Best Cities for Geoscientists

As modern science allows us to learn more and more about planet earth it only makes sense that we'll need more geoscientists to help make these cutting-edge, scientific discoveries. There are a multitude of professions that fall under the umbrella of being a geoscientist. Among those are: geologists, oceanographers, paleontologists, seismologists, and geochemists. Their services are needed in a variety of work environments such as offices, laboratories, and outdoor fieldwork.

As of 2010, there were approximately 33,830 geoscientists employed in the United States. These scientists earned a national average salary of $82,500 per year, and $39.66 per hour. The job growth outlook for geoscientists is very good: from 2010 - 2020 the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of geoscientist jobs to grow 21%, faster than the national average of 14%.

So what are some of the best cities for geoscientists?

For a deeper look into the geoscientific field, ValuePenguin reports on the best cities for geoscientists to consider for the best career prospects. We ranked U.S. cities based on three key questions:

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

We ranked cities based on the median annual pay as a substantial factor in the decision process for geoscientists looking for work. Of course, a high salary for a geoscientists in an expensive city may not outweigh a lower salary in an affordable town. That's why we posed our second question... 

Related Tool: Salaries for Geoscientists in the U.S.

2. How expensive is it to live there? 

In conjunction with the median annual salary for geoscientists in the city, cost of living helps determine how far your dollar will go. For this particular variable, cities with lower cost of living ranked highly in our study.

3. What is the location quotient for geoscientists in the city? 

A town with a high average salary and low cost of living may seem perfect, but job opportunities may be limited. Our study factors in cities with a high geoscientist location quotient. Location quotient measures the concentration of geoscientists in the city as a proportion of all occupations relative to the national average. A higher location quotient can be inferred to mean a relatively high demand for geoscientists' services.

Best Cities for Geoscientists

1. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX

Nicknamed the 'Space City' and the 4th most populous city in the US, Houston wins the top spot on our list with a strong showing. First, geoscientists in the Houston area get paid a whoppin $143,710 per year on average. That's almost 80%(!) more than the US median salary of $82,500 for geoscientist professionals. The Houston area also has an extremely high concentration of geoscientists, giving them the 2nd best location quotient in our study. Finally, for a large metropolitan area, Houston is a very affordable place to live. It has the 6th lowest cost of living in our study.

Read more information at our Texas State Profile

2. Midland, TX

Most famous for being the one-time home of the Bush family, Midland is the smallest city to break into our Top 5 and it does so with solid marks across the board. For starters, Midland showcased the highest concentration of geoscientist employment opportunities out of all US cities. 'The Tall City' also boasts an average annual salary that's 25% higher than the national median for geoscientists. Finally, for a city of only 111,000 people, Midland had the 3rd highest gross number of geoscientist jobs (730) on our list.

3. Anchorage, AK

Alaska's most populous city is located in the south-central part of the state. There are plenty of opportunities in Anchorage for geoscientists. Not only does 'The City of Lights and Flowers' have a high concentration of geoscientist jobs per capita, job-seekers can also look forward to a high median salary, $112,470, that helps to offset the cost of living in Anchorage (highest on our list).

4. Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX

This city of 1.2 million residents makes the list in 4th place. The Big D has the lowest concentration of geoscientist jobs in the country but makes up for it with an annual salary of $114,830, or almost 35% higher than the national average. On top of all that, the cost of living in the Dallas area is very reasonable which means your dollar will go a long way. It's tied for 1st on our list for the cheapest cost of living.

5. Tulsa, OK

Another American south-central city rounds out the Top 5. Tulsa is in the southwest region of Louisiana and is the 5th most populous city in the 'Sooner State'. While Tulsa only has 190 geoscientist jobs in town, it benefits from the 2nd highest average annual salary of in our study, $126,000, and a cost of living that's tied with Dallas for the lowest on our list.

Related: Statistics for Tulsa, OK

Top Twenty Best Cities for Geoscientists

RankCityMedian SalaryJobsLocation QuotientCost of LivingScore
1Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX$143,7107,72010.88992
2Midland, TX$103,38073035.49473
3Anchorage, AK$112,4704108.813570
4Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX$114,8307101.38867
5Tulsa, OK$126,0001901.78865
6Gulfport-Biloxi, MS$92,73028010.29165
7Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO$102,4501,6204.911064
8Lafayette, LA$106,1501403.59463
9Tyler, TX$164,8005029062
10New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA$100,3504002.99358
11Corpus Christi, TX$104,210801.78658
12Abilene, TX$88,880603.78557
13Bakersfield-Delano, CA$120,5601301.79756
14Reno-Sparks, NV$80,4602404.89453
15Fort-Worth-Arlington, TX$103,4903001.39052
16Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA$97,3106402.911750
17Casper, WY$75,760908.29846
18Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA$104,9703601.414442
19Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA$109,070902.0616741
20Boulder, CO$88,3601704.014540


1. Median Salary: cities with the highest median annual salary for healthcare social workers, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data as of May 2012

2. Cost of Living: cities with the lowest cost of living, with data sourced from Sperling's Best Places COL Calculator. Data as of July 2013

3. Employment: cities with the highest location quotient metrics, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data as of May 2012

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