There were nearly 147 million Americans in the workforce in 2019. Among all workers, including those working part-time, the annual median wage was $39,810. While workers’ incomes depend on their education level, career field, and personal aptitudes, another major factor determining income is the area where they live and work.
Because of factors like the cost of living and the financial resources of companies in the area, jobs that might pay relatively low wages in some areas could pay much higher salaries in other parts of the country.
To identify the cities with the highest paying jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the annual median wage in 389 metropolitan statistical areas using data from the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The vast majority of cities on this list are in coastal areas. California’s Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s largest tech companies, while New York is home to Wall Street, and many finance giants are headquartered in the Big Apple. These industries tend to pay workers relatively high wages and have become synonymous with the areas in which they are located. This is the most iconic job in every state.
One common thread linking the cities on this list is educational attainment. Of the 25 metro areas with the highest wages in the country, just one has a bachelor’s degree attainment share lower than the U.S. share of 33.1%. College-educated workers tend to earn higher wages than those with no degree, and they are less likely to live in poverty. There is a wide variety of income levels for college graduates, depending on what major they selected as students. These are the college majors that pay off the most.