There are more than 3 million registered nurses in the United States. These healthcare professionals are on the front lines of the medical industry – working long hours, providing medical treatment to patients and monitoring their recovery. The aging baby boomer generation is creating greater demand for healthcare in many places and some cities have become major hubs for healthcare providers.

To determine job availability, we teamed up with Indeed, the world’s largest job site by users, to find the ten metro areas with the most job listings for registered nurses. Indeed also provided us with the average salary data for nurses. We pulled median rent and home prices based on 2013 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

SpareFoot crunched the numbers to find the best areas for nurses based on the following factors: job availability, average annual salary, median home price and median annual rent. We ranked each metro by factor and combined the rankings (giving double weight to job availability) to determine an overall ranking. Below are the results:

10. San Diego, CA

San Diego has the least affordable monthly apartment rent compared to the other cities on the list. With median annual rent adding up to $15,600, rent will take up more than a fifth of a nurse’s average annual salary of $69,000. Buying a home in San Diego isn’t that much more affordable.


Percent share of top ten (rounded): 9.3% (Ranked 6th)
Average annual salary:  $69,000 (Ranked 6th)
Median home price: $402,100
Salary as a percentage of home price: 17.2 % (Ranked 9th)
Median annual rent: $15,600
Rent as a percentage of income: 22.6% (Ranked 10th)
Major employers: UC San Diego Health, Scripps Health,Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center, Navy Medical Center at Balboa Hospital, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

If you’re considering a move to San Diego, check out our San Diego Moving Guide

9. Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix has the lowest average annual salary ($58,000) on the list, but it ranks fourth for the percentage of jobs available among all of the top ten cities.

Downtown Phoenix Skyline

Percent share of top ten (rounded): 10.3% (Ranked 4th)
Average annual salary: $58,000 (Ranked 10th)
Median home price: $170,700
Salary as a percentage of home price:  34% (Ranked 5th)
Median annual rent: $11,328
Rent as a percentage of income: 19.5% (Ranked 8th)
Major employers: Banner Health,St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center

8. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore boasts an average annual salary of $73,000, the fourth highest amongst other cities on the list. But there are less available jobs here compared to most other cities on the list—jobs in Baltimore account for 8 percent of jobs listed in the top ten cities.

Baltimore Row Houses

Percent share of top ten (rounded): 8 percent (Ranked 9th)
Average annual salary: $73,000 (Ranked 4th)
Median home price: $281,400
Salary as a percentage of home price:  25.9% (Ranked 7th)
Median annual rent: $13,452
Rent as a percentage of income:  18.4% (Ranked 7th)
Major employers: Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, University of Maryland Medical System, Medstar Health, LifeBridge Health, Mercy Health Services.

7. Austin, TX

Austin is one of four Texas cities on the list, which shows the Lone Star state is a prime destination for registered nurses.


Percent share of top ten (rounded): 8.4% (Ranked 7th)
Average annual salary: $65,000 (Ranked 7th)
Median home price: $192,000
Salary as a percentage of home price: 33.9% (Ranked 6th)
Median annual rent:  $11,858
Rent as a percentage of income:  18.2% (Ranked 6th)
Major employers: Seton Family of Hospitals, St. David’s HealthCare Partnership, Austin Regional Clinic

6. Los Angeles, CA

While the City of Angels offered the second highest number of jobs in the top ten (12.4 percent) and the second highest average annual salary ($74,000), the high cost of housing in the metro area knocks L.A. down in ranking to number six overall. L.A. had the least affordable home prices for nurses, with a median home price of $448,000.

Los Angeles CA

Percent share of top ten (rounded): 12.4% (Ranked 2nd)
Average annual salary: $74,000 (Ranked 2nd)
Median home price: $448,000
Salary as a percentage of home price: 16.5% (Ranked 10th)
Median annual rent: $15,156
Rent as a percentage of income: 20.5% (Ranked 9th)
Major employers: UCLA Health System, Cedar Sinai Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, LAC-USC Medical Center

If you’re considering a move to Los Angeles, check out our Los Angeles Moving Guide

5. San Antonio, TX

San Antonio had the smallest share of jobs among the top ten with 7.9 percent. The average annual salary of $62,000 is the second lowest on the list. But San Antonio is relatively affordable to live in, coming in fourth place on affordability of homes and apartments.

River Walk in San Antonio, Texas USA

Percent share of top ten (rounded): 7.9% (Ranked 10th)
Average annual salary: $62,000 (Ranked 9th)
Median home price: $131,100
Salary as a percentage of home price: 47.3% (Ranked 4th)
Median annual rent:  $10,092
Rent as a percentage of income:  16.3% (Ranked 4th)
Major employers: Methodist Healthcare System, Baptist Health System, Christus Santa Rosa Health Care

4. Seattle, WA

Seattle has the third highest average salary for nurses on the list, at an average of $74,000.

Seattle skyline

Percent share of top ten (rounded): 9.4% (Ranked 5th)
Average annual salary: $74,000 (Ranked 3rd)
Median home price: $321,500
Salary as a percentage of home price: 23 percent (Ranked 8th)
Median annual rent: $13,200
Rent as a percentage of income: (Ranked 5th)
Major employers: GroupHealth, Providence Health Services, The Polyclinic, Seattle Children’s

If you’re considering a move to Seattle, check out our Seattle Moving Guide

3. Dallas, TX

Dallas is surprisingly affordable for a nurse making the average annual salary of $71,000 (fifth on our list). The metro area ranks third for both annual rent as a percentage of income (15.3 percent) and for salary as a percentage of home price (47.3 percent).

Downtown Dallas

Percent share of top ten (rounded): 8.3% (Ranked 8th)
Average annual salary: $71,000 (Ranked 5th)
Median home price: $150,000
Salary as a percentage of home price: 47.3% (Ranked 3rd)
Median annual rent: $10,848
Rent as a percentage of income: 15.3% (Ranked 3rd)
Major employers: Texas Health Resources, Baylor Health System,UT-Southwestern Medical Center.

If you’re considering a move to Dallas, check out our Dallas Moving Guide

2. Tulsa, OK

This metro area might not have the highest-paying salary on the list ($62,000), but the cost of housing is very affordable, coming in second place for both apartments and homes.

Tulsa, OK

Percent share of top ten (rounded): 11.4% (Ranked 3rd)
Average annual salary: $62,000 (Ranked 8th)
Median home price: $127,800
Salary as a percentage of home price:  48.5% (Ranked 2nd)
Median annual rent: $8,820
Rent as a percentage of income: 14.2% (Ranked 2nd)
Major employers: Hillcrest Healthcare System, OSU Medical Center, Saint Francis Healthcare System, St. John Health System

1. Houston, TX

Ranking first in every category, Houston is hands-down the best metro area for registered nurses. At 14.6 percent, the Houston metro made up the largest share of nursing jobs among the top ten. Combined with the highest average salary and the most affordable housing options, RNs can enjoy a high standard of living in Bayou City.

Aerial view of Houston, Texas

Percent share of top ten (rounded): 14.6% (Ranked 1st)
Average annual salary: $78,000 (Ranked 1st)
Median home price: $141,400
Salary as a percentage of home price:  55% (Ranked 1st)
Median annual rent: $10,728
Rent as a percentage of income: 13.8% (Ranked 1st)
Major employers: Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, The Methodist Hospital, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Baylor College of Medicine

If you’re considering a move to Houston, check out our Houston Moving Guide

Want to take a deeper dive into industry statistics? Click here to check out more job trend data from And if you’re moving to one of these cities and need storage, SpareFoot can help you compare by amenity, location, price, and more. 

Alexander Harris