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You Could Make More Money Just by Moving

Your Guide to 2017 IT Salaries by State

By Casey Wasserman

If you’re worn out by daily road rage—how many middle fingers can you see in one day— or irked at the prospect of being taxed to death, maybe it’s time for a change. Future job opportunity, salary, cost of living and quality of life are a balancing act. We can’t tell you what to do, but we can let you know where IT professionals are making the highest average salaries in the U.S.

Whether you’re considering moving from Louisiana to Colorado to be closer to the ski slopes or maybe from Oregon to New Hampshire to be closer to family, we’ve compiled data from 4,802 U.S. respondents in the 2017 Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report and calculated the average IT salary in each state. This gives you a sense of national trends if you’re thinking about moving for personal, professional or financial reasons.

But before you pack your bags and hire the movers, you can’t overlook differences in cost of living in each state or region ranging from housing values, state and local taxes and differences in food prices or commute costs among other things. Don’t forget that since we’re looking at averages, your individual results may vary.

Without further ado, here is your list of states (with the District of Columbia thrown in for good measure) and their average IT salaries for 2016 and 2017:

 

Start Packing: States 1–10

These top 10 states (and yes, D.C., we know it’s a pain point you’re not a state) are the cream of the crop for both IT staff and decision-makers. These states represent the highest-reported average salaries from our pool of U.S. respondents. There’s a strong East Coast presence in this list, but this is a trend for top money-making states that’s continued over the years. It’s not breaking news. However, for those interested in warmer climates, take note of Hawaii in the number nine slot. California and Washington should come as no surprise given their reputation as tech hubs.

 

  2017 Rankings   2016 Rankings
1 District of Columbia $125,746   District of Columbia $104,265
2 Connecticut $113,326   Virginia $103,395
3 Virginia $110,756   Maryland $99,678
4 California $105,680   Hawaii* $98,004
5 Maryland $103,702   California $96,066
6 Washington $103,163   New York $96,066
7 New Jersey $102,905   New Jersey $93,979
8 New York $101,404   Connecticut $93,100
9 Hawaii* $99,029   Minnesota $90,987
10 Massachusetts $98,583   Massachusetts $90,060

 

Still Impressive: States 11-20

The next 10 didn’t make the top money-making states but still are still above the average salary reported by respondents. Kansas, number 14 on the list, is the first state to average below the mean IT salary of $94, 413.

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 closer than you think.

 

  2017 Rankings   2016 Rankings
11 Rhode Island $95,463   Arizona $88,762
12 Arizona $94,673   Florida $87,300
13 Colorado $94,651   Texas $86,869
14 Kansas $93,666   Illinois $86,846
15 Maine $93,283   Washington $86,294
16 Pennsylvania $93,093   Oregon $85,539
17 North Carolina $92,581   Alabama $84,174
18 Illinois $92,502   Pennsylvania $84,029
19 Georgia $92,404   Ohio $84,000
20 Utah $92,221   Colorado $83,238

 

Middle of the Pack: States 21-40

These states didn’t rank the highest in terms of mean salary, but they didn’t rank the lowest. If you’re thinking of relocating or staying in one of these states, your earning could be below average for 2017 and possibly beyond. However, there are always extenuating circumstances to consider. Take Delaware for example. While it comes in at number 30 on our list, you won’t pay sales tax as a consumer, so you might end up stretching your salary further than if you lived in Rhode Island (number 11 on our list), which has one of the second-highest statewide tax rates.

 

  2017 Rankings   2016 Rankings
21 Texas $91,512   South Dakota* $83,223
22 Minnesota $91,411   Michigan $82,915
23 Oregon $91,056   South Carolina $82,664
24 Florida $90,670   Wisconsin $81,511
25 Ohio $89,238   Alaska $81,031
26 Arkansas $88,955   North Carolina $80,614
27 Wisconsin $88,327   Missouri $79,737
28 Michigan $88,074   Georgia $79,297
29 New Hampshire $87,917   Nevada $78,676
30 Delaware* $87,252   Tennessee $77,945
31 Louisiana $84,984   Iowa $77,895
32 Missouri $84,504   Kansas $77,359
33 Tennessee $84,415   Delaware* $77,328
34 Nebraska $84,143   Utah $77,285
35 Mississippi $82,968   Oklahoma $74,348
36 Indiana $82,324   Nebraska $74,335
37 Vermont* $81,822   Rhode Island* $73,551
38 Kentucky $81,501   Louisiana $73,353
39 South Carolina $80,393   Kentucky $71,781
40 New Mexico $80,393   Mississippi $71,518

 

Back of the Pack: States 41-51

Although these states came in with the lowest average salary among respondents in 2017, it’s worth remembering the cost of living is lower in some of these areas. In that case, you’re likely to spend less of your hard-earned dollars on monthly bills, so you’ll have more cash to build savings or spend on something fun or frivolous if the spirit moves you. It’s also worth noting that Alaska, South Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming don’t collect income taxes.

It’s also worth noting that unlike the top states, most of the lower-ranking states had fewer respondents to our survey, which makes the data less statistically significant.

 

  2017 Rankings   2016 Rankings
41 West Virginia* $80,352   Maine $70,841
42 Alabama $79,986   Indiana $70,277
43 Idaho $79,409   Arkansas $70,045
44 Oklahoma $78,932   Idaho $68,901
45 Alaska** $78,826   New Hampshire $68,796
46 Iowa $77,259   New Mexico $67,217
47 North Dakota* $77,232   Wyoming* $65,602
48 Nevada $75,085   Vermont* $62,361
49 Montana* $72,329   North Dakota* $62,125
50 South Dakota* $71,777   West Virginia $61,348
51 Wyoming* $65,875   Montana  $58,016

 

*Denotes fewer 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 for professionals in your field and ask about state (or even city) average earnings.

 

Want to learn more?

To see additional data on demographics, job functions and other factors that impact salary, download the complete tenth annual IT Skills and Salary Report.