Los Angeles metro area, so you can easily enjoy day-off outings in town. This inland West Coast city makes our list because its cost of living is 7% less than other cities in this recent study.

Las Vegas, Nevada: A career in nursing in Las Vegas isn’t a dice roll; it’s a sure bet. With low expenses, affordable housing, and no income tax, Vegas is where you can actually save a buck. For nurses, Las Vegas is 6% cheaper than the other cities considered in the same study mentioned above.

Albuquerque, New Mexico: ABQ offers a pleasant lifestyle with a temperate, semi-desert climate. There’s also plenty of work for nurses with a wealth of healthcare facilities in the area, from the VA Medical Center to the University of New Mexico Hospital. It’s also popular for nurses working in senior care. It’s a city where your money goes further. It’s 21% less expensive when compared to other top US cities.

Houston, Texas: As one of the largest cities in the country, Houston has a ton to offer culturally and professionally, especially for healthcare workers. The Texas Medical Center is home to the highest number of healthcare and research centers globally and employs more than 70,000 professionals. According to the study, Houston is 11% less expensive than the other cities surveyed.

Greensboro, North Carolina: One of North Carolina’s most populated cities, Greensboro has something for the whole family. Plus, the city boasts two major healthcare employers that collectively provide jobs to approximately 10,000 people. According to the study, Greensboro is 25% less expensive than the national average. 

No matter where your healthcare career takes you geographically or professionally, we’ll be by your side. Take the leap and further your career in a location that fits your lifestyle. We’ll ship our scrubs to wherever you wind up.

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