Finding a great job that comes with a significant salary boost is one of the top reasons to move to a new city.
In its recently released ranking of the best places to live in America, US News & World Report gathered data on the 100 most populous US cities. Among the factors it considered were affordable housing, a low cost of living, good schools, quality healthcare, and access to well-paying jobs. You can read US News’ full methodology here.
Business Insider reranked these cities based on median annual salary to find the 20 where residents earn the most. They don’t all rank highly on US News’ overall list, given higher costs of living and other factors, so we’ve included each city’s overall ranking for comparison’s sake. For instance, Chicago ranks at No. 20 in terms of salary, but it only came in at No. 90 on the list of 100.
Of the 100 best places to live in America, here are the 20 where you can land the highest-paying jobs:
20. Santa Rosa, California
Median annual salary: $49,800
Overall rank on best places to live list: 62
Just 55 miles north of San Francisco sits Santa Rosa, one of Sonoma County’s premier wine-country towns. According to US News’ local expert, Santa Rosa is an originator of the farm-to-table movement and "a haven for bicyclists, who train on its rural western roads and visit en masse for two major cycling events: the Amgen Tour of California and the Levi’s GranFondo."
The job market in Santa Rosa is powered by tourism: 9% of residents work in the industry, mainly at local farms, wineries, and brewpubs.
19. Chicago, Illinois
Median annual salary: $50,410
Overall rank on best places to live list: 90
The Midwest’s largest city may have a couple of drawbacks, including frigid winters and a high cost of living, but Chicago is also host to a bevy of corporations — 31 in the Fortune 500 — that can set residents up with a high-paying salary, including Boeing, United Airlines, Kraft, and Allstate.
Chicago also has a dynamic restaurant scene — far more than just the deep-dish pizza the city is famous for — as well as world-class museums, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Lollapalooza music festival.
18. Portland, Oregon
Median annual salary: $50,710
Overall rank on best places to live list: 20
Portland isn’t for everybody — its slogan is "Keep Portland Weird," after all. But one local expert asserts that it’s a "well-rounded city with more than just the offbeat shops and events" and a population that has "more academic degrees than the national average." An annual job-growth rate of 2.9% per year is attributed to roots in the technology sector, including major employer Intel Corp., as well as the 6,000-employee headquarters for Nike, about 7 miles outside Portland.
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