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The 20 Best Places for Nurses to Live in the United States

Hayward, California

Nursing is a broad field that offers individuals interested in this profession a wide selection of career paths that they can follow. The job diversity in nursing and the high demand for nurses in the country suggest that nurses are likely to get a job regardless of where they live. The high demand for nurses in the country, availability of job opportunities for nursing in different health sectors, and the limited number of nurses in this profession suggests that nurses can easily get a job regardless of where they live. Selecting the right location based on a person’s interests, the average job pay, cost of living, demand for nurses in the city, among other factors is essential when looking for a nursing job.

Boise, Idaho

20. Boise, Idaho

Boise is the largest city in Idaho. The city is renowned for its low cost of living. It has great access to a wide range of recreational activities such as hiking and biking trails, and hills and mountains suitable for skiing. It has also been praised for being one of the safest cities in the country. The average salary for nurses working in Boise, Idaho ranges between $39.88 and $41.24 per hour. Level 3 nurses working in Boise can receive approximately $83,900 per year. The large number of tourists who flood the city annually has contributes to its high cost of living.

Charlottesville, Virginia

19. Charlottesville, Virginia

According to Glassdoor reviews, the average income for nurses is $69,721 in Charlottesville, Virginia based on anonymous submissions made by nurses working in the area. The level 3 group, which comprises senior registered nurses receive about $70,230 per year. The city has several historical sites, which attracts thousands of tourists annually. The Virginia Medical Center and the UVA Health Services Foundation, which are among the largest healthcare facilities in the country are also located in Charlottesville.

Detroit, Michigan

18. Detroit, Michigan

Nurses working in Detroit have access to numerous prestigious healthcare facilities like Henry Ford Health System, Dingell VA Medical Center, and Detroit Medical Center (DMC). Detroit is the largest and the most populous city in Michigan. Nurses working in Detroit receive approximately $75,810 annually. The cost of living in Detroit is relatively cheap.

St. Petersburg, Florida

17. St. Petersburg, Florida

This city is among Forbes’ top 10 fastest growing cities in terms of wages and availability of jobs. Aside from that, Florida has a no income tax policy and the cost of living is 6% less than the average rate in Florida. Level II RN nurses earn approximately $72,507 annually while level III nurses earn about $85,763.

Greensboro, North Carolina

16. Greensboro, North Carolina

This is the third-largest city in North Carolina. The cost of living in Greensboro is relatively cheaper than other cities by approximately 25%. According to a comprehensive review of the city’s healthcare facilities, Cone Health and High Point Regional Health System ranked was ranked among the top ten healthcare facilities in the region. Nurses working in this city get paid between $68,300 and $93,370. The city’s cost of living, which is 25% cheaper than other locations makes it suitable for nurses.

Washington, DC

15. Washington, DC

Washington, DC is the capital city of the country and the residential area for most of the country’s political leaders. It is also characterized by the presence of high-end healthcare facilities that attract the interests of most healthcare professionals. According to Glassdoor, nurses earn an average of $41.51 per hour and a minimum of $70,757 per year. A negative factor linked to the city is its high cost of living.

Redding, California

14. Redding, California

This city is renowned for the “Trails Capital of California” and its warm climate. Although it is a good city for nurses to live in, nurses should be aware of its high crime rates. The cost of healthcare in the city is also higher than in California while the median house cost is lower than in California. Nurses can earn an average of $111, 860 annually. Despite its high crime rate, it has been ranked as one the best places to live by the Best Places website.

Houston, Texas

13. Houston, Texas

Houston is one of the largest cities in Texas. It is characterized by several historical sites that nurses can visit, the Texas Medical Center (TMC), which has the largest concentration of research institutions. Nurses interested in areas like nursing informatics and nursing research can benefit from the TMC institution. The average salary for registered nurses is $723,600. Based on its low cost of living, access to the TMC healthcare facility, and its large population, it is a good option for nurses.

Santa Barbara, California

12. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara is characterized by beautiful sites such as the Santa Ynez Mountains and an oceanic view that can be enjoyed by most residents. The city has numerous tourist spots and a mixture of both traditional and modern buildings. Its healthcare systems are relatively good and some of the healthcare facility located in the city include the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Nurses working in the city can earn an average of $108,940 per annum while those who are highly skilled can earn about $148,470 annually.

Honolulu, Hawaii

11. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu is a lovely place for nurses who wish to combine live a relatively relaxed life. The city is characterized by a tropical climate and a constant inflow of tourists, who are attracted to the city by its pristine beaches. There is a high shortage of nurses in the city, which makes it suitable for newly-registered nurses interested in finding a place to start their nursing career. Nurses working in Honolulu are paid an average of between $40.21 and 45.14 per hour. According to Zip Recruiter, nurses registered by Kaiser Permanente are likely to get an average of $112,290 per year. Experienced nurses can earn more than $130,000 per year.

Los Angeles, California

10. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is one of the most populated cities in the country. It has a population of 4 million people, making it the second-largest city countrywide. It is located beside the Pacific Ocean and is known for its Mediterranean climate and entertainment. Its cost of living is also high because of its popularity. Nurses can earn an average of $149,690 per year.

Lodi, California

9. Lodi, California

Lodi is renowned for its wine production. It has a population of 65,000 people making it smaller than most of the cities on this list. Nurses working in Lodi can earn an average of $111, 140 per year. The quality of life in Lodi relies on the part of the city that an individual would live. Nurses who opt to live in the less popular parts of the city can benefit from the low cost of living in those areas and the high salaries linked to living in the city.

Las Vegas, Nevada

8. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is renowned as the center of entertainment globally. The large numbers of tourists who visit Las Vegas annually and the state’s zero income tax policy makes it a suitable city for nurses to live in. Aside from that the cost of living in the outskirts of the city is relatively low and nurses who work at the heart of the city can opt to live in the outskirts to reduce their overall cost of living. Nurses can earn between $63,824 and $72,889 per year. The zero income tax law means that nurses get to keep all their income.

Riverside, California

7. Riverside, California

This is the most populous city in the inland metropolitan areas in California. It is one hour away from Los Angeles. It is also characterized by warm temperatures and a dry climate. The cost of living in Riverside is much cheaper than in Los Angeles and other cities, making it a suitable working location for nurses. The average annual salary for nurses is $114,000. The main downside of living and working in the city is the lack of high-profile education facilities that nurses can use to advance their education while working.

Vallejo, California

6. Vallejo, California

This is a waterfront city located in the North Bay region of California. When compared to other cities and the country’s average cost of living, Vallejo has a high cost of living that is characterized by high costs of housing facilities and healthcare services. The average pay for nurses in this city is $142,140.

Sunnyvale, California

5. Sunnyvale, California

Santa Clara is the sixth most populous county in the US and had a population of approximately 1.8 million people in 2010. The population of Sunnyvale, which is located in Santa Clara had risen to 1 million in 2019. The city is renowned for its high-tech industry, which has attracted other businesses and contributed to the city’s high cost of living. It is also home to large healthcare organizations like the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and the El Camino Hospital. Nurses living and working in Sunnyvale receive an average of $146, 870 annually. Although nurses working in this city would have access to a relatively high salary, the high cost of living will reduce their salary value when compared to cities like Modesto.

Sacramento, California

4. Sacramento, California

This is the capital city of California and is among the fastest-growing cities in the country. The growth seen in different sectors in Sacramento can be attributed to factors such as its recognition as a major educational hub and a prominent financial center. Aside from that, some of the leading healthcare organizations like Sutton Health and UC Davis Medical Center are also in Sacramento. These factors make it one of the best cities for nursing career development. Nurses earn an average of $126,000 annually. The high cost of living in Sacramento associated with its capital city status makes living in Sacramento relatively expensive.

Salina, California

3. Salina, California

Nurses working in Salina earn an average of $132,160. The cost of living in Salina is relatively low. For instance, a salary of $90,000 in Salina equates to a salary of $126,854 in Colorado Springs. Unlike the other highly ranked cities for nurses, opportunities for career development in Salina are limited. This city could be more appropriate for nurses who have already established their area of specification. Since the cost of living in Salina is relatively low, nurses living in Salina would enjoy living the carefree life that characterizes the city.

Modesto, California

2. Modesto, California

Modesto is a populous city that is renowned globally for having the largest wine factory. It is located 92 miles from San Francisco and provides its residents with both the traditional city life and a touch of farm life. The large population of people in this city coupled with its low cost of living makes it one of the best city for nurses. The average nurse in this city earns approximately $113,000 annually, while some of the top earners in the nursing workforce in Modesto earn about $175,000 annually. The average salary per hour in Modesto is $48.14. Although the average salary for nurses in Modesto is way low than that of other highly ranked cities, the low cost of living suggests that nurses living in Modesto spend relatively less money on their basic needs.

Hayward, California

1. Hayward, California

Hayward is the best city for nurses to live in based on the availability of nursing jobs and the average salary offered to nurses. The city has a population of approximately 1 million people, which heightens the demand for nurses. The city is located along the bay area and has diverse healthcare needs based on the diversity of its population. Although the cost of living is relatively high in Hayward, nurses working in this city have access to a wide selection of nursing jobs. Aside from that nurses are offered a high salary to offset the high cost of living. The average salary for nurses in this city is $61.89 per hour and the annual salary ranges between $128,990 and $149,200 per year. This city was also ranked as the best city for nurses by Forbes.


The list offers a wide range of the best places for nurses to live and work. Nurses should consider the availability of different healthcare facilities when selecting a place to live, the cost of living, research institutions, and the safety of the cities. Working in a city that pays well and has a low cost of living could ensure that nurses enjoy the benefits of the added income that they would have spent on basic things like rent.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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