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Spring 2003 Vol. 47, Number 1

Whereabouts and wealth: A study of local earnings and how they vary

When it comes to earnings, musicians are in the top 10 percent of all occupations in Denver, Colorado. They are in the bottom tenth in Kansas City, Missouri. But that kind of earnings variety is the exception, not the rule.


Can moving to a new locale make you richer? Or are the paychecks always leaner on the other side of the ’States? Many people think they would reap higher financial rewards if they worked in some other place. But the data tell a more complicated story.

In terms of earnings, an occupation’s relative standing—that is, its earnings compared with other occupations’ earnings—doesn’t change much from one location to the next. But for some occupations, location does affect financial standing.

This article presents the results of an earnings study undertaken with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Survey of employers.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: October 6, 2003