Would you have more purchasing power doing your job where you currently reside or would you be better off in another state, after adjusting for the cost of living?
What someone earns varies with factors such as industry, geography, and worker skill. Jobs with more consistent tasks, such as waiters or retail workers, have more consistent wages state to state.
But the larger the variation within a particular occupation, particularly with healthcare, management, and the arts, the more the pay can vary. We looked at the median annual salary for jobs in every state and adjusted it for cost of living.
The value of a dollar differs state to state. Prices for some things can be cheaper or more expensive depending on where someone lives. For example, $103.52 in Texas actually has the same purchasing power as $102.99 in Maine, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Data from this story is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey— specifically the wages as defined by straight-time, gross pay, which includes some types of pay like commissions, production bonuses, and tips. It does not include premium pay, such as overtime or profit-sharing payments, nor does it include data on the self-employed.
The upper limit to the wages that BLS tracks is in the top 10 percent, or more than $187,000. If a large enough percent of a profession makes more than that wage, then the median is not calculated— which is why some professions like anesthesiologists and surgeons do not appear on our list.
Code written to analyze data for this story may be found in our GitHub repository.