Best Cities for Actuaries

Over the past several years, the actuarial profession has routinely ranked as one of the most desirable jobs in America. Reputable studies from sources such as Career Cast have cited a high median salary, promising job growth, and low unemployment as the rationale for ranking an actuarial career as tops in the nation.

For a deeper look into the actuary field, ValuePenguin decided to rank the top U.S cities for an actuary to consider for the best career prospects. We ranked U.S. cities based on three key questions:

1. How much money do actuaries make in the city?

While a high annual salary is more important to some people than others, we think it's fair to consider average annual pay as a substantial factor in the decision making process for actuaries looking for work. Of course, a high salary in an expensive city may not outweigh a lower salary in an affordable town. That's why we posed our second question...

2. How expensive is it to live there?

In conjunction with the average annual salary for a particular city, cost of living helps determine how far your dollar will go for items you'll be spending your hard-earned dollars on. For this particular variable, cities with the lowest cost of living ranked highly in our study.

3. Are there a plethora of job opportunities in the immediate area?

A town with a high average salary and low cost of living may seem perfect. But if there are a very limited number of actuarial job opportunities than we think the city as a whole is a less valuable destination for actuaries. Our study takes this into account and gives a high employment weighting to cities with lots of jobs.

Top Cities for Actuaries

1. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia doesn't place tops in any of our categories but does score consistently well across all three. Their cost of living comes in at around the national average which is rare for a large city. Philadelphia has the third highest employment number indicating that there are plenty of actuarial jobs in the City of Brotherly Love. Average annual salary also ranks third in our study. Amongst Philadelphia's top actuarial employers are MetLife, ING, Towers Watson, ACE Group, and Milliman.

For information on insurance in Pennsylvania, click here

2. Dallas, TX

The one knock on an actuarial career in Dallas is that it doesn't have quite as many jobs as other large cities. That being said, the average actuary makes a whopping $118,000 per year in a city who's cost of living is lower than the national average (and the 2nd lowest on our list). Top Dallas employers include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Fidelity, and Towers Watson.

Related: Other car insurance data for Dallas, TX

3. New York, NY

The Big Apple ranks third in our top cities for actuaries survey due in large part to the 2,000+ actuarial positions. New York City also had the highest average annual salary of any city in the country, $127,550. So what's not to like? As most people probably know, New York is expensive (2nd most expensive on our list) which pulls it down from potentially taking the top spot. Largest employers of actuaries in NYC include Prudential Financial, MetLife, Towers Watson, and New York Life Insurance.

4. Columbus, OH

With an average salary north of $100,000 per year, Columbus has a lot going for it if you're an actuary. Not only does it pay well, but it's the cheapest city to live in of the top 10 metro areas. Columbus actuarial jobs can be found at such companies as Nationwide Financial, State Auto Insurance, and Mercer Insurance Group.

5. Kansas City, MO

Kansas City scores well across the board. A very competitive average annual salary, a cost of living that's below the national average, and almost 400 employed actuaries already living in the area place KC inside of the Top 5. Top actuarial employers in Kansas City include firms such as Kansas City Life Insurance Company, Americo Life, Assurant Employee Benefits, and Employers Reassurance Corp.

See complete chart of Best Places for Actuaries to Work, including #6-10 below

Rank

CityAverage Annual SalaryCost of LivingEmploymentFinal Score
1Philadelphia, PA$112,72010169083.3

2

Dallas, TX$118,0408834078.3

3

New York, NY$127,5501272,31076.7

4

Columbus, OH$104,7108742071.6

5

Kansas City, MO$111,4209439070.0

6

Minneapolis, MIN$111,29010562066.7

7

Atlanta, GA$99,5709442061.8

8

Hartford, CT$99,17010566056.5

9

Chicago, IL$98,07010568055.1

10

Boston, MA$106,42014975051.9

Study Methodology

  1. Average Salary: cities with the highest average annual salary

  2. Cost of Living: cities with the lowest cost of living. Data sourced from Sperling's Best Places COL Calculator.

  3. Employment: cities with the highest number of actuarial jobs

We included the 20 cities with the highest numbers of actuarial employment opportunities.

Brian is a ValuePenguin Co-Founder. He previously worked in the financial services industry as an Associate at NASDAQ OMX and a Risk Analyst at Avenue Capital Group.