Chasing the American dream often relies on a steady job with a good salary. For the residents of some of America's best-employed cities, a favorable employment climate makes the American dream a little bit closer to reality. With abundant employment opportunities and favorable wages, these cities give their residents an extra push towards living a comfortable and prosperous life.
To generate our list of the top cities for jobs in 2015, we looked at cities with a population over 200,000. In selecting the winners, our algorithm considered a number of important factors for each city, including per capita income levels, median household income and the unemployment rates.
- 1. Arlington, VA
Arlington, Virginia, leads this list with its wide employment opportunities. Due to the city's close proximity to Washington, D.C., Arlington is the home of many important government agencies, including the TSA and the Department of Defense. The income per capita for Arlington is $61,312, almost double the figure for the state of Virginia. The city's median household income is $102,459, nearly twice as much as the median income for the entire country. A strong local economy translates into a pleasantly low unemployment rate of just 2.8%. Learn more about Arlington, VA employment.
- 2. Fremont, CA
Thanks to a healthy tech industry, the residents of Fremont, California, are used to healthy wages, especially if they possess the tech skills that the city's employers need. Tesla, Western Digital and Seagate Magnetics are just some of the top employers in the city. The city's median household income is $99,169, a significant jump over the national median income of $53,046. Pay is unequal between the genders, however; males earn approximately $20,000 more than females. The city's unemployment rate is only slightly under the national rate, but the city's high wages translate into poverty levels significantly lower than the national average. Learn more about Fremont, CA employment.
- 3. Irvine, CA
The city of Irvine, California, has a strong economy due to the variety of industries that call the city home. Restaurant chains, video game companies and automakers are just some of the many notable industries represented in the city. Both renters and homeowners benefit from the city's diverse economy; renter-occupied homes have a median income of $70,962, and owner-occupied homes have a median income of $120,364. The income per capita for the city is $43,271, while the rest of California sits at an average of $29,551. Learn more about Irvine, CA employment.
- 4. Plano, TX
The economic health of Plano, Texas, is helped by its relatively low poverty rate. While the rest of Texas suffers from a 17% poverty rate, Plano's rate is significantly lower rate at 7.4%. The median household income is $83,193, which is about $30,000 higher than the median for both Texas and the United States. Unemployment numbers are also lower than Texas and the country. Legacy Drive, a major street in Plano, serves as the home for many major corporations, including J. C. Penny, Capital One, Frito Lay and many other household names. Learn more about Plano, TX employment.
- 5. San Jose, CA
The city of San Jose, California, is known throughout the world as part of Silicon Valley. In this city, startups are born, thrive and sometimes fail. For those with advanced computer degrees and technical knowledge, the wages in San Jose are well worth pursuing. Median household income, for example, is $81,349, $20,000 higher than the state's average. The unemployment rate is similar to California's average, but the poverty level is almost 4 percentage points lower. San Jose does have a high cost of living, however, making it more difficult for those without higher wages to cover living expenses. Learn more about San Jose, CA employment.
- 6. Gilbert, AZ
Gilbert, Arizona, is a city that offers more than a few perks to its residents. Wages are high, crime is low, housing is inexpensive, and the sun seems to constantly shine. Gilbert's median household income is $30,000 higher than the median income in the rest of the state. The city's poverty rate is shockingly low compared to the Arizona's; Gilbert's poverty rate is 62.9% lower than Arizona's average poverty rate. Although Gilbert is not home to many major corporations, the job options are diverse; the city's public school system is the top employer in Gilbert. Learn more about Gilbert, AZ employment.
- 7. Anchorage, AK
The state of Alaska is a land rich with natural resources, especially petroleum. Although Anchorage is not immediately near any oil extraction locations, the major players in the oil business conduct their office work in the city. Oil isn't Anchorage's only business, however. Tourism and transportation are also a major part of Anchorage's economic landscape. The city also serves as a hub for global shipping, especially between Asia and North America. The median household income for Anchorage is $76,495, just over $6,000 more than the median for Alaska. The city's unemployment rate is 5.1%, below the unemployment rate for both the nation and Alaska. Learn more about Anchorage, AK employment.
- 8. San Francisco, CA
Like San Jose, California, San Francisco claims a large chunk of the booming Silicon Valley pie. Just as the miners did during the gold rush of 1849, tech workers are flocking to the opportunities of San Francisco. Tech workers aren't the only workers finding gold in the city, however. The city also has a huge tourism industry and a growing financial services sector. Numerous corporations are either based in the city or have a significant presence, including Wells Fargo, Old Navy and Pottery Barn. The city's per capita income is $47,278, putting it $17,727 higher than California's per capita income. Learn more about San Francisco, CA employment.
- 9. Scottsdale, AZ
Tourism is the biggest industry in Scottsdale, Arizona, and it's easy to see why. The city is close to Phoenix, is home to plenty of attractions, and the winters are warm enough to melt even the iciest heart. Health care is also a big draw in the city; one of the Mayo Clinic branches is located in Scottsdale. The city's wage numbers are exceptional when compared to the state; the median household income is $72,163, compared to Arizona's $50,256. The city also has a low unemployment level, and the poverty rate is 51.4% less than the state's level. Learn more about Scottsdale, AZ employment.
- 10. Chandler, AZ
Although Chandler, Arizona, is many miles away from the famous tech-crazy cities in California, the city owes some of its economic boom to computers; Intel, the famous computer chip manufacturer, owns a factory in Chandler. Other top employers in the city include Bank of America and Verizon Wireless. Although Chandler's unemployment numbers dip only slightly below Arizona's rate, the city has a lower percentage of those living below the poverty line. Wages are strong in Chandler; the median household income hovers around $71,171, and the city's per capita income sits at $32,497. Learn more about Chandler, AZ employment.
You can refer to the Best Places to Live report for real-time, up-to-date and interactive top 100 best and worst list of cities. The results are sortable, and it allows you to filter by the population as well as your preferred state.