May 22, 2017

The Highest Paying States for RNs (Adjusted for Cost of Living)

By Staff Writer

By popular demand, we've adjusted our rankings for RN salaries to factor in the cost of living. To calculate the highest paying states and adjust for this, we took the average annual cost of living for a single adult in the United States ($28,4581), multiplied it by the Cost of Living Index2, and then subtracted that amount from the average nurse's salary for that state. States were then re-ranked by salaries adjusted for cost of living.

We've also included the effective tax rate3 in each state so you have a clearer picture of how far your salary will go.

As expected, many of the highest paying states also had high costs for food, housing, and transportation. Conversely, many of the lowest salaries were found in states with much lower costs for those same basic necessities.

While many of the rankings remained the same, there were also a few surprises.  See how your state ranked.

51. South Dakota

Average RN Salary: $55,100

Average Hourly: $26.14

Number of RNs in South Dakota:  12,130

Cost of Living Index: 102.8

Effective Tax Rate: 9.77%

Nursing Jobs: View the best-paying nursing jobs in South Dakota now.


50.  Iowa

Average RN Salary: $55,040

Average Hourly: $26.59

Number of RNs in Iowa:  32,370

Cost of Living Index: 91.7

Effective Tax Rate: 12.84%

Nursing Jobs: View 268 high-paying nursing jobs in Iowa now.


49. North Dakota

Average RN Salary: $58,890

Average Hourly: $28.77

Number of RNs in North Dakota: 8,710

Cost of Living Index: 98.8

Effective Tax Rate: 10.03%

Nursing Jobs: North Dakota needs nurses like you. Apply now to 92 top-notch nursing jobs in this great state.


48. West Virginia

Average RN Salary: $58,010

Average Hourly: $27.98

Number of RNs in West Virginia:  20,880

Cost of Living Index: 95.7

Effective Tax Rate: 10.38%

Nursing Jobs: View 162 of the best paying nursing job opportunities in West Virginia now.


47. Alabama

Average RN Salary: $56,890

Average Hourly: $26.68

Number of RNs in Alabama:  47,440

Cost of Living Index: 91.2

Effective Tax Rate: 9.43%

Nursing Jobs: Over 100 high-paying nursing positions in Alabama are open now.


46. Vermont

Average RN Salary: $65,840

Average Hourly: $31.36

Number of RNs in Vermont: 5,850

Cost of Living Index: 122.4

Effective Tax Rate: 10.89%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Vermont.  See 100 open nursing positions in VT now.


45. Kansas 

Average RN Salary: $57,410

Average Hourly: $27.50

Number of RNs in Kansas:  27,130

Cost of Living Index: 90.4

Effective Tax Rate: 12.28%

Nursing Jobs: View 236 high-paying nursing opportunities in Kansas now.


44. Arkansas

Average RN Salary: $56,870

Average Hourly: $27.26

Number of RNs in Arkansas:  23,380

Cost of Living Index: 88.5

Effective Tax Rate: 12.28%

Nursing Jobs: Search 238 open nursing positions in Arkansas now.


43. Tennessee

Average RN Salary: $57,560

Average Hourly: $27.69

Number of RNs in Tennessee:  47,440

Cost of Living Index: 89.8

Effective Tax Rate: 7.97%

Nursing Jobs: Tennessee needs nurses like you. Apply now for 453 nursing jobs in this great state.


42. Maine

Average RN Salary: $64,310

Average Hourly: $29.76

Number of RNs in Maine: 14,190

Cost of Living Index: 112

Effective Tax Rate: 11.63%

Nursing Jobs: Maine needs nurses like you.  Apply now to 380 nursing jobs in this great state.


41. Mississippi

Average RN Salary: $56,980

Average Hourly: $26.86

Number of RNs in Mississippi:  28,590

Cost of Living Index: 86

Effective Tax Rate: 12.14%

Nursing Jobs: Get paid what you’re worth. Search 319 open nursing positions in Mississippi.


40. South Carolina

Average RN Salary: $$61,110

Average Hourly: $29.32

Number of RNs in South Carolina: 41,800

Cost of Living Index: 100.5

Effective Tax Rate: 8.84%

Nursing Jobs: South Carolina needs nurses like you. Apply now to 380 nursing jobs in this great state.


39. Kentucky

Average RN Salary: $58,770.00

Average Hourly: $28.33

Number of RNs in Kentucky:  45,500

Cost of Living Index: 90.8

Effective Tax Rate: 12.01%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Kentucky. See 175 open nursing positions. now.


38. Nebraska

Average RN Salary: $58,970

Average Hourly: $28.45

Number of RNs in Nebraska:  21,240

Cost of Living Index: 91.3

Effective Tax Rate: 13.80%

Nursing Jobs: There are 134 open nursing jobs in Nebraska. Apply now.


37. New Hampshire

Average RN Salary: $67,190

Average Hourly: $32.07

Number of RNs in New Hampshire: 13,260

Cost of Living Index: 119.2

Effective Tax Rate: 10.09%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in New Hampshire. Explore 346 open nursing positions now. 


36. Missouri

Average RN Salary: $59,150

Average Hourly: $28.28

Number of RNs in Missouri:  67,920

Cost of Living Index: 90.8

Effective Tax Rate: 11.02%

Nursing Jobs: Missouri nurses are in high demand. Search 791 jobs now on the #1 job board for nurses.


35. North Carolina

Average RN Salary: $60,460

Average Hourly: $28.65

Number of RNs in North Carolina:  99,050

Cost of Living Index: 94.2

Effective Tax Rate: 10.63%

Nursing Jobs: North Carolina nurses are in high demand. Search 664 jobs in NC now on the #1 job board for nurses.


34. Oklahoma

Average RN Salary: $59,040

Average Hourly: $28.49

Number of RNs in Oklahoma:  27,660

Cost of Living Index: 88.6

Effective Tax Rate: 10.70%

Nursing Jobs: View 406 of the best paying nursing job opportunities in Oklahoma now.


33. Indiana

Average RN Salary: $58,910

Average Hourly: $28.27

Number of RNs in Indiana:  63,870

Cost of Living Index: 87.9

Effective Tax Rate: 11.87%

Nursing Jobs: There are 374 open nursing jobs in Indiana. Apply now.


32. Montana

Average RN Salary: $62,650

Average Hourly: $29.98

Number of RNs in Montana: 9,800

Cost of Living Index: 100.8

Effective Tax Rate: 6.89%

Nursing Jobs: Montana needs nurses like you. Apply now to 94 nursing jobs in MT.


31. Utah

Average RN Salary: $61,000

Average Hourly: $29.23

Number of RNs in Utah: 21,470

Cost of Living Index: 92.8

Effective Tax Rate: 9.25%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Utah. See 141 open nursing positions now.


30. Louisiana

Average RN Salary: $62,450

Average Hourly: $29.24

Number of RNs in Louisiana: 44,780

Cost of Living Index: 94.4

Effective Tax Rate: 10.33%

Nursing Jobs: There are 288 open nursing jobs in Louisiana. Apply now.


29. Idaho

Average RN Salary: $61,280

Average Hourly: $29.90

Number of RNs in Idaho: 12,330

Cost of Living Index: 89.6

Effective Tax Rate: 8.48%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Idaho. See 175 open nursing positions now.


28. Florida

Average RN Salary: $63,960

Average Hourly: $30.15

Number of RNs in Florida: 174,710

Cost of Living Index: 99

Effective Tax Rate: 8.94%

Nursing Jobs: Florida nurses are in high demand. Search 2,121 jobs now on the #1 job board for nurses.


27. Wyoming

Average RN Salary: $62,080

Average Hourly: $29.54

Number of RNs in Wyoming: 4,970

Cost of Living Index: 91.7

Effective Tax Rate: 7.43%

Nursing Jobs: View 236 high-paying nursing opportunities in WY now.


26. Ohio

Average RN Salary: $62,800

Average Hourly: $29.95

Number of RNs in Ohio: 128,030

Cost of Living Index: 93

Effective Tax Rate: 13.06%

Nursing Jobs: View 236 high-paying nursing opportunities in Ohio now.


25. Virginia

Average RN Salary: $65,340

Average Hourly: $31.00

Number of RNs in Virginia: 63,820

Cost of Living Index: 100.2

Effective Tax Rate: 10.89%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Virginia. See 679 open nursing positions now.


24. District of Columbia

Average RN Salary: $79,560

Average Hourly: $38.47

Number of RNs in DC: 10,320

Cost of Living Index: 149.2

Effective Tax Rate: 10.00%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in DC. See 201 open nursing positions now.


23. Georgia

Average RN Salary: $63,190

Average Hourly: $30.93

Number of RNs in Georgia: 73,330

Cost of Living Index: 91.4

Effective Tax Rate: 10.57%

Nursing Jobs: View 515 high-paying nursing opportunities in Georgia now.


22. Maryland

Average RN Salary: $73,200

Average Hourly: $35.31

Number of RNs in Maryland: 53,330

Cost of Living Index: 125

Effective Tax Rate: 11.92%

Nursing Jobs: Maryland needs nurses like you. Apply now to 686 nursing jobs in this great state.


21. Pennsylvania

Average RN Salary: $67,550

Average Hourly: $32.05

Number of RNs in Pennsylvania: 139,480

Cost of Living Index: 102.8

Effective Tax Rate: 12.33%

Nursing Jobs: View 236 high-paying nursing opportunities in Pennsylvania now.


20. New Mexico

Average RN Salary: $66,030

Average Hourly: $32.49

Number of RNs in New Mexico: 16,200

Cost of Living Index: 95.7

Effective Tax Rate: 10.73%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in New Mexico. See 427 open nursing positions now.


19. Wisconsin

Average RN Salary: $66,400

Average Hourly: $31.94

Number of RNs in Wisconsin: 55,410

Cost of Living Index: 96.9

Effective Tax Rate: 13.60%

Nursing Jobs: View 305 high-paying nursing opportunities in Wisconsin now.


18. Connecticut

Average RN Salary: $77,330

Average Hourly: $35.33

Number of RNs in Connecticut: 61,830

Cost of Living Index: 130.7

Effective Tax Rate: 13.56%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Connecticut. See 346 open nursing positions now.


17. New York

Average RN Salary: $78,950

Average Hourly: $38.65

Number of RNs in New York: 180,730

Cost of Living Index: 135.2

Effective Tax Rate: 13.58%

Nursing Jobs: View 650 of the best paying nursing job opportunities in New York now.


16. Colorado

Average RN Salary: $69,990

Average Hourly: $33.05

Number of RNs in Colorado: 47,590

Cost of Living Index: 102.1

Effective Tax Rate: 9.34%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Colorado. See 393 open nursing positions now.


15. Rhode Island

Average RN Salary: $76,410

Average Hourly: $35.73

Number of RNs in Rhode Island: 12,150

Cost of Living Index: 122.1

Effective Tax Rate: 13.57%

Nursing Jobs: View 61 high-paying nursing opportunities in Rhode Island now.


14. Delaware

Average RN Salary: $71,410

Average Hourly: $33.32

Number of RNs in Delaware: 11,320

Cost of Living Index: 102.6

Effective Tax Rate: 6.07%

Nursing Jobs: View 28 high-paying nursing opportunities in Delaware now.


13. Hawaii 

Average RN Salary: $90,130

Average Hourly: $43.76

Number of RNs in Hawaii: 11,300

Cost of Living Index: 167.4

Effective Tax Rate: 10.33%

Nursing Jobs: View 56 high-paying nursing opportunities in Hawaii now.


12. Illinois

Average RN Salary: $69,760

Average Hourly: $33.03

Number of RNs in Illinois: 121,670

Cost of Living Index: 95.5

Effective Tax Rate: 14.76%

Nursing Jobs: There are 562 open nursing jobs in Illinois. Apply now.


11. Michigan

Average RN Salary: $67,690

Average Hourly: $32.43

Number of RNs in Michigan: 92,670

Cost of Living Index: 88.2

Effective Tax Rate: 13.00%

Nursing Jobs: View 322 high-paying nursing opportunities in Michigan now.


10. Minnesota

Average RN Salary: $72,310

Average Hourly: $35.80

Number of RNs in Minnesota: 61,830

Cost of Living Index: 101.1

Effective Tax Rate: 11.59%

Nursing Jobs: There are 139 open nursing jobs in Minnesota. Apply now.



9. Arizona

Average RN Salary: $71,790

Average Hourly: $34.94

Number of RNs in Arizona: 52,610

Cost of Living Index: 98.1

Effective Tax Rate: 9.60%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Arizona. See 542 open nursing positions now.


8. Texas

Average RN Salary: $68,890

Average Hourly: $33.02

Number of RNs in Texas: 207,810

Cost of Living Index: 90.7

Effective Tax Rate: 11.12%

Nursing Jobs: View 130 high-paying nursing opportunities in Texas now.


7. New Jersey

Average RN Salary: $79,840

Average Hourly: $38.36

Number of RNs in New Jersey: 79,400

Cost of Living Index: 121

Effective Tax Rate: 12.63%

Nursing Jobs: New Jersey needs nurses like you. Apply now to 216 nursing jobs in NJ.


6. Washington

Average RN Salary: $78,130

Average Hourly: $37.71

Number of RNs in Washington: 55,350

Cost of Living Index: 107.1

Effective Tax Rate: 11.72%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Washington. See 433 open nursing positions now.


5. Massachusetts

Average RN Salary:$88,650

Average Hourly: $40.58

Number of RNs in Massachusetts: 20,250

Cost of Living Index: 134.7

Effective Tax Rate: 11.52%

Nursing Jobs: Massachusetts needs nurses like you. Apply now to 779 open nursing jobs.


4. Oregon

Average RN Salary: $83,800

Average Hourly: $42.32

Number of RNs in Oregon: 35,220

Cost of Living Index: 115.4

Effective Tax Rate: 9.22%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Oregon. See 357 open nursing positions now.


3. Alaska

Average RN Salary: $88,510

Average Hourly: $40.01

Number of RNs in Alaska: 5,570

Cost of Living Index: 131.6

Effective Tax Rate: 5.64%

Nursing Jobs: Advance your career in Alaska. See 215 open nursing positions now.


2. Nevada

Average RN Salary: $81,460

Average Hourly: $40.36

Number of RNs in Nevada: 20,250

Cost of Living Index: 104.5

Effective Tax Rate: 7.66%

Nursing Jobs: There are 179 open nursing jobs in Nevada. Apply now.


1. California

Average RN Salary: $101,260

Average Hourly: $48.30

Number of RNs in California: 274,650

Cost of Living Index: 134.8

Effective Tax Rate: 8.79%

Nursing Jobs: View 2,484 of the best-paying nursing job opportunities in California now.

Next Up:  15 Highest Paying Nursing Careers

1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Registered Nurses. May 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics.
2. The Council for Community and Economic Research. Cost of Living Index. Cost of Living Data Series, 2016 Annual Average.
3. 2017’s Tax Rates by State. March 2017.


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