's 2008 Salary Value Index

by Staff - Original publish date: January 25, 2012

Is your paycheck not stretching far enough? Are you considering moving to a new town? Perhaps you're even having trouble finding a job. If so, it may be time to look at one of the cities at the top of's Salary Value Index. The compensation experts at uncovered the top (and bottom) US cities for building personal net worth, taking into account local salaries, cost of living, and unemployment relative to the national average. This year's list also factored in qualitative measures including diversity of industry, education level of the cities' population, proximity to post secondary institutions, percent of population below poverty level, and median travel time to work, resulting in an interesting and robust list of top cities.

Top 5 Cities

Take a look at the top 5 and bottom 5 Salary Value Index cities. Click to see sample salary ranges. Compare the differences between the cities or even try out your own job title.

Top 5 Cities
Sample Salaries and Jobs
Plano, TX
Salaries and Jobs
Aurora, CO
Salaries and Jobs
Omaha, NE
Salaries and Jobs
Minneapolis, MN
Salaries and Jobs
Albuquerque, NM
Salaries and Jobs
Source: June 2008

#1 Plano, Texas

Located within the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area, Plano is the 9th largest city in Texas. A frequent destination for business travelers, it is home to many corporate headquarters. The city has a reputation as one of the best places in the country for employers to do business and for families to live and work. Plano has a nationally acclaimed public education system and well-educated, diverse residents.

#2 Aurora, Colorado

Aurora is part of the Denver Aurora metropolitan area and is the 3rd most populous city in Colorado. Once a budding frontier town of farmers and ranchers just east of Denver, Aurora is now largely a "suburban" city with over 450 neighborhoods. Aurora has a booming economy and is a business leader in key growth industries including biotechnology, aerospace and high technology.

#3 Omaha, Nebraska

Part of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. Omaha has been racially and ethnically diverse since its founding and continues to boast a rich cultural background. With diversification in several industries including banking, insurance, telecommunications, architecture/construction, and transpiration, Omaha's economy has grown dramatically since the 1990's.

#4 Minneapolis, Minnesota

Moving to the Midwest, the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota shows up as #4 on's Salary Value Index list. Minneapolis is part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and is the largest city in the state of Minnesota. The economy is based in commerce, finance, rail and trucking services, health care and industry.

#5 Albuquerque, New Mexico

This fast growing city lying at the center of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, is the largest city in the state of New Mexico. Boasting a newly revitalized downtown area,Albuquerque is a major Southwestern city with a diverse population and some of the leading high tech research facilities in the country.

The Bottom 5

It's no surprise that the high living costs in New York City and Washington, DC have landed these cities at the bottom of the Salary Value Index. These cities do have some of the highest average wages in the country, but when it comes time to stretching your dollar and accumulating a nest egg for the future, it difficult to do in these cities. High living costs also landed Los Angeles, CA, Honolulu, HI, and San Francisco, CA in the bottom 5 Salary Value Index cities.

Bottom 5 Cities
Sample Salaries and Jobs
New York City
Salaries and Jobs
Washington, DC
Salaries and Jobs
Los Angeles, CA
Salaries and Jobs
Honolulu, HI
Salaries and Jobs
San Francisco, CA
Salaries and Jobs
Source: June 2008

2008 Salary Value Index – Complete List of Cities

Find Your City:

City*RankSample Salaries and Jobs
Plano, TX1 Salaries and Jobs
Aurora, CO2 Salaries and Jobs
Omaha, NE3 Salaries and Jobs
Minneapolis, MN4 Salaries and Jobs
Albuquerque, NM5 Salaries and Jobs
Wichita, KS6 Salaries and Jobs
Indianapolis, IN7 Salaries and Jobs
St Paul, MN8 Salaries and Jobs
Oklahoma City, OK9 Salaries and Jobs
Seattle, WA10 Salaries and Jobs
Colorado Springs, CO11 Salaries and Jobs
Tulsa, OK12 Salaries and Jobs
Austin, TX13 Salaries and Jobs
Lexington, KY14 Salaries and Jobs
Charlotte, NC15 Salaries and Jobs
Nashville, TN16 Salaries and Jobs
Raleigh, NC17 Salaries and Jobs
Virginia Beach, VA18 Salaries and Jobs
Anchorage, AK19 Salaries and Jobs
Louisville, KY20 Salaries and Jobs
Kansas City, MO21 Salaries and Jobs
Denver, CO22 Salaries and Jobs
Memphis, TN23 Salaries and Jobs
San Antonio, TX24 Salaries and Jobs
San Jose, CA25 Salaries and Jobs
Las Vegas, NV26 Salaries and Jobs
Milwaukee, WI27 Salaries and Jobs
Houston, TX28 Salaries and Jobs
Cincinnati, OH29 Salaries and Jobs
Columbus, OH30 Salaries and Jobs
Mesa, AZ31 Salaries and Jobs
Riverside, CA32 Salaries and Jobs
Portland, OR33 Salaries and Jobs
Arlington, TX34 Salaries and Jobs
Santa Ana, CA35 Salaries and Jobs
City*RankSample Salaries and Jobs
Corpus Christi, TX36 Salaries and Jobs
Phoenix, AZ37 Salaries and Jobs
Fort Worth, TX38 Salaries and Jobs
Sacramento, CA39 Salaries and Jobs
Bakersfield, CA40 Salaries and Jobs
St Louis, MO41 Salaries and Jobs
Buffalo, NY42 Salaries and Jobs
Toledo, OH43 Salaries and Jobs
Newark, NJ44 Salaries and Jobs
Dallas, TX45 Salaries and Jobs
Tampa, FL46 Salaries and Jobs
Baltimore, MD47 Salaries and Jobs
Pittsburgh, PA48 Salaries and Jobs
Cleveland, OH49 Salaries and Jobs
Jacksonville, FL50 Salaries and Jobs
Oakland, CA51 Salaries and Jobs
Atlanta, GA52 Salaries and Jobs
Tucson, AZ53 Salaries and Jobs
El Paso, TX54 Salaries and Jobs
Philadelphia, PA55 Salaries and Jobs
Chicago, IL56 Salaries and Jobs
Stockton, CA57 Salaries and Jobs
Boston, MA58 Salaries and Jobs
Detroit, MI59 Salaries and Jobs
Fresno, CA60 Salaries and Jobs
Anaheim, CA61 Salaries and Jobs
Long Beach, CA62 Salaries and Jobs
San Diego, CA63 Salaries and Jobs
Miami, FL64 Salaries and Jobs
San Francisco, CA65 Salaries and Jobs
Honolulu, HI66 Salaries and Jobs
Los Angeles, CA67 Salaries and Jobs
Washington, DC68 Salaries and Jobs
New York City69 Salaries and Jobs
*Population > 250,000