Want A Raise? Consider A Move To One Of These Cities

by Ron Haynes

P8150013.JPGDoes where you live have an effect on your salary? According to CareerBuilder it does. Their research into salary changes from 2007 show that while inflation was around 4.1 percent (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), the average raise was only 3.4 percent. My raise last year was 3.9 percent and since inflation is running in the 5 to 6 percent range this year, I’m personally hoping to get a little better one this year.

How about you? What kind of raise are you anticipating this year? What do you base that on? Do you have any control (through performance bonuses) over how much you make?

In case you’re interested, here are the US cities with the fasted wage growth from 2007 going into 2008:

  • College Station-Bryan, Texas had 9.5 percent growth in salary
  • Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi had 7.2 percent growth in salary
  • New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, Louisiana had 6.8 percent growth in salary
  • Redding, California had 5.9 percent growth in salary
  • Merced, California had 5.7 percent growth in salary
  • Boise City-Nampa, Idaho had 5.5 percent growth in salary
  • Dover, Delaware. had 5.4 percent growth in salary
  • Pocatello, Idaho had 5.3 percent growth in salary
  • Baltimore-Towson, Maryland. had 5.3 percent growth in salary
  • Wilmington, Delaware-Maryland.-New Jersey had 5.2 percent growth in salary

And here are the slowest wage growth cities:

  • Florence-Muscle Shoals, Alaabama had 0.1 percent growth in salary
  • Ocala, Florida had 0.9 percent growth in salary
  • Alexandria, Louisiana had 0.9 percent growth in salary
  • Kalamazoo-Portage, Michigan had 0.9 percent growth in salary
  • Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, Michigan had 1 percent growth in salary
  • Springfield, Illinois. had 1.1 percent growth in salary
  • Visalia-Porterville, California had 1.1 percent growth in salary
  • Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Massachusetts. had 1.2 percent growth in salary
  • Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa had 1.2 percent growth in salary
  • Decatur, Alabama. had 1.4 percent growth in salary

The big question is: Are you willing to move in order to get a larger raise? I’ve moved to accept positions with more responsibility and pay before, but like I said in , I put myself in the position of having to take those positions because of crushing consumer debt.

Not any more. The next move I make will be because I want to.

[tags]careerbuilder, consumer, debt, decision, salary, statistics, raise[/tags]

photo credit: bjornmeansbear

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1000 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

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I wonder if New Orleans’ and Gulfport’s placement on this list are reflective of people who have moved to the area and are charging a premium (gouging) for post-Katrina cleanup and repairs. Just a thought!


A much more likely scenario is that companies are having to pay a premium to get people to live there. I know my company has had tremendous difficulties getting people to move to the areas affected by Katrina. Housing costs have skyrocketed because of increase insurance costs and code restrictions on re-building. Up until just recently, we were competing with burger joints for people because they were offering $12/hour plus signing bonuses.

Everything is affected by supply and demand. When supply is short, prices rise. When supply is plentiful, prices drop. When demand is low, prices drop. When demand is high, prices rise.


I would bet money that the reason Merced is because of the, new, rapidly growing University of California campus. In an area that is (was) primarily agricultural and industrial, the school is attracting typically higher wage workers, like professors, deans and administrators. I imagine that some of the other cities have had similar situations, with new or rapidly growing industries.


Ron, I really couldn’t think of any other reason for Gulfport, MS to be on that list. Thanks for offering a much less cynical explanation!


Interesting list.

I was born and raised in Merced, CA (moved away for grad school)…and I’m wondering where that wage growth occurred! Mary’s comment about UCM attracting Deans, professors, and the like may be correct–but unless you’re moving to Merced to be part of that UCM employee network, I would bet money you will not experience a portion of that 5.7% wage growth.


As a mortgage professional, I have had the unfortunate opportunity to tell people that they cannot afford to live where they want to. The challenge that sometimes arises in these cases is matching a salary with a cost of living. For example, if your income increases, but your cost of living increases by more you are in worse shape.

Perhaps I am stating the obvious, but my point is that looking at the cost of living can be just as big (or greater) of a factor as the percentage of salary increases.

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