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Cities where people work the least for the most money

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Milan Bruchter // Shutterstock

Cities where people work the least for the most money

If given the opportunity, who wouldn’t want to be in a place where they can work fewer hours for more money? If that formula sounds attractive, it's important to know that not all cities are created equal. In America, median personal earnings are $32,141 while the national average for hours worked in a week is 38.7—but those numbers can swing wildly depending on where a person lives and works.

Stacker analyzed 382 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United States and identified the top 77 where people work the least amount of hours for the most money. This was achieved by evaluating the regions that were in the top 20% in terms of median personal earnings and then ranking those regions from most to least hours worked in a week.

Data for average hours worked and median personal earnings come from the 2017 American Community Survey while MSA price parity statistics come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Ties were broken by factoring in the adjusted median earnings from the 2016 BEA MARPP Regional Price Parities by MSA.

Read on to learn of the 77 cities in the U.S. that work the least for the most money. 

RELATED: Places where people work the longest 

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Lucy Maude Ellis // Flickr

#77. Midland, TX

Average hours worked: 42.9 (10.9% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $40,536 (26.1% above national median)

Perched in the heart of the Permian Basin Oil Fields, the Midland region is and has for a long time been a city built on energy. While the financial services sector now has a foothold there, oil and gas still dominate the metro region and the livelihoods of its 171,000 residents.

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Gaut.Chris // Wikimedia Commons

#76. Houma-Thibodaux, LA

Average hours worked: 42 (8.5% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,155 (9.4% above national median)

The Houma-Thibodaux region is losing residents, job growth has stalled into negative territory, and unemployment is high, creeping up toward 5%. However, it still boasts a unique hotbed of culture, cuisine, art, and entertainment, much of which revolves around the region's unique Cajun heritage and elaborate Mardi Gras festivities.

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kla4067 // Flickr

#75. Fairbanks, AK

Average hours worked: 41.6 (7.5% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,247 (9.7% above national median)

The defense and telecommunications industries dominate Fairbanks along with education, thanks to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The international airport there also provides jobs and economic lift to the area's nearly 100,000 residents, as do the local military bases that employ nearly one in three of those residents.

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MrHicks46 // Flickr

#74. Anchorage, AK

Average hours worked: 41.2 (6.5% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $37,033 (15.2% above national median)

Much of the Anchorage economy relies on the region's natural resources, geographical location, energy stores, and transportation infrastructure. Ted Stevens International Airport is the #5 busiest in the world in terms of cargo, and the region is home to significant military bases as well as to several prominent colleges. The beautiful, rugged, and remote region of coastal Alaska also draws legions of tourists from around the world.

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dconvertini // Flickr

#73. Cheyenne, WY

Average hours worked: 41 (5.9% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $34,903 (8.6% above national median)

Fewer than 575,000 people live in the entire state of Wyoming, and close to 100,000 of them are concentrated in the Cheyenne region. The local Air Force base and the National Guard employ many locals as do the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads.

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Josh Hallett // Flickr

#72. Casper, WY

Average hours worked: 40.6 (4.9% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,308 (9.9% above national median)

Although local colleges and cultural centers play a significant role in the region, Casper is nicknamed Oil City for a reason. Energy still defines the economy and the livelihoods of the metro region's nearly 80,000 residents.

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#71. Bismarck, ND

Average hours worked: 40.4 (4.4% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $41,138 (28% above national median)

Vast swaths of both North Dakota and South Dakota are anchored by the economy of the Bismarck metropolitan region, where unemployment is low and the median household income is high. Art, culture, and tourism play a major role in the area, but the government is the main employer in the region. Private industry is dominated by health care and financial services sectors.

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AevanStock // Shutterstock

#70. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

Average hours worked: 40 (3.4% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,245 (9.7% above national median)

Forbes ranks the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington region as one of the 40 best places for business and careers in all the United States. Nearly 2.5 million people live in the region, and that number is rising thanks to steady population growth. Tourism and cultural centers cash in on the region's wild history of cowboy culture. The military has a major presence there. The region is bursting with colleges and universities, and the energy, technology, and aviation industries have grown deep roots there.

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Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#69. Grand Island, NE

Average hours worked: 40 (3.4% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,362 (10% above national median)

Several Nebraska counties make up the relatively new Grand Island metropolitan region, where education and transportation dominate the economy. The median home price there is just $133,000, and the cost of living is a full 13% below the national average.

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Calstanhope // Wikimedia Commons

#68. Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, KY

Average hours worked: 39.9 (3.1% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,361 (10% above national median)

More than 150,000 people now call the Elizabethtown-Fort Knoxk region home, and the population continues to grow. Conveniently located between the hotspots of Nashville and Louisville, the area has a relatively low cost of living and thriving education, service, and tourism industries.

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Jordan Michael Winn // Wikimedia Commons

#67. Tulsa, OK

Average hours worked: 39.7 (2.6% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,108 (9.2% above national median)

Located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Oklahoma's Green Country, the Tulsa region is no longer dependent almost exclusively on the oil industry. Successful diversification efforts have attracted significant investment and commitment from major players in the telecommunications, financial services, and aerospace industries.

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KBaucherel // Pixabay

#66. Austin-Round Rock, TX

Average hours worked: 39.7 (2.6% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,282 (12.9% above national median)

Austin-Round Rock's population of 2.12 million people contains a disproportionate number of highly educated young people who flocked there, in part, for the lucrative tech, biotech, and pharmaceutical jobs that give the region a high median household income of more than $73,000 a year. There's also South by Southwest (SXSW), a globally recognized music festival that has helped make Austin a destination city for culture, nightlife, and the arts. Forbes named the metro area—which is home to the flagship campus of The University of Texas System—the #8 best place in America for business and careers.

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12019 // Pixabay

#65. Columbus, IN

Average hours worked: 39.6 (2.3% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $37,268 (16% above national median)

Historic buildings, dazzling architecture, and small-town charm give Columbus much of its appeal, but the technology industry is responsible for its economic heft. The cost of living in the city of 80,000 is low—13% below the national average—and the median home price is just $150,000. 

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Bobak Ha’Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#64. Wausau, WI

Average hours worked: 39.5 (2.1% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,374 (10.1% above national median)

Insurance and tourism are the major industries in Wausau, the latter of which draws visitors to its annual blues festival and the natural splendor of its 37 city parks. The region is also one of the epicenters of the American ginseng industry as well as a major source of natural red granite.

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James Willamor // Wikimedia Commons

#63. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

Average hours worked: 39.4 (1.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,489 (10.4% above national median)

In 2018, the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia area was the #19 fastest-growing metro region in the country, experiencing population increases greater than 2% both last year and in 2017. Charlotte is home to America's sixth-busiest hub airport and the LendingTree company headquarters, and it will soon host Honeywell company headquarters.

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terren in Virginia // Flickr

#62. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

Average hours worked: 39.4 (1.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,663 (11% above national median)

Home to nearly 6 million people, the Atlanta Metro region, which includes Roswell and Sandy Springs, has the #5 largest population of any metropolitan region in the country. Job growth in the information sector has been taking off, with a nearly 20% uptick in information jobs between 2012 and 2017, with the city now boasting a total of 97,400 information-related positions. Delta Airlines, Turner Broadcasting, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and other major companies all have their world headquarters located in business-friendly Atlanta.

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jmd41280 // Flickr

#61. Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA

Average hours worked: 39.4 (1.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,718 (11.1% above national median)

Otherwise known as Franklin County, the Chambersburg-Waynesboro region is a fairly new statistical metropolitan area. As a South-Central Pennsylvania farming community, agribusiness naturally dominates the economy of Franklin County, with barley, wheat, and corn serving as the main crops. 

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M Floyd // Flickr

#60. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

Average hours worked: 39.4 (1.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,133 (12.4% above national median)

Although Montgomery is the state capital, Birmingham is the beating heart of culture and entertainment in Alabama, and it has the ballet company, opera house, art galleries, orchestra, and music, film, and art festivals to prove it. The steel, telecommunications, and financial services sectors drive the economy—coal giant Drummond is headquartered there.  

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JefferyTurner // Flickr

#59. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

Average hours worked: 39.4 (1.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,474 (13.5% above national median)

Aerospace, technology, and telecommunications are the main economic drivers in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood region, with companies like the Dish Network anchoring their corporate headquarters there. At nearly $75,000 a year, the median household income is high compared to the country as a whole and housing costs are even higher—the median home price is $449,000. The region is a draw to new residents and tourists alike thanks to world-class arts, entertainment, and culture as well as its status as an outdoor paradise.

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inkknife_2000 (10 million + views) // Flickr

#58. Sioux Falls, SD

Average hours worked: 39.4 (1.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,593 (13.9% above national median)

Sioux Falls is currently ranked by Forbes as the #1 best small city in America for business and careers. The cultural heart of the state, the Sioux Falls region, was long dependent on agriculture and quarrying, but it has since undergone a transformation of economic diversification. The downtown area is booming with entertainment and culture, and the region is now home to a strong retail, health care, and financial services presence.

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12019 // Pixabay

#57. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Average hours worked: 39.4 (1.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $40,222 (25.1% above national median)

The Washington D.C. region is the headquarters of companies like Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the Expedia Group—not to mention all three branches of government, 176 foreign embassies, and a host of high-powered law firms, lobbying operations, and trade unions. One of the wealthiest areas in America, the metro region boasts a median household income of more than $98,000. It's also home to one of the highest concentrations of world-class museums, universities, and cultural attractions in the world.

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Spatms // Wikimedia Commons

#56. Baton Rouge, LA

Average hours worked: 39.3 (1.6% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,047 (9% above national median)

Turner Industries Group is one of the major companies that maintains its headquarters in Baton Rouge, a uniquely diverse region that was born from Cajun, Creole, Catholic, and Baptist influence. Transportation, energy, and education steer the regional economy, but the population there is on the decline.

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StuSeeger // Flickr

#55. Kansas City, MO-KS

Average hours worked: 39.3 (1.6% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $38,073 (18.5% above national median)

The jazz and barbecue mecca of Kansas City is known as the City of Fountains and is believed to have more of the ornamental water structures than any city outside of Rome—but fountains don't keep the economy running. The 2.13 million-strong metro region is attracting both residents and companies like the Lansing Trade Group thanks to the area's wealth of universities, agribusiness operations, and federal government installations that keep unemployment low and median household incomes relatively high.

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Phil Roeder // Flickr

#54. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA

Average hours worked: 39.3 (1.6% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $38,934 (21.1% above national median)

Each presidential election, Des Moines and the surrounding region play an outsized role thanks to the Iowa caucuses, which signal the starting gun of primary season. Compared to the national average, the cost of living is low and the median household income is high. The economy there is dominated by the health care, insurance, agribusiness, and financial industries—companies like Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Principal Financial Group, and American Equity Investment all call Des Moines home.

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Stijn Debrouwere // Flickr

#53. Cedar Rapids, IA

Average hours worked: 39.3 (1.6% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $39,793 (23.8% above national median)

No city in the entire world processes more corn or produces more ethanol than Cedar Rapids, yet agribusiness is not the industry that drives the regional economy. Rockwell Collins, an $8 billion aviation communications company, is the city's biggest employer. The two biggest industries in the metro region, which is home to more than a quarter-million people, are telecommunications and technology.

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Kim Schuster // Flickr

#52. Rochester, MN

Average hours worked: 39.3 (1.6% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $40,809 (27% above national median)

In the Rochester region, unemployment, median home prices, and the overall cost of living are low, yet at $72,132 a year, the median household income is high. Technology and health care loom large over the economy, with one name standing tall above all others: The Mayo Clinic, which is headquartered there, accounts for most of the city's entire downtown area and represents the nucleus of the region's economy.

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amadeustx / Shutterstock.com

#51. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR

Average hours worked: 39.2 (1.3% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $34,896 (8.6% above national median)

Former President Bill Clinton is an Arkansas native, which is why the Clinton Foundation operates out of the Little Rock region, but the charitable foundation isn't a major player in terms of jobs or the economy. Acxiom, Dillard's Department Stores, and Windstream Communications are all headquartered there and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences employs more than 10,000 people.

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Mark Turner // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Raleigh, NC

Average hours worked: 39.2 (1.3% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $38,627 (20.2% above national median)

Raleigh's powerhouse educational institutions could combine to create a formative economy of their own, with Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, and Duke University all laying claim to the region. However, Raleigh's diverse economy is bolstered by a globally significant biotech presence in the form of the Research Triangle, one of America's most important research parks.

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US Air Force / Terry L. Blevins // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Charleston, WV

Average hours worked: 39.1 (1% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $34,995 (8.9% above national median)

The median household income in Charleston is low, but so is the overall cost of living, with the median home cost coming in at just $140,000. The West Virginia Air National Guard's 130th Airlift Wing calls the region home, as do more than 214,000 residents. The telecommunications, energy, and financial services sectors are the main players in the local economy.

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Masrur Odinaev // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA

Average hours worked: 39.1 (1% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $37,613 (17% above national median)

The Omaha region is home to 11 colleges and universities, and the banking, telecommunications, and insurance sectors are the region's major industries. Conagra and TD Ameritrade are headquartered there, as is Berkshire Hathaway, the company founded and still helmed by the world's greatest investor, Warren Buffett, who's known as the “Oracle of Omaha."

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Gvolk // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Jefferson City, MO

Average hours worked: 39.1 (1% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $38,118 (18.6% above national median)

Jefferson is a city of 151,500 residents with major industries, including health care, publishing, and government. It's also located in the heart of the Midwest's most significant wine-producing region.

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Ty Nigh // flickr

#46. Wichita, KS

Average hours worked: 39 (0.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $34,982 (8.8% above national median)

Wichita has been associated with aircraft since the dawn of aviation, and the industry is still a dominant force in the region. Spirit AeroSystems is headquartered there as is Koch Industries.

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R. Rothenberger // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX

Average hours worked: 39 (0.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,252 (9.7% above national median)

The Port of Beaumont processes more tonnage of cargo than virtually any other port in the country and serves as one of the world's largest military seaports. More than 400,000 residents call the Beaumont-Port Arthur metro area home, and many people work in the education, defense, and transportation industries.

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AgnosticPreachersKid // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Winchester, VA-WV

Average hours worked: 39 (0.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,287 (9.8% above national median)

Only 10 small cities in America are better for business and careers than the Winchester metro region, according to Forbes. With a population of a little more than 138,000 residents, education and the food processing industry are the heavy hitters in the local economy. Onetime strongholds of both sides during the Civil War, the region is home to seven historic battlefields. The median household income is a little higher than it is in the country as a whole, and the cost of living is a little lower.

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Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Monroe, MI

Average hours worked: 39 (0.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,449 (10.3% above national median)

One of the Monroe region's biggest corporate claims to fame is the fact that the Lay-Z-Boy world headquarters is located there. That's because the furniture industry is one of the two main economic drivers of the region, which employs nearly 150,000 residents. The other is health care.

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Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#42. York-Hanover, PA

Average hours worked: 39 (0.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,759 (11.3% above national median)

The York metro region is gaining residents and growing jobs, and the cost of living there is 9% lower than the national average. It's a hub of both agriculture and industry, with the energy and aerospace and defense industries claiming major footprints there.

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12019 // Pixabay

#41. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN

Average hours worked: 39 (0.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,867 (11.6% above national median)

The insurance, finance, health care, and tourism industries all play critical roles in the diverse economy of Indianapolis, which boasts a metro region of more than 2 million people. The Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 are major annual tourist draws as are the NCAA basketball tournaments that take place there. Indy also boasts a vast educational community, including Butler, Ball State, and Marian universities.

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Fond du Lac, WI

Average hours worked: 39 (0.8% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $37,428 (16.5% above national median)

Health care, telecommunications, and machinery dominate the economy of Fond du Lac, which has a metro region just creeping into six-figure population territory. The median household income is comparable to that in the country as a whole, but the cost of living is a full 14% below the national average and the median home cost is just $136,000.

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f11photo // Shutterstock

#39. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN

Average hours worked: 38.9 (0.5% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,468 (10.4% above national median)

Churchill Downs is the most famous racetrack in the world, and the world flocks there every year for the iconic Kentucky Derby—but there's more to the Louisville region than just horse racing. The metro area has established itself as a major hub of medical sciences and health care, and major corporations like Yum! Brands—which operates KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut—are headquartered there.  

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Katherine Welles // Shutterstock

#38. Topeka, KS

Average hours worked: 38.9 (0.5% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,732 (14.3% above national median)

The median household income in Topeka is approaching $60,000, but the cost of living is 13% below the national average and the median home price is a low $132,000. The government is the main employer there, but financial services and education also play major roles in the local economy.

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f11photo // Shutterstock

#37. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

Average hours worked: 38.9 (0.5% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $39,188 (21.9% above national median)

With a $280,000 median home value and a cost of living that's 6% higher than the national average, the Baltimore metro region isn't cheap—but the nearly $80,000 median household income is enough to cover the outsized cost. The Mid-Atlantic region's most significant port city, Baltimore is a global tourist destination, but the city's biggest employer is Johns Hopkins—both the renowned hospital and its affiliated university.  

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Chris Williamson // Wikimedia Commons

#36. California-Lexington Park, MD

Average hours worked: 38.9 (0.5% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $46,540 (44.8% above national median)

Opposite from Baltimore in the southern end of Maryland is California, a newly established statistical metro region. Once a fishing and farming enclave dependent on the Chesapeake Bay, the California area has since diversified its economy to include major defense contractors and military installations, technology firms, and educational institutions. The region is even home to some high-mileage D.C. commuters.

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Rapierce // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Kokomo, IN

Average hours worked: 38.8 (0.3% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,092 (12.3% above national median)

Technology and health care rule the roost in Kokomo, which has a low rate of college attainment, but also a low cost of living that is a full 18% below the national average. Already a small metro region of just over 82,000 people, the area is losing residents, despite the bottom-basement median home cost of just $106,000.

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Mikespenard // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Manchester-Nashua, NH

Average hours worked: 38.8 (0.3% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,722 (14.3% above national median)

The retail, financial, and health care industries are the major players in the economy of the expensive but wealthy Manchester-Nashua region. The Verizon Wireless Arena anchors the downtown district, although museums, cultural centers, theaters, and higher learning institutions also dot the landscape.

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Ron Cogswell // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Richmond, VA

Average hours worked: 38.8 (0.3% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,744 (14.3% above national median)

The city of Richmond is one of America's oldest metropolitan regions, with a history dating back four decades before America was even a country. A crucial transportation hub, two major interstates intersect there, boats change direction on the Great Turning Basin, and the only triple crossing of rail lines in the whole world takes place in Richmond. Government, law, and the finance industry are the main employers and economic drivers.

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Wonderlane // Flickr

#32. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Average hours worked: 38.8 (0.3% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $37,842 (17.7% above national median)

There is no better place in America for business and careers than the city of Seattle and the surrounding metro region, according to Forbes. The highly educated city of nearly 3 million people has a sky-high college attainment rate of 46%, and Boeing, Microsoft, Walmart, Amazon, and the United States military combine to provide hundreds of thousands of jobs. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, the two richest people on the planet whose net worths combine for a total of $250 billion, both call Seattle home. They, however, can afford the expensive city where the cost of living is 37% higher than the national average and the median home price is $564,000.

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jmeissen // Flickr

#31. Sheboygan, WI

Average hours worked: 38.7 (0% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,646 (10.9% above national median)

Tourism is big business in the Lake Michigan coastal city of Sheboygan and the surrounding area. Fishing is a big draw as is the fact that the city's German ethnic heritage has given Sheboygan a reputation as one of the world's most impressive meccas for all things bratwurst.

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Jim, the Photographer // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA

Average hours worked: 38.7 (0% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,099 (12.3% above national median)

Although technology and education provide major contributions to the economy of Pennsylvania's capital city and its surrounding metro region, health care is probably the biggest job provider. The world's most famous chocolate company is headquartered in nearby Hershey, and drug store giant Rite Aid is also headquartered in the statistical metro region.

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Appleton, WI

Average hours worked: 38.7 (0% above national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $39,055 (21.5% above national median)

Although the city's Paper Discovery Center displays machines that are relics of the past, the paper industry is still a major economic driver in the Appleton metro region. The financial services sector also provides many jobs in the city of 236,200.

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Chris Rand // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Green Bay, WI

Average hours worked: 38.6 (0.3% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,540 (10.6% above national median)

Green Bay is known worldwide as the home to one of the most storied franchises in American sports: the Green Bay Packers. The team took its name from the city's position as a meat-packing hub in the United States food chain. The packing industry still thrives there today as does the paper industry and health care industry.

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Tysto // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Columbus, OH

Average hours worked: 38.6 (0.3% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,553 (13.7% above national median)

Job growth is creeping up toward 10% in Columbus, where the cost of living is lower than the national average and the median household income is high. The region hosts many higher learning institutions, including Ohio State University, the third-largest campus in America. Battelle Memorial Institute, the largest private research and development foundation in the world, also calls Columbus home.

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Mark Dozier // Shutterstock

#26. Pittsburgh, PA

Average hours worked: 38.6 (0.3% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,695 (14.2% above national median)

Steel City got its nickname from the industry that launched it into national prominence. However, Pittsburgh's modern economy relies less on steel and more on financial services, health care, tech, and education, with its borders containing world-renowned universities and research facilities like Carnegie Mellon.

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Sundry Photography // Shutterstock

#25. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

Average hours worked: 38.6 (0.3% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $37,271 (16% above national median)

From Oracle and Facebook to Tesla and Twitter, the San Francisco metro area is the tech capital of the world and the headquarters of some of the biggest companies on Earth. It's also one of the most competitive and expensive regions in America. The price of the median home has two commas in it, the cost of living is a whopping 73% higher than the national average, and the population has a college attainment rate of 55%.

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Daniel Schwen // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Danville, IL

Average hours worked: 38.6 (0.3% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $38,095 (18.5% above national median)

Once a critical and productive coal mining region, Danville is now one of the most affordable metro regions in the country. The cost of living there is more than 20% lower than the national average, and the median home cost is a minuscule $78,000.

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Uladzik Kryhin // Shutterstock

#23. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

Average hours worked: 38.6 (0.3% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $38,734 (20.5% above national median)

Nearly 2 million people live in San Jose metro, and like their neighbors in San Francisco, they have to pay to play in the region. The median home value there is a whopping $1.35 million, the median household income is deep into the six figures, and the cost of living is 73% higher than the national average.

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Spencer Kellum // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Jackson, TN

Average hours worked: 38.5 (0.5% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,161 (9.4% above national median)

Health care and agriculture are the main industries in the Jackson region, but education also contributes to the local economy. Job growth is steady there, and unemployment is under 4%.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#21. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Average hours worked: 38.5 (0.5% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,954 (11.9% above national median)

The Comcast Corporation is headquartered in Philadelphia as is the Lincoln Financial Group and AmerisourceBergen. A major hub for both the bioscience and financial services industry, the City of Brotherly Love also puts money in the pockets of employees across the region through its status as a major tourist destination.

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U.S. Air Force / Regina Young // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Warner Robins, GA

Average hours worked: 38.4 (0.8% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,409 (10.2% above national median)

The Air Force has a long and proud history in Warner Robins, dating back to the 1947 founding of the Air Force itself and Robins Air Force Base, which remains the largest employer in the entire state of Georgia. The Museum of Aviation, the second-largest museum of its kind in the country, sits next to the base.

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gillfoto // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Racine, WI

Average hours worked: 38.4 (0.8% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,417 (13.3% above national median)

The median household income in and around Racine is relatively low, but so is the median home price and the overall cost of living. Significant manufacturing operations there include S.C. Johnson & Son, and the health care industry contributes to the economy as much as the home care products industry.

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Philip Arno Photography / shutterstock.com

#18. Huntsville, AL

Average hours worked: 38.4 (0.8% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $37,125 (15.5% above national median)

The aerospace industry is so ingrained in the culture and economy of Huntsville that it earned the nickname Rocket City. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center all call Huntsville home. In fact, no other city in America is more important to the country's rocket propulsion research industry.

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Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#17. St. Louis, MO-IL

Average hours worked: 38.4 (0.8% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $37,927 (18% above national median)

The Gateway Arch, which is the tallest manmade monument in the country, has been the most recognizable structure in St. Louis for generations. However, the region's wealth of educational institutions just might be its most valuable asset. Washington University and Saint Louis University are just two of the nearly 40 schools situated in the area.

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JamesPatrick.pro // Shutterstock

#16. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL

Average hours worked: 38.3 (1% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,264 (9.7% above national median)

The median home price in Davenport is less than $130,000, and manufacturing and health care drive the local economy. The region boasts several museums, exhibits, and cultural centers, and one of its two colleges is the site where the first chiropractic adjustment took place.  

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photo.ua // Shutterstock

#15. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

Average hours worked: 38.3 (1% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $38,369 (19.4% above national median)

Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine district boasts one of the largest collections of historical sites on the entire National Register of Historic Places. Beyond culturally significant locations and architecture, the city is home to the world headquarters of several major corporations, including Macy's, Kroger, and American Financial Group.  

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photo.ua / Shutterstock

#14. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

Average hours worked: 38.3 (1% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $38,875 (21% above national median)

Known as the Twin Cities, the areas of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the larger Bloomington region have a diverse economy. Major industries include retail, biomedical, technology, and financial services. Known for its vast network of lakes and rivers, the area is an outdoor recreation destination as well as a regional center of culture and art.

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Ryan Stavely // Flickr

#13. Staunton-Waynesboro, VA

Average hours worked: 38.2 (1.3% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,751 (11.2% above national median)

Home to 122,000 people, Staunton-Waynesboro is a relative newcomer in the annals of American metropolitan statistical areas. Education and health care are the top fields of employment in the region, and Staunton is known as the birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson, whose presidential library is located there.

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f11photo // Shutterstock

#12. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

Average hours worked: 38.2 (1.3% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,886 (11.7% above national median)

The Cleveland region has moved away from its manufacturing roots and evolved to an economy dominated by service. University Circle is a significant epicenter of art, culture, and history, and the bioscience, health care, and technology sectors are important to the economy. Although the area is losing residents, the cost of living there is 13% below the national average.

 

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Laura Stone // Shutterstock

#11. Norwich-New London, CT

Average hours worked: 38.1 (1.6% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,857 (11.6% above national median)

Home to nearly 270,000 people, the Norwich-New London economy relies on the energy sector and the region's educational institutions. At more than $74,000 per year, the median household income there is high, but so is the median home cost.

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Dori // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

Average hours worked: 38.1 (1.6% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,664 (14.1% above national median)

Milwaukee's baseball team is called the Brewers for a reason—the city always was and still remains the heart of America's beer-making industry. The oldest functioning brewery in America, the historic Milwaukee Brewery, is located there, as is Miller Brewing. The financial services and health care sectors are also critical to the local economy.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#9. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

Average hours worked: 38.1 (1.6% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $37,876 (17.8% above national median)

Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and the largest and most significant city in New England. A little more than 2 million people live there, and the city's acclaimed educational institutions—which include more than 100 colleges and universities—educate a quarter-million students. The city's central role in the American Revolution make it a perennial tourist magnet, and the financial services and biotech industries contribute heavily to the local economy.

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Reel Wave Media // Shutterstock

#8. Madison, WI

Average hours worked: 38 (1.8% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,099 (12.3% above national median)

Agribusiness, insurance, and health care account for a big chunk of the local economy in the Madison region, which 655,000 people call home. The area, which has a high median household income and a high median home price, relies heavily on education and the state government as the two main economic drivers.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#7. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

Average hours worked: 37.9 (2.1% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $40,603 (26.3% above national median)

Hartford has long been known as the Insurance Capital of the World, and the industry still dominates not just the metro area but the entire region. However, insurance isn't the only game in town. Hartford Financial Services, Aetna, Eversource Energy, and Stanley Black & Decker are all headquartered there.

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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#6. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY

Average hours worked: 37.8 (2.3% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,357 (13.1% above national median)

Unemployment is at more than 4% in the Upstate New York region of Albany-Schenectady-Troy, but the area is experiencing job growth and a modest increase in population. The capital of the Empire State relies on the government for 1 in 4 jobs in the region.

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aka Kath // Flickr

#5. Springfield, IL

Average hours worked: 37.8 (2.3% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $38,349 (19.3% above national median)

Only three metro regions boast a lower cost of doing business than Springfield, where the cost of living is 15% lower than the national average, according to Forbes. The birthplace and final resting place of Abraham Lincoln is bursting with historic sites and culturally significant places and structures.

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Bohao Zhao // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Peoria, IL

Average hours worked: 37.7 (2.6% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,741 (11.2% above national median)

A miniature of larger Midwestern culture and demographics, Peoria boasts several important historical sites and institutions of higher education. Although the median household income is roughly the same as it is in the larger U.S., the cost of living is 16% lower, and the median home cost is just $124,000.

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Destination Worcester // Flickr

#3. Worcester, MA-CT

Average hours worked: 37.7 (2.6% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $36,887 (14.8% above national median)

The Worcester region is home to fewer than 1 million people but boasts a gross metro product of nearly $51 billion. Bioscience, education, and health care are the primary forces that steer the regional economy.

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spablab // Flickr

#2. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

Average hours worked: 37.5 (3.1% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,644 (10.9% above national median)

Financial services and health care drive the economy in the Providence region, and the latter influence is evident in the city's eight hospitals. The area also boasts seven colleges and universities as well as a variety of culturally and historically significant places and buildings.

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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#1. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY

Average hours worked: 37.3 (3.6% below national average)
Adjusted median earnings: $35,000 (8.9% above national median)

The first city in America to be illuminated with electric street lights, Buffalo depends on the education, technology, and financial services sectors. The largest park system in the country is located there as is a health care network that is vital to jobs and the local economy.

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