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Five Best Cities for Nurses to Work In

Five Best Cities for Nurses to Work In

One of the great things about nursing is the ability to find work anywhere. Travel nursing has always been a thing. But recent staffing shortages around the country have led to enticing offers. Big cities are luring nurses. So what are the best cities for nurses to work in? 

We’ve done the research for you. Here is a list of the best cities for nurses right now. (Complete with statistics for the detail-oriented).

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston tops the list of best cities for nurses to work in because of its the incredible professional opportunities and earning potential. 

According to Indeed, the average pay in Boston is 19% higher than other major cities. The average hourly rate is $43.72, with the average nurse earning an additional $16,000 in overtime. Nurses with ten years of experience are typically making six figures. The Location Quotient (LQ) for Boston according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is 1.03 indicating that there are plenty of nursing positions available. 

Boston is also known for having an excellent healthcare system. Healthline rated Massachusetes as the healthiest state in America, due in large part to the high quality medical services residents receive. Boston Medical Center, a teaching hospital for Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has the region’s busiest level one trauma center. 

The U.S. News and World Report released their 2020 ranking of the 150 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., and Boston breezed in at number 18. Liveability also rated Boston as one of the best places to live based on walkability score (86.9), world class healthcare, shopping, recreation, weather (they have all four seasons), transportation, history and education.  Whew! That was a lot. But as you can see, this city has much to offer and that is why it tops the list. 

San Francisco, California

Cost of Living Index: 196.6

State Income Tax: 1% to 13.30%

San Francisco is the highest paying city in the U.S., with many nursing positions paying $70 per hour. The average base rate is $50.47 with nurses earning $15,000 in overtime annually. This generous pay more than offsets the cost of living so nurses in San Francisco afford to live comfortably. 

This city by the bay is ranked #2 for Best Cities for Young Professionals according to Niche.com. This charming city also offers a vibrant culture and arts scene with plenty to see and do. Young families will appreciate the schools here, which rank above average.

The job outlook for nursing is very positive for San Francisco. A healthforce study concluded that the forecast for nurses in San Francisco is promising. The Fall 2017 Survey of Nurse Employers found that more than 85% of hospitals reported demand for RNs being greater than the available supply. 

Nurses looking to gain experience and skills will fare well at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, CA is ranked No. 8 on the Best Hospitals in the nation and it is a teaching and research facility offering cutting edge medical care. 

Honolulu, Hawaii

Cost of Living Index: 191.8

State Income Tax:  1.40% to 11%

Hawaii is known for miles of beautiful beaches and tropical climate. So of course, Honolulu ranks as one of the best cities for nurses to work. The cost of living is high, but the pay for nurses on the island offsets the price of living in paradise. 

In the recent past it was difficult for nurses to find jobs in Hawaii. The LQ for 2020 was 0.91, meaning that there are not as many nursing jobs available as the rest of the country. But the Hawaii Health System invested millions which has created more jobs for nurses. By 2025, the nursing shortage in Hawaii  is forecast to be 3,311 professional nurses

In 2019, 24/7 Wall Street ranked Hawaii as the fourth best state to live in in the country. The methodology was based on three measures: life expectancy at birth, bachelor’s degree attainment, and poverty.

Dallas, Texas

Cost of Living Index: 101.6

State Income Tax: No income tax

Dallas thrives in arts, business, and agriculture. According to Wallethub, Texas ranks 12th in the nation for nurses overall. Here, nursing professionals will find opportunity, a positive work environment, and lower competition compared to other big regions. 

In the last decade Dallas was one of the nation’s fastest growing cities. Thanks to the oil and gas industry, Dallas has become a prime business and industry center. The metroplex is home to many billionaires and Fortune 500 companies. Prominent hospitals including University of Texas Southwestern medical Center, Baylor University Medical Center, and Texas Health Network mean that there are plenty of opportunities for nurses here.  In Texas, nurses can find a culture of camaraderie and support. This is why this Dallas a great place for nurses to call home. 

The average pay for a registered nurse in Dallas, TX according to Indeed is $25.59 per hour which is about 20% lower than other major cities. But the moderate cost of living index 101.6 and average home price is in the $200,000s and lower than national average.  

Miami, Florida

Cost of Living Index: 123.1

State Income Tax: No income tax

The quality of living in Miami and the job outlook for nurses make this city one of the best cities for nurses. It is estimated that Florida will have the highest population of adults over age 65 by the year 2030. Med-surg nursing is a field that will continue to grow. The large healthcare system, including the University of Miami hospital, offers nurses numerous opportunities. 

Miami is known for its fabulous climate with mild temperatures year round. Public transportation here is reliable, and there is no state income tax. Miami’s arts & culture, food, and nightlife, mean that nurses of all ages will enjoy living in this city. Festivals and parties are held year-round in Miami and make it an attractive place for new nurses looking to work hard and play hard.

The average pay reported for nurses living in Miami is $27.53.


Each of these locales offers its own opportunities for nurses. If you’ve ever considered moving or working out of state, this list can help you discover the city that might be right for you. Next time you get a case of wanderlust, check them out. Who knows where the future might take you.

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Sarah Falcone BSN, RN

Sarah Falcone BSN, RN


Sarah S. Falcone BSN, RN is a dedicated nurse based in Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX. Her first nursing gig, was night-shift floor nurse in women's services (PP, L&D, nursery). Through a series of fortunate events, she found home health and a passion for helping seniors age in place. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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