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Cities where people work the least for the most money

  • 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 

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.