Skip to main content

States Ranked by Nurses' 2021 Salaries

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   January 19, 2021

Study also calculated how many hours nurses must work to afford their rent.

Nurses in Hawaii are the best-paid in their profession, according to a comparison conducted by Business.org.

Aloha State nurses make an average of $104,060, putting them at 89% more than the average wage for all other occupations, topping the list of the best-paying states for nurses in 2021.

Washington, D.C., ranks last on the list, where nurses, with an average salary of $94,820, make just 5.6% more than the city’s average salary.

Over 2.9 million nurses work in the United States, making an average salary of $77,460 annually, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That salary is 45% more than the average salary for all other occupations across the country. Nurses in 15 states make more than the national average. 

The study compared the average nursing salary to the average income in each state to find the percentage difference, and calculated how many hours nurses need to work to afford their rent. 

Nationally, nurses work an average of 29.5 hours to be able to afford a month’s rent. The national average income requires 42.7 hours of work to afford rent, which means nursing requires 13.2 hours less of work than the average occupation to afford rent every month.

California pays the highest wage per hour for nurses, at $54.44, but comes in third in the rankings, with an average nursing salary of $113,240, putting nurses at 84.8% more than the average wage for all other occupations.

South Dakota has the lowest wage per hour for nurses at $28.63—which is nearly half what they make in California. Nurses in the Mount Rushmore State average an annual salary of $59,540, placing them at 38.7% more than the average wage for all other occupations. It comes in 30th in the rankings.

Find out how much nurses average in your state and where it ranks on the list: https://www.business.org/hr/employees/best-us-states-for-nurses/

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Hawaii tops the list of the best-paying states for nurses in 2021.

Washington, D.C., ranks last on the list.

U.S. nurses make an average salary of $77,460.


Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.