The highest-paying metro for nurses in every state

Vivian Health found the metro in each state that pays its nurses the highest wages, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Nursing has long been considered among the best jobs in the United States. Nurses made a median salary of $81,220 in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—nearly $35,000 more than the $46,310 median wage among all American workers. Some nurses in the field can make much more, depending on their education level and chosen specialty.

Nurse anesthetists can bring in upwards of $203,000 annually, while nurse practitioners, who may provide primary care to patients, are paid about $120,000. Geography matters, too: Registered nurses in states along the West Coast and mid-Atlantic region make more than many of their counterparts in the Midwest or South, according to data compiled by the BLS.

Vivian Health used BLS data to identify which metro area in each state pays nurses the highest wages. Rankings of metro areas were based on the dollar difference between a registered nurse's median annual salary and the median salary of all occupations in the area. Ranking metros in this way reveals where nurses actually make the most money relative to other occupations in the area.

In three states—Delaware, Rhode Island, and Vermont—there was only data available for a single metro area, so that metro received the #1 ranking. States in the forthcoming list are ordered alphabetically. Additionally, information on the overall ranking of that metro's nurse salary throughout the state and the difference from the median wage of all jobs was included.

Job openings for nurses are only expected to grow, with the BLS projecting a rate of 6% growth from 2022 to 2032—double the rate of growth projected for all occupations. Keep reading to see which metro in each state pays nurses the most, relative to other occupations.

Alabama: Daphne

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- Nurses in Daphne are typically paid $31,100 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $64,700 (#2 overall)

 

Alaska: Fairbanks

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- Nurses in Fairbanks are typically paid $56,000 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $107,880 (#1 overall)

 

Arizona: Yuma

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- Nurses in Yuma are typically paid $45,120 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $82,290 (#3 overall)

 

Arkansas: Little Rock

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- Nurses in Little Rock are typically paid $32,470 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $71,460 (#1 overall)
 

California: Santa Cruz

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- Nurses in Santa Cruz are typically paid $128,000 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $175,350 (#1 overall)

Colorado: Pueblo

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- Nurses in Pueblo are typically paid $39,260 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $82,780 (#3 overall)

Connecticut: Danbury

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- Nurses in Danbury are typically paid $56,900 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $105,370 (#1 overall)

Delaware: Dover

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- Nurses in Dover are typically paid $37,470 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $78,320 (#1 overall)

Florida: Sebastian

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- Nurses in Sebastian are typically paid $41,280 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $79,190 (#4 overall)

Georgia: Rome

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- Nurses in Rome are typically paid $43,360 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $81,320 (#2 overall)

Hawaii: Urban Honolulu

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- Nurses in Urban Honolulu are typically paid $77,360 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $127,020 (#1 overall)

Idaho: Coeur d'Alene

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- Nurses in Coeur d'Alene are typically paid $44,410 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $83,730 (#1 overall)

Illinois: Kankakee

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- Nurses in Kankakee are typically paid $39,560 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $80,470 (#1 overall)

Indiana: Michigan City

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- Nurses in Michigan City are typically paid $34,850 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $72,720 (#3 overall)

 

Iowa: Sioux City

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- Nurses in Sioux City are typically paid $22,610 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $62,860 (#8 overall)

 

Kansas: Lawrence

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- Nurses in Lawrence are typically paid $28,920 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $67,150 (#2 overall)

Kentucky: Owensboro

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- Nurses in Owensboro are typically paid $38,250 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $78,040 (#2 overall)

 

Louisiana: Shreveport

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- Nurses in Shreveport are typically paid $40,640 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $77,790 (#2 overall)

 

Maine: Bangor

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- Nurses in Bangor are typically paid $39,630 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $83,750 (#1 overall)

 

Maryland: Salisbury

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- Nurses in Salisbury are typically paid $41,600 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $79,210 (#3 overall)

 

Massachusetts: Leominster

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- Nurses in Leominster are typically paid $50,590 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $96,410 (#2 overall)

 

Michigan: Flint

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- Nurses in Flint are typically paid $46,500 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $86,210 (#1 overall)

Minnesota: St. Cloud

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- Nurses in St. Cloud are typically paid $39,710 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $85,730 (#2 overall)

 

Mississippi: Hattiesburg

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- Nurses in Hattiesburg are typically paid $27,510 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $59,910 (#3 overall)

 

Missouri: St. Louis

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- Nurses in St. Louis are typically paid $31,400 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $77,390 (#1 overall)

 

Montana: Missoula

Town situated by the river with green mountain tops in the background.

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- Nurses in Missoula are typically paid $35,790 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $76,550 (#2 overall)

 

Nebraska: Grand Island

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- Nurses in Grand Island are typically paid $32,490 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $74,290 (#2 overall)

 

Nevada: Las Vegas

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- Nurses in Las Vegas are typically paid $56,710 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $95,770 (#1 overall)

 

New Hampshire: Manchester

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- Nurses in Manchester are typically paid $32,180 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $80,560 (#2 overall)

 

New Jersey: Ocean City

Aerial view town by the ocean and beach.

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- Nurses in Ocean City are typically paid $46,970 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $85,490 (#3 overall)

 

New Mexico: Las Cruces

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- Nurses in Las Cruces are typically paid $42,500 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $78,270 (#4 overall)

 

New York: New York City

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- Nurses in New York are typically paid $46,150 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $103,540 (#1 overall)

 

North Carolina: Fayetteville

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- Nurses in Fayetteville are typically paid $44,080 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $82,390 (#1 overall)

 

North Dakota: Fargo

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- Nurses in Fargo are typically paid $29,220 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $75,710 (#1 overall)

 

Ohio: Canton

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- Nurses in Canton are typically paid $36,200 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $74,950 (#7 overall)

 

Oklahoma: Lawton

A bridge stretching across a river with a tall mountain in the background.

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- Nurses in Lawton are typically paid $40,230 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $77,070 (#2 overall)

 

Oregon: Bend

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- Nurses in Bend are typically paid $62,550 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $108,310 (#1 overall)

 

Pennsylvania: Chambersburg

A roundabout in the center with a red-bricked building with a clock tower standing tall in the background.

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- Nurses in Chambersburg are typically paid $41,430 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $84,090 (#2 overall)

 

Rhode Island: Providence

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- Nurses in Providence are typically paid $36,580 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $84,770 (#1 overall)

 

South Carolina: Spartanburg

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- Nurses in Spartanburg are typically paid $41,890 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $81,520 (#1 overall)

 

South Dakota: Rapid City

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- Nurses in Rapid City are typically paid $24,580 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $62,920 (#1 overall)

 

Tennessee: Cleveland

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- Nurses in Cleveland are typically paid $40,220 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $76,620 (#1 overall)

 

Texas: Wichita Falls

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- Nurses in Wichita Falls are typically paid $43,480 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $79,800 (#6 overall)

 

Utah: Provo

Red brick buildings along the street.

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- Nurses in Provo are typically paid $32,980 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $75,090 (#2 overall)

 

Vermont: Burlington

Bright red tall buildings on the left along the city street and green building on the right side.

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- Nurses in Burlington are typically paid $27,420 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $77,230 (#1 overall)

 

Virginia: Winchester

A snowy street with predominantly low red brick buildings on both sides.

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- Nurses in Winchester are typically paid $38,390 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $81,940 (#1 overall)

 

Washington: Spokane

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- Nurses in Spokane are typically paid $53,790 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $100,280 (#2 overall)

 

West Virginia: Huntington

Green trees in the foreground with the river and mountains in the background.

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- Nurses in Huntington are typically paid $39,760 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $77,240 (#2 overall)

 

Wisconsin: Racine

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- Nurses in Racine are typically paid $35,830 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $77,960 (#5 overall)

 

Wyoming: Cheyenne

Aerial view of the city under snow at dusk.

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- Nurses in Cheyenne are typically paid $36,860 more than the metro's median income.
- Median annual wage for nurses: $81,680 (#1 overall)

Factors for nurses beyond salary

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In addition to salary considerations, young workers increasingly prioritize flexible schedules and support for their mental health while at work. Several nurses' unions in recent years went on strike to push for better working conditions, citing chronic understaffing at hospitals as a major issue.

With the field so mentally and emotionally taxing, and overtime hours that notoriously lead to burnout, roughly 100,000 RNs left the profession since 2020 and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report published in 2023 from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Another analysis from National Nurses United, the largest professional association of registered nurses, found that more than 1 million registered nurses with active licenses in 2022 were not actively employed as RNs. Nurses leaving hospitals due to burnout and looking for more regular schedules may turn to physicians' offices, home health care services, and nursing care facilities.

California has attracted new nursing talent with its first-in-the-nation law that sets minimum nurse staffing requirements: Lower patient-to-nurse ratios are associated with better patient outcomes and less burnout for nurses. Oregon will soon join the exclusive club, becoming the second state to mandate nurse-to-patient ratios.

Data reporting by Paxtyn Merten. Story editing by Nicole Caldwell. Copy editing by Tim Bruns. Photo selection by Ania Antecka.

This story originally appeared on Vivian Health and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.






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