July 10, 2019

Salinas, California, ranked as the best city for practicing nursing, while Parkersburg-Vienna, West Virginia, ranked as the worst, according to a report released last month by 24/7 Wall St.

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Report details

For the report, 24/7 Wall St. looked at employment and salary figures for RNs as well as licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses. The analysis firm used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics program in 2018.

The report considered four main factors:

  1. Wages of nurses in a given city compared to wages of nurses nationwide;
  2. Wages of nurses in a specific metropolitan area adjusted for cost of living;
  3. Share of nurses out of total area employment compared to share of nurses nationwide; and
  4. Projected health care employment growth compared to other metropolitan areas

The best (and worst) cities for nurses

The report found that Salinas, California, was the best city for nurses, with a median nurse wage of $137,770 and a 53.3% increase in health care employment between 2010 and 2018. All but two of the 20 best cities for nurses were located in California.

Meanwhile, Parkersburg-Vienna, West Virginia, was the worst city for nurses, with a median nurse wage of $53,310 and a 45.5% decrease in health care employment between 2010 and 2018.

Nationwide, nurses had an annual median wage of $71,730. In all 20 of the worst-ranked cities, median wages were at least $6,000 below that figure, according to 24/7 Wall St. By contrast, in the 20 top-ranked cities, the annual median wage was at least $10,000 above that figure. In 11 of the top-ranked cities, the annual median wage for nurses exceeded $100,000 (Suneson, "Best and Worst Cities for Nurses," 24/7 Wall St, 6/28).

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