Jobs creation and pay levels vary widely from place to place in the United States, whether those places are states, counties or cities. Some cities, like Detroit, certainly will never be on a highest-paid jobs list. They may be plagued by poverty and a lack of good schools. On the other hand, cities dominated by large tech companies, like San Jose, San Francisco and Seattle, are home to some of the highest-paying corporations in America. Location. Location. Location.
The median annual wage in America last year was $41,650. That is well above the poverty line, which is $12,880 for a family of one. It is well below what many jobs held by people with a college education make. 24/7 Wall St. found a number of jobs where people make more than $50,000 on average. We then looked at America’s 389 metropolitan statistical areas used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to report data by cities to determine the city where Americans are paid the most. Some of these metros have populations in the millions. Others have populations below 100,000.
The city with the highest-paying jobs is San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California. The median annual wage there is $69,620, and the April 2021 unemployment rate was 5.3%. The city’s poverty rate is 6.3%.
The San Jose metro area is just south of the San Francisco Bay and has by far the highest paying jobs of any metro area in America. The typical worker there earns $69,620 annually, over $5,000 more than in any other area. The area spans a large part of Silicon Valley, which is famous for tech jobs. Of the 25 cities with the highest-paying jobs, the San Jose area is the only one in which computer and mathematical occupations rank as the largest job sector.
The San Jose area has the second-highest cost of living, with goods and services 26.7% more expensive than they are on average nationwide. It also has a median home value of $1,116,400. That is more than four times higher than the U.S. median, and it is the only metro area where most homes are valued at over $1 million.
To determine the cities with the highest-paying jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on median wage for 389 metropolitan statistical areas from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program. Metros were ranked based on the median annual wage for all occupations as of May 2020. Data on employment and location quotient used to determine the relative concentration of a job within a metro area also came from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program. Supplemental data on regional price parity, a measure of the cost of living, came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and is for 2019. Poverty rate figures came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are one-year estimates.