Best Cities for Dentists

Few people actually like going to the dentist, although 62% of American adults (ages 18 to 64) made at least one visit in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while a happy patient would seem to make for a happier dentist, we at ValuePenguin are more focused on place than emotion; it's easier to measure. With that, here are our best cities for dentists, which we have settled upon after considering the following four data points:number of jobs, median salary, cost of living and location quotient.

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Best Five Cities for Dentists

Of the 88 cities reporting data, these five earned our best score, comprising the aforementioned factors. Chief among them is the average paycheck: The 97,990 dentists employed in the U.S. in May 2014 earned a median salary of $149,540, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Port St. Lucie, FL

With the study's third-best annual average salary ($227,870) and location quotient (2.47), Port St. Lucie is our best city for dentists. The 230 working here also enjoy living where the cost of living is 9% cheaper than the average American city.

2. Colorado Springs, CO

The only city to record a sub-30 score in our study, Colorado Springs sprang to second place, in part, because it recorded the country's 10th-highest annual average salary for dentists ($209,360). This figure is 23% higher than the study's average ($170,855). The Colorado Dental Association is closer to Denver, an hour's drive north of Colorado Springs, the state's second-most populous city.

3. Prescott, AZ

Coming in third, Prescott's performance in our four metrics earned a cumulative numerical score of 37, which is 61% lower (and therefore, better) than the study's average. The Arizona city recorded top-15 totals in both annual average salary ($205,550) and location quotient (1.59).

4. Lake County, IL

Lake County -- and its metro area partner, Kenosha County, WI -- slides right into the penultimate spot of our top five. With 330 dentists, it employs the most among our top 10 cities but still pales in comparison to the usual suspects: Los Angeles (2,770), Chicago (2,290) and Washington, D.C., (1,960). Fifty miles south of Lake County sits the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Dentistry, one of the country's more respected schools.

Statistical region includes Kenosha County, WI

5. Redding, CA

The first of eight California cities to crack our top 25 (see top 100 below), Redding accrued a score of 49, which was 49% lower (and therefore, better) than the study's average. This was despite the fact that there are just 60 dentists in the city. Redding also ranked as ValuePenguin's No. 1 city for registered nurses.

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small city to a large one. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: cities with populations less than 100,000 people, midsize cities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 500,000. Here are our findings:

Best Cities for Dentists list of cities and towns

Top 50 Cities for Dentists

Here are the top 50 cities for dentists to work and live.

Rank

CityAverage SalaryJobsLocation QuotientCost of LivingScore

1

Port St. Lucie, FL$227,8702302.479110

2

Colorado Springs, CO$209,3602901.6010028

3

Prescott, AZ$205,550701.5910837

4

Lake County, IL$222,2003301.149444

5

Redding, CA$200,740601.5211149

6

Wilmington, DE$221,0202701.1110249

7

Santa Cruz, CA$219,670801.1915451

8

Fresno, CA$170,2703801.5910158

9

Dothan, AL$217,000501.158859

10

Rome, GA$186,680401.538961

11

San Jose, CA$156,1501,2601.7918762

12

Anchorage, AK$219,7801301.0613562

13

San Luis Obispo, CA$216,930901.1016563

14

Fayetteville, AR$189,0801901.208664

15

Bridgeport, CT$173,2704401.4414365

16

Augusta, GA$197,8101601.099168

17

Idaho Falls, ID$250,310400.989069

18

West Palm Beach, FL$164,8405801.4610269

19

Florence, AL$195,310401.189271

20

Salinas, CA$193,9101301.1112071

21

Cedar Rapids, IA$213,1401001.009374

22

Vallejo, CA$154,2801501.7211174

23

El Centro, CA$184,170501.2810176

24

Albany, GA$211,070401.038877

25

Hartford, CT$201,8803800.9411778

26

Sacramento, CA$184,5206801.0911779

27

Visalia, CA$145,0701901.8910380

28

Jonesboro, AR$156,140601.538781

29

Miami, FL$161,3009201.2111282

30

Fort Collins, CO$139,8102202.1710983

31

Tucson, AZ$155,7103301.299184

32

Fort Lauderdale, FL$134,8309201.689786

33

Santa Ana, CA$155,0701,3701.2715586

34

Ocala, FL$144,0101101.598688

35

Atlanta, GA$190,5601,5400.8911089

36

Bakersfield, CA$150,3002901.349691

37

Crestview, FL$229,380400.7010191

38

Flagstaff, AZ$146,840601.5511592

39

Honolulu, HI$172,7203501.0718892

40

Little Rock, AR$205,0001800.738993

41

Tampa, FL$174,8808300.978994

42

San Diego, CA$172,0409901.0315295

43

Lake Havasu City, AZ$110,7001003.079395

44

Savannah, GA$221,640700.589195

45

Des Moines, IA$192,3902000.809197

46

Boulder, CO$187,0301200.9614597

47

Sebastian, FL$128,530702.099598

48

Rockford, IL$152,0801301.198498

49

Washington, DC$151,3801,9601.1415799

50

Orlando, FL$201,5404600.5890100

Methodology

These were the three key questions we asked in coming up with the list.

1. What can dentists earn in the city?

We ranked the best cities for dentists based on the average annual pay. Income is likely the most important factor people consider when starting their career or relocating elsewhere. A high salary in an expensive city, however, may be less attractive than a lower salary in an affordable town. Our next metric takes affordability into consideration.

2. How affordable is it to live in this city?

Now that we have the average salary, we’ll look next at the cost of living. The cost of living is a measure of how far earnings can be stretched. Cities with lower cost of living index numbers ranked higher in our study. For example, the average city is benchmarked at 100. A city with a cost of living index of 188, such as Honolulu, would mean that generally speaking, living expenses are 88 percent more expensive compared to the average city.

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

A place with a high average salary and low cost of living may seem perfect, but job opportunities may be limited. Our third factor accounts for this by favoring cities with high location quotients. Location quotient measures the concentration of dentists in an area as a percentage of all occupations, and then compares that to the national average. We interpret a higher location quotient to mean a relatively higher demand for a dentist's services.

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