In most cases, switching cities is a lot easier than switching professions. But if you're thinking of moving (perhaps away from a crowded, expensive urban center like New York City of San Francisco and to somewhere more affordable) it might make sense to pick somewhere where you can live comfortably and have some money left over at the end of the year. To that end, RentCafe crunched data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find out which are the best and worst metro areas for each professionals in the management, legal, computer and mathematical, health, education, protective services and community and social services fields. Overall, RentCafe discovered that managers make the most on average annually - with a national average of $89,500. Legal follows with $80,7000. At the bottom of the list is food preparation and service related jobs, with $20,500.
Even though it has been ranked one of the most expensive places in the country, RentCafe found that San Jose, Calif. is a city where educated workers can save the largest chunk of their income at the end of the year. Meanwhile, Jackson, Mississippi, with its paucity of jobs requiring advanced degrees, is one of the worst cities for lawyers and computer scientists.
Of course, places like San Jose suddenly become much more inhospitable for construction workers and food-service workers. There is a middle ground, however. With its tourism-centric economy, Las Vegas is more affordable for people working in food service. Still, food-service workers are left with only $500 at the end of the year.
Looking at the metros where people are left with the lowest amount of money, one city stands out: McAllen, Texas, is the worst choice for people working in six different fields measured by RentCafe. Workers in each field are left with little money after paying for basic expenses.
Hartford, Conn. is the best place for most professionals
High atop the list of the10 best metro areas for professionals is Hartford, Conn.: Though the city might be drowning in debt, it's the best area to live for 12 out of 21 professions. People in these fields are, on average, left with more than $11,000 a year: Business & Financial Operations, Computer & Mathematical, Life, Physical & Social Science, Community & Social Services, Education, Training & Library, Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports & Media, Protective Service, Office & Administrative Support, Installation, Maintenance, & Repair and Production.
We wanted to find out which are the best and worst metros to live in according to each profession and turned to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information. From the average net income per professional field we substracted the average cost of living per metro to calculate the average amount of money left each year. It’s important to point out that for the cost of living we used MIT data which includes the minimum cost of food, health insurance, housing, transportation and other living expenses, plus income taxes.
Meanwhile, in Honolulu, the area where basic goods are among the most expensive in the country thanks to the fact that everything must be imported, personal care and food-service professionals are, on average, unable to afford their basic living expenses, thanks to low salaries and a high cost of living.
What metros have the narrowest and widest gender pay gaps?
According to Census data, on a national scale, women earn a median amount of $41,554 annually while men earn $51,640. According to RentCafe's calculations, the metro area where women earn the highest percentage of their male peers' earnings is Las Vegas-Henderson, Paradise, Nev. - where women earn 83.9% of what men earn, on average.
What's the region with the highest gender pay gap? It happens to be Provo-Orem, Utah., where women earn just 44% of what men do.