I Want More Money: Where Should I Live?

More-MoneyStates200398520BlogAre you interested in earning a higher salary?

In this series, I’ve embarked on an expedition to explore and filter through data from Global Knowledge’s eighth annual IT Skills and Salary Report to discover correlations in situations where professionals report a higher income. To aid in my data conquest of the over 16,300 respondents, I’ve broken down the numbers to represent the differences (and similarities) between IT and non-IT professionals. Although both parties are represented in my posts, the report’s survey gathering focused on IT professionals, and so in most cases, the response rate of non-IT professionals is below statistical standards and proves difficult to show its significance.

Wouldn’t it be nice to relocate and immediately make more money? Are you curious to see how your salary compares to others in your state?

In this post, I’m looking at the best and worst states to work based on the average reported salary. Keep in mind, living in these places doesn’t guarantee you’ll make that much money because results will always vary. You could earn more, or less, than the reported amount depending on other factors like tenure, management level, job function, company size and experience. When comparing the data below to our report averages, note that the mean overall salary for IT respondents is $89,066 and $102,828 for non-IT respondents who provided their primary work location.

Move to now states: 1-10

These top 10 states are the cream of the crop for both IT and non-IT professionals, representing the highest-reported average salaries from our pool of U.S. respondents. Looking at both sets of data, you’ll notice that these states are located in the middle or northern half of the country, a trend for top money-making states that’s continued over the years. For IT professionals, these places are booming with technology innovation, and thusly, compensation.

Wait! Before you start packing your bags to move to one of these top 10 states with the highest average salary, consider other factors that could dwindle funds from your bank account.

Cost of living factors:

  • Rent and food prices
  • Housing and property values
  • State and local taxes
  • Gas from a longer commute

All these factors, and others, could impact how much money you’ll have left over at the end of the day – even if you have a higher salary.

IT Respondents Non-IT Respondents
1 Washington DC $106,724 Washington DC** $159,917
2 Virginia $101,193 North Dakota** $128,667
3 New Jersey $97,039 Virginia $124,421
4 Maryland $96,753 Minnesota* $117,972
5 Connecticut $96,508 West Virginia** $116,195
6 New York $95,801 Illinois* $115,403
7 California $94,801 New Hampshire** $115,000
8 Massachusetts $94,113 New York $113,744
9 Colordao $91,082 Massachusetts* $112,427
10 Washington $90,497 California $111,846


Still-Not-Too-Shabby States: 11-20

The next 10 didn’t make the top money-making states but still are still above, or close to, the average salary reported by U.S. respondents. For IT professionals, number 12 on the list, Texas, is the first state to average below the mean IT salary of $89,066. For non-IT professionals, the spread is a bit larger with the drop below average of $102,828 occurring at number 19, Rhode Island.

These states represent a diverse variety in geography spread throughout the country. So if you’re thinking of relocating in the hopes of a higher paycheck, the next state you move to might be right next door!

IT Respondents Non-IT Respondents
11 Illinois $90,430 Maryland* $111,749
12 Texas $88,460 Alaska** $110,500
13 Georgia $87,919 Kansas** $110,467
14 Minnesota $87,616 Texas $110,007
15 North Carolina $87,562 South Carolina** $108,333
16 Hawaii* $87,342 Washington* $104,806
17 Nebraska $87,304 New Jersey* $103,872
18 North Dakota* $86,255 Connecticut** $103,310
19 Ohio $86,153 Rhode Island** $101,850
20 Tennessee $85,852 Arizona* $100,516


Middle-of-the-Road States: 21-40

These states didn’t rank the highest but they didn’t rank the lowest either for average salary. At this point in the rankings, both IT and non-IT professionals are averaging below the mean overall reported income for those in similar fields. If you’re thinking of relocating (or staying) in one of these states, your earning could be below average for 2015.

IT Respondents Non-IT Respondents
21 Pennsylvania $85,664 Oklahoma** $100,045
22 Nevada $85,126 Idaho** $99,133
23 Alabama $85,054 Oregon** $98,980
24 Florida $84,782 Florida $96,640
25 Kentucky $84,774 Nevada** $96,460
26 Michigan $84,362 Michigan* $94,902
27 Arizona $84,346 Colordao* $94,809
28 Arkansas* $84,291 Pennsylvania* $94,085
29 Oregon $83,772 Georgia* $93,221
30 Deleware* $83,710 Missouri** $93,036
31 Maine* $83,480 Ohio $92,297
32 Missouri $83,472 Alabama** $91,866
33 Alaska* $83,329 Utah** $90,789
34 New Hampshire* $82,250 North Carolina $89,658
35 Utah $81,766 Nebraska** $87,029
36 Kansas $81,508 Tennessee* $85,565
37 Iowa $81,441 Iowa** $85,472
38 New Mexico $80,981 Montana** $82,000
39 Wisconsin $80,840 Hawaii** $81,676
40 Wyoming** $80,808 Wisconsin* $81,309


Lowest-Ranked States: 41-51

Although these states came in with the lowest average salary among respondents in 2015, remember that the cost of living may be lower, and so you’re likely to spend less of your hard-earned dollars on monthly bills.

Additionally, unlike the top states, most of the lower-ranking states had the least amount of respondents for both IT and non-IT professionals, which makes the data less statistically significant and the findings inconclusive.

IT Respondents Non-IT Respondents
41 Louisana $80,274 Louisana** $78,006
42 Oklahoma $80,011 Arkansas** $77,806
43 South Carolina $79,160 Wyoming** $77,000
44 Idaho* $79,100 Indiana* $74,303
45 Mississippi* $77,850 Delaware** $73,700
46 West Virginia* $77,682 New Mexico** $71,720
47 Indiana $77,198 Kentucky** $70,238
48 Vermont** $76,993 Mississippi** $69,333
49 Rhode Island* $76,548 South Dakota** $61,000
50 Montana* $74,508 Vermont** $46,000
51 South Dakota** $67,463 Maine** $25,500

*Denotes 20-49 respondents.
**Denotes less than 20 respondents.

Although we can spot trends at this high level, it’s hard to judge what your potential earnings could be based on the state alone until you accept a position. If you’re considering locating to one of these states, find an online forum, like the My Community forums inside MyGK, for professionals in your field and about state (or even city) average earnings!

Next in the Series
I Want More Money: What Industry Should I Choose?
I Want More Money: What Certifications Should I Have?

Want to learn more?
To see additional data on demographics, job functions and other factors that impact salary, download the full eighth annual IT Skills and Salary Report.

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