Incomes differ significantly based on where you live. It’s important to know your realistic earning potential before you move to a new state. The fastest growing states feature mountains or sunny beaches.
The median hourly wage for registered nurses is $33.65, approximately $70,000 per year. The lowest paid (10th percentile) of nurses make $48,690 per year while the highest paid RNs (90th percentile) earn slightly over $104,000 annually. Use this information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to make relevant comparisons.
RN Earning Potential in the Fastest Growing States
Nevada- RNs in Nevada enjoy strong earning power. The mean wage is over $40 per hour. This fact means that registered nurses in the 50th percentile earn $85,020, the highest median income of any state in this survey.
Idaho- The Gem State experienced 2.1% population growth last year. Registered nurses in Idaho, however, do not have high earnings at this time. The median annual income for Idaho nurses is $5,480 less than the national median.
Utah- The Beehive State has strong population growth, but wages that nurses make in Utah are lower than other states, too. The median annual income for a registered nurse is only $61,470, 12% lower than the national median. RNs in the 90th percentile make only $81,430 compared to $104,000+ nationally.
Arizona- The Grand Canyon State experienced 1.7% population growth from 2017-2018. Nurses in Arizona make close to the national median. RNs in the 50th percentile earn $74,260 per year while the best paying nurses receive over $99,000 annually.
Florida- Florida surpassed New York to become the third largest state this decade. With its beautiful beaches, you probably asked yourself at one point, “What do nurses make in Florida?” The answer is, frankly, not much.
The median income for an RN in Florida is only $63,060. That is almost 10% per year less than U.S. median. Even the best paid nurses in Florida only make $84,530 per year.
Washington- The median nurse in Washington state makes 10% more than the median for nurses in America. Washington RNs earn more whether they are entry-level, mid-career, or experienced. In fact, nurses in the 90th percentile get $112,000+ annually there, the highest of any fast-growing state.
Colorado- The beauty of the Rocky Mountains serves as a magnet to draw people to Colorado. The median income for nurses there is very close to the national figure ($71,280 for Colorado vs. $70,000 nationally). Entry-level nurses (10th percentile) make more, while the most senior nurses (90th percentile) earn less than their peers nationally.
Texas- Texas added over 379,000 people last year. That is like moving the entire population of Anaheim, CA (and then some) to the state. Many professionals want to know what nurses make in Texas.
The answer is that Texas nurses have incomes in line with the nation. The $70,730 median nurse income is almost exactly the same as the national figure. However, nurses in the 90th percentile make slightly less than higher earning RNs elsewhere.
South Carolina- South Carolina ranked 9th for both percentage and overall numeric population growth. South Carolina nurses, unfortunately, make noticeably less than their peers. The median income is $8,460 less than the national median.
North Carolina- The Tarheel State rounds out the top ten fastest growing states. Incomes for nurses are not a reason to move there. North Carolina nurses had the lowest median income of any state in this analysis. In fact, North Carolina RNs in the 90th percentile earn less than the median nurse in Nevada.
Carefully Consider a Move
A variety of factors drive population growth. Warm climates are the norm. Several states on this list have no income tax. Most have reasonably priced housing.
As a nurse, you must be careful. Nurses in some states earn strong incomes (Nevada, Washington), but nurses in others have lower earning potential (North and South Carolina). Compare these factors against cost of living statistics, your own household’s financial needs, and your reasons for considering a move. Have a good idea of what incomes await you if you relocate to a fast-growing state.
Feedback From You
Have you considered moving to any of these states? Did these facts make you think differently about a move (positive or negative)? Get the conversation started!