Top 10 cities for professionals in the U.S.

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

What are the top cities for professionals? Should you move to the opposite coast in search of a larger paycheck? Or maybe head to Houston or Chicago?

Below is an interactive map showing the top 10 cities in the country by average payroll for the entire sector as well as for each of the subsectors (as defined by the NAICS). It also shows the relative change since 2010.

Cities with the highest wages in the subsector

Norwich-New London, CT (which comprises a separate Metropolitan Statistical Area) is the county with the highest average payroll according to the 2013 data. The number has grown significantly here since 2008, mainly because of the exceptionally high number of colleges. Even more, in the last three years, the employment numbers have dropped significantly, which further increased the average payroll.

San Jose, which takes second place on our list, presents a completely different story. As the center of Silicon Valley, it has long been the preferred place to live and work for many IT professionals. Still, it has seen significant increases in both employment numbers and average payroll since 2010. Now, 133,000 professionals living there receive monthly paychecks averaging just above $10,000 each.

The map tells us even more; as you can see, the picture changes significantly once we focus on any of the nine subsectors. For example, the architectural and engineering services sector shows a more uniform distribution and includes Houston and Austin as places six and seven. The IT jobs list is unsurprisingly dominated by the West Coast cities.

To further illustrate this, we compare the distribution of jobs within the sector for the top 10 cities for professionals.

Distribution of jobs in the sector

Like New London, payrolls in Durham, NC are mainly driven up by Duke University staff. However, not all cities have one or two prevailing subsectors. Notably, New York has one of the most uniform distributions. Most professionals here work in legal services, but they only comprise 18.8 percent.

So, what do you think? Is your city on the list? Have you considered moving to another city in search of a higher-paying job?


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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

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