Which Pasture Is Really Greener? A Research Note on Salary Studies

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Executive SummaryRegistered nurses' salaries vary widely across the United States; they are highest in the Pacific region and lowest in the East South Central region.However, state-level rankings appear quite different when absolute wages are adjusted for the cost of living in each state.State-level average RN salaries came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state-level cost of living index was developed by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, using data from the quarterly survey of living costs in American cities conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association.Results show that states which fall in the top quartile based on their average RN salary often move to the third or fourth quartile after adjustment for cost of living, while states with relatively low RN salary levels often move up in the ranking.Recruiters in states with lower salaries and lower costs of living may find these results useful in demonstrating the competitiveness of their salaries.

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