Income Across the U.S.: How Would Your Pay Stretch in Another State?

Income Across the U.S.: How Would Your Pay Stretch in Another State?

You’ve probably wondered: How much more could I make if I did something else?

Fair question. But have you ever asked yourself not what you could do, but where you could do it?

Turns out, doing the same job in a different state can have a huge impact on your salary.


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A new salary-comparison tool from Rasmussen College can show you just that, with information about average salary per state and average salary adjusted for the cost of living (COL) in that locale. This allows users to not only see where they might bring home the biggest pay stub, but also where their earnings will stretch the farthest.

The search tool allows you to compare general salary information, or to narrow your search to specific jobs and states, to help you determine if it might be time for a change of scenery.


Here are some quick stats to pique your interest:

Washington, D.C. workers take the cake: Both before and after adjustment for COL ($63,680 and $53,875), they earn more than anyone else in the nation.

In terms of straight salary, C.E.O.s make the most in Connecticut—but adjusted for COL, that $212,000 average only feels like $194,000. Meanwhile, Chief Executives in North Carolina are sitting pretty, reeling in $206,000 that ends up stretching even farther, so they feel like they’re earning a whopping $225,000 a year.

Surgeons make the most in Minnesota ($250,000). But adjusted for COL, they get the most bang for their buck practicing in Kansas ($278,000)—with New York coming in dead last for average surgeon COL-adjusted salary ($179,000).

Both in terms of average salary ($122,000) and average salary adjusted for COL ($129,000), media and communications workers in New Mexico make more than twice what media workers in any other state do.

If you don’t want to be a starving artist, you’ll want to catch that midnight train to Georgia, where artists’ average salary adjusted for COL is $96,000.

For other fun financial tools, you can check out our Grad School Calculator or this M.A.S.H. Calculator for figuring out exactly how much your lifestyle is going to cost.


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