Best Cities to Be a Healthcare Professional


by Douglas Burger

Healthcare in the U.S. is a multi-trillion dollar industry. It’s also a growing field for many lucrative careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that this collection of occupations will grow 19% between 2014 and 2024, adding 2.3 million new jobs over that span.

The Best Cities for Healthcare Professionals

In order to determine the best cities in the U.S. for healthcare professionals, we looked at 20 data points from five reputable sources to arrive at our rankings. Below you will find our results, as well as a detailed methodology explaining how we arrived at them.

  • Duluth, MN

    • Learning and Working: 3
    • The Patients: 46
    • The Offices: 42
  • Chico, CA

    • Learning and Working: 28
    • The Patients: 27
    • The Offices: 29
  • Asheville, NC

    • Learning and Working: 2
    • The Patients: 97
    • The Offices: 19
  • Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

    • Learning and Working: 4
    • The Patients: 43
    • The Offices: 78
  • Gainesville, FL

    • Learning and Working: 22
    • The Patients: 80
    • The Offices: 7

The Rest of the Best

The five above were tops, but 195 other cities were under consideration. Where did yours rank?

OverallCityLearning and WorkingThe PatientsThe Offices
1Duluth, MN-WI34642
2Chico, CA282729
3Asheville, NC29719
4Durham-Chapel Hill, NC44378
5Gainesville, FL22807
6Utica-Rome, NY55285
7Barnstable Town, MA1111421
8Ann Arbor, MI112044
9Jackson, MS219437
10Roanoke, VA186873
11Sioux Falls, SD417530
12Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY304782
13Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH1077101
14Madison, WI416259
15Topeka, KS1911062
16Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR391295
17Burlington-South Burlington, VT752935
18Lubbock, TX533479
19Lexington-Fayette, KY291621
20Springfield, MA985119
21Wilmington, NC667623
22Pittsburgh, PA618733
23Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA1311991
24Winston-Salem, NC1566146
25North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL4314711
25Springfield, MO481444
27Evansville, IN-KY2318119
28Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT379089
29Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA271919
30Macon, GA5810237
31Charlottesville, VA3649136
32Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD3173123
33Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH2319718
34Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY683393
34Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD1417262
36Trenton, NJ639149
37Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI588374
38Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ1718854
39Charleston, WV4019610
40Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI6415147
41Shreveport-Bossier City, LA3319926
41Worcester, MA-CT4773124
43Providence-Warwick, RI-MA2515984
44Flint, MI2016988
45New Haven-Milford, CT3892130
46Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC578996
46Cleveland-Elyria, OH8179104
46New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA44101110
46Toledo, OH7168117
50Amarillo, TX1125125
51Erie, PA3218256
52Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL7614012
53Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN5017234
54St. Louis, MO-IL6911358
55Brownsville-Harlingen, TX6548133
56Salisbury, MD-DE8212228
57Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA915776
58Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA3318565
59Dayton, OH12180121
59Rochester, NY5841168
61Portland-South Portland, ME871466
62San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA149237
63Canton-Massillon, OH3318680
63Peoria, IL46133107
65Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ49131104
65Kansas City, MO-KS10210722
67Jacksonville, FL1039535
68Birmingham-Hoover, AL7912059
68Lincoln, NE1275627
70Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL8013840
71Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC5187150
71Syracuse, NY9732113
73Albuquerque, NM26160129
73Oklahoma City, OK841703
75Corpus Christi, TX7862125
76Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA7119015
77Ocala, FL8315332
78Binghamton, NY7355152
78Kalamazoo-Portage, MI16165156
80Boise City, ID1115083
81Vallejo-Fairfield, CA923170
82Eugene, OR7215267
82Salem, OR44135140
84McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX8736154
84Tuscaloosa, AL939880
86Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA1421269
87Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN9511662
88Wichita, KS1138361
89Fayetteville, NC7726191
90Boulder, CO1415440
91Fort Collins, CO1367830
92Urban Honolulu, HI8638175
93Greensboro-High Point, NC10466113
94Lynchburg, VA10161126
95Santa Rosa, CA1512266
96Akron, OH55175108
96Modesto, CA1107166
98Killeen-Temple, TX9021193
99Green Bay, WI1238168
100Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA1325875
101Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT1149876
102Chattanooga, TN-GA8516371
103Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN7016699
103Prescott, AZ11815613
103Richmond, VA13141102
106Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL12011749
107Manchester-Nashua, NH10413069
108Columbus, OH53139164
109Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV6719394
110Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA10816739
111Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO10770140
112Anchorage, AK74164113
113Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL11615145
114Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI52142185
115Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN62156154
116Rockford, IL56136187
117Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA1641989
118Cedar Rapids, IA1528845
118San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX12040157
120Fort Wayne, IN61177143
121Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX14537116
121Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA106104127
123Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA15716118
124Savannah, GA1608249
125Charleston-North Charleston, SC99118137
125Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL14014924
127Champaign-Urbana, IL1368597
128Tulsa, OK12918413
129San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA1552145
130Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL100111147
131Knoxville, TN12415457
131Port St. Lucie, FL12515455
133Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA12679130
134Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL87158138
135Salt Lake City, UT13530171
136Lafayette, LA1381942
137Colorado Springs, CO1625992
138Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA1496172
139Bremerton-Silverdale, WA109106153
140Norwich-New London, CT12792133
140Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA17412119
142Columbia, SC122105132
142Fresno, CA1469180
142Olympia-Tumwater, WA130109112
145Raleigh, NC17523110
146Tucson, AZ96141151
147Austin-Round Rock, TX1882887
148Columbus, GA-AL14869127
149San Diego-Carlsbad, CA16210159
150Fort Smith, AR-OK15617115
151Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC139134103
152Stockton-Lodi, CA1594195
153Lansing-East Lansing, MI115142149
153New Orleans-Metairie, LA15419815
155Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC15843163
156Mobile, AL14413799
157Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI118124167
158Baton Rouge, LA14719143
158Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX17638138
158South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI81189177
161Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL16116149
162San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA1811178
163Waco, TX16552160
164Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC16831176
165Montgomery, AL19410849
165Yakima, WA117125186
167Spartanburg, SC134145135
168Tallahassee, FL19260109
169Huntsville, AL17311298
170Lancaster, PA94195178
171Reading, PA98183184
171Salinas, CA18316181
173Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ143126157
174Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA17914198
175College Station-Bryan, TX19325162
175Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL18211594
177Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL20012847
177Memphis, TN-MS-AR152127144
179Bakersfield, CA1888192
179El Paso, TX16943195
181Merced, CA1865200
182Visalia-Porterville, CA18411199
183Appleton, WI16762189
183Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX18771140
185Reno, NV166150106
186Ogden-Clearfield, UT19118190
187Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA18465165
187Kennewick-Richland, WA17196160
189Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS17720048
190Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO19912386
191Provo-Orem, UT19719197
192York-Hanover, PA133177168
193Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV170100173
194Laredo, TX19634194
195Clarksville, TN-KY177103174
196Greeley, CO19072182
197Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI19517472
198Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV179132183
199Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL172148188
200Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC198175121

The Top (and Bottom) Five Cities for...

There are more specific professions within the healthcare industry than one could count. Keeping this in mind, we tried to locate data points that would do the best at encompassing all of these professions. Here a few of our data points explained in more detail.

Median Annual Wage

The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups professions like dentists, surgeons and therapists (along with many others) within a category called Health Practitioners and Technical Operations. We looked at the median annual wage for these professions. Cities in California filled the top 10 spots in this category.

1San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$105,720
2San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$105,660
3Vallejo-Fairfield, CA$104,190
4Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA$97,630
5Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA$96,620
200Lafayette, LA$46,810
199Fort Smith, AR$46,860
198Kingsport-Bristol, TN$47,730
197Shreveport-Bossier City, LA$48,510
196Lynchburg, VA$49,260


Nurses, dental assistants and pharmacy aides are all included in the category of Healthcare Support Occupations. The BLS tells us the number of jobs in this category in each city, and we adjusted it per 1,000 members of the population. This tells us the type of competition there is in each city.

1Brownsville-Harlingen, TX24.2
2Ann Arbor, MI23.7
3Utica-Rome, NY22.1
4Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC21.1
5Durham-Chapel Hill, NC20.8
200Merced, CA6.1
199Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL6.9
198Bakersfield, CA7.1
197Salinas, CA7.1
196Prescott, AZ7.2


The U.S. Census Bureau tells us the number of healthcare and social assistance facilities in each city. These do not include things like aerobic or recreational services, but more where an appropriate educational degree is held by the practitioners.

1St. Louis, MO4.7
2Boulder, CO4.4
3Portland-South Portland, ME3.9
4Anchorage, AK3.8
5Barnstable Town, MA3.7
200Killeen-Temple, TX1.6
199Merced, CA1.7
198Greeley, CO1.7
197Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL1.7
196Champaign-Urbana, IL1.8


In order to determine the best cities for healthcare professionals in the U.S., we looked at 20 data points from five reputable sources. Not all data points had data available for every city. In these cases, cities without a data figure were given a last-placed ranking in that specific category. Incomplete data points were given a lower weighting (in parenthesis below) in order to accommodate for missing data.

We focused on a healthy populace to determine which cities were more desirable for healthcare professionals. For data point number eight, we ranked a city higher with a lower percentage of those aged 60 and older. As people get older, they encounter more complicated health issues.

Data points five and seven focus on the number of jobs (employment) in the given occupation per 1,000 jobs in the given area. So these data points track the density of healthcare jobs in each city.

Our final category focuses on where healthcare professionals work. We thought that the more hospitals and other health-oriented facilities, the better the market and care for these professionals.

Below, we breakdown each statistic and point to its origin. Those marked with an asterisk are state-based (not city-based).

Learning and Working (2)

  1. Best graduate schools for medical research (2016) (.5)
  2. Best graduate schools for primary care (.5) (2016)
  3. Annual median wage for practitioners and technical operations (2015)
  4. Practitioner and technical operations employment per 1,000 jobs (2015)
  5. Practitioner and technical operations employment per 1,000 members of the population (2015)
  6. Annual median wage for healthcare support occupations (2015)
  7. Healthcare support occupations employment per 1,000 jobs (2015)
  8. Healthcare support occupations employment per 1,000 members of the population" (2015)
  9. Median monthly housing cost (2014)

The Patients

  1. Percentage of the population 60 years of age and older (2014)
  2. Percentage of the population uninsured (2014)
  3. Percentage of adults who are self-reported smokers (2015)
  4. Percentage of adults who self-report either binge drinking or chronic drinking (2015)
  5. Number of deaths due to drug injury of any intent (unintentional, suicide, homicide, or undetermined) per 100,000 of the population (2015)
  6. Percentage of adults who are obese by self-report, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher (2015)
  7. Medical malpractice payouts per capita (2015)

The Offices

  1. Number of hospitals per 1,000 members of the population (2014)
  2. Healthcare and social assistance facilities per 1,000 members of the population (2014)
  3. Number of pharmacies and drugs stores per 1,000 members of the population (2014)
  4. Number of veterinary services per 1,000 members of the population] (2014)

Best Cities for...

We can appreciate that the healthcare field is not a one-size-fits-all field, so here are the ideal places specifically for...

Comments and Questions