Study: reports how much nurses are really making by state

Nurse Leader Insider, June 1, 2017

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The list considers base pay alongside the relative cost of living, a more meaningful salary comparison for nurses looking to advance their careers by relocating.

"We realized that nurses could benefit more from salary data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics if it contained a cost-of-living dimension. The combined data would offer a more accurate view of how far their salaries might go," said Phillip Lee, Product Manager for

"A nurse making $80,000 in New York technically earns more than a nurse making $70,000 in Texas," explains Lee, "but when you factor in New York's 40% increased cost-of-living, it's a completely different story."

To paint a more accurate picture, compared salaries to regional cost-of-living data, resulting in a more realistic look at earning power. This is particularly useful for nurses considering a relocation.
The report had some surprising results. Even on a cost-of-living-adjusted scale, California still pays its nurses the most in the country. Compare this to Hawaii: on a non-adjusted scale, they are the second highest paying state; but once you factor in the cost of living, they drop to 13th. On the adjusted list, Nevada took the second-highest spot, thanks in part to its lower living costs.

Rounding out the top ten after California and Nevada on the list of top "real-world" nurse salaries is Alaska (No. 3), Oregon (No. 4), Massachusetts (No. 5), Washington State (No. 6), New Jersey (No. 7), Texas (No. 8), Arizona (No. 9), and Minnesota (No. 10).

The full report is available at

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