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The Best Places to Live, Depending on Your Profession

Houston migration destinationChoosing a career path and a place to call home are two of the biggest decisions facing anyone as they grow into adulthood. While there are countless factors to be considered on both fronts, a new report explores why it might make more sense to consider both questions as extensions of each other. After all, it’s not just about where you want to live—it’s about finding a hometown that meshes well with your chosen career.

With that in mind, RENTCafe set out to determine the best (and worst) metros for a variety of career fields, working from data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After determining the average net income for each of the professions they were examining, RENTCafe then subtracted the average annual cost of living (based on MIT data) and saw how much money was left over after those expenses (which MIT calculates to include the minimum cost of food, health insurance, housing, transportation and other living expenses, plus income taxes).

The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, metro is an ideal home base for workers in the fields of management, legal, computer & mathematical, and architecture & engineering, all of which RENTCafe calculate will be left with more than $50k left over even after paying for living expenses. As RENTCafe points out, this is by no means a cheap market, but these career fields can weather that higher cost of living thanks to higher average annual salaries for that profession in that region. In fact, RENTCafe found that those in management would have an average of more than $87k still left over after living expenses in the San Jose metro. For comparison’s sake, the worst metro for managers is Jackson, Mississippi, where they’d have an average of $36k left over after living expenses.

For some professions, however, even the best-case scenario is still not particularly good news. The Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada, metro is the best location for Food Preparation and Serving workers, but “best” doesn’t always mean “good.” After covering living expenses in Vegas, those workers would be left with $500 for the year. That’s pretty dire, but it’s still a far cry from the impossibility of trying to sustain that career field in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C-Virginia metro, where food prep workers will be left more than $11,000 in the hole after covering living expenses.

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut, proves to be the best metro for 12 out of the 21 professions examined by RENTCafe, with all of the following careers left with an average of more than $11k after living expenses: Business and Financial Operations; Computer and Mathematical; Life, Physical, and Social Science; Community and Social Services; Education, Training, and Library; Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media; Protective Service; Office and Administrative Support; Installation, Maintenance, and Repair; and Production.

On the other end of the spectrum, both Deltona, Florida and Urban Honolulu prove to be bad choices for many different career paths. Of the 21 careers examined by RENTCafe, 11 of them would be left with no money at all after paying living expenses in either of those metros. North Port, Florida and San Diego also prove to be unaffordable for nearly half of the professions in question.

To peruse all the RENTCafe data—once you’re finished shopping for a home in Connecticut—click here.

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has nearly 20 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. He can be reached at [email protected].

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