Gordon Simmons, Retired CEO

DATA STUDY: The Best U.S. Cities For Finance Jobs 

Jobs in the financial field can differ greatly, but they all tend to have one commonality: money. Many people are attracted to the industry as the mean wage is much higher than any other professional field. 

This industry is fast-paced and rapidly growing, with jobs in the business and finance sectors expected to increase by 7% by 2031. Although many of us are working from home today, finance jobs still require employees to come into the office. 

To identify the best places in America to get a job in finance, we used sites such as Glassdoor, World Population Review, and Franklin University to create an Index ranking the most populous cities from best to worst, tapping into Gordon Simmons Service credit unions expert knowledge, accumulated over the course of his career.  

Why Is It Important To Know Which U.S. Cities Are Best For Finance Jobs?

If you want to pursue a career in finance, it’s always good to know where you stand the best chance. To help with this, we have looked at a variety of factors. Based on these, you can see what is most important to you, and how they each impact the overall score.

How We Worked This Out

To work out an index and therefore get the scores for the best cities for finance, we have considered the following factors:

  • Population
  • Number of finance jobs
  • Average broadband speed
  • Average rent per month
  • Finance salaries
  • Higher education estimate

The Best Cities For Finance Jobs

  1. Arlington, Texas – Index Score 1.00 (total score 3.45)
  2. Boston, Massachusetts – Index Score 0.89 (total score 3.1)
  3. Chicago, Illinois – Index Score 0.85 (total score 2.94)
  4. New York, New York – Index Score 0.81 (total score 2.80)
  5. Atlanta, Georgia – Index Score 0.808 (total score 2.79)

Three of the five top-scoring cities are among the best-paying on the list. However, the average rent prices vary greatly between them, with Arlington’s average being just $1,100.00, and New York’s being $2,653.90. 

Arlington, Boston, Chicago, and New York also have incredible average broadcast speeds, which may be worth mentioning! These all score above a 170 Mbps download speed, with Arlington scoring an impressive 193.1 Mbps. 

The Worst Cities For Finance Jobs

  1. Louisville, Kentucky – Index Score 0.51 (total score 1.77)
  2. Fresno, California – Index Score 0.49 (total score 1.68)
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada – Index Score 0.48 (total score 1.66)
  4. Sacramento, California – Index Score 0.46 (total score 1.59)
  5. San Diego, California – Index Score 0.43 (total score 1.49)

As you can see, California seems to be a particularly bad option if you want a career in finance, with three of the five worst cities based in the state. San Diego has somewhat low wages with high average rent prices and a large population. 

Louisville has among the worst 10 salaries, with an average of $68,021.00, and reasonable rent at $1,212.50. 

Looking at the average broadband download speed, Sacramento is lacking, with a speed of just 92.6. Louisville isn’t much better, with 95.7 Mbps, which may have a significant impact on finance jobs.

Average Salaries vs Average Rent

San Diego, which has the worst score, has an average annual salary of $71,436.00 and monthly rent of $2,441.90. This is in the top 20 lowest paying cities we have looked at. However, the city with the lowest average salary is actually Las Vegas, with just $58,040.00 – yet another California city with a low score. However, Las Vegas also has reasonably low rent, at $1,468.20.

The city with the highest average salary, surprisingly, is also in California – San Jose, with $125,137.00, then it’s San Francisco with $117,774.00. In these cities, average rent prices are $2,441.90 and $2,517.70 respectively. 

Looking at the top scoring cities of Arlington and Boston, their average salaries are $96,124.00 and $85,336.00 respectively, and have monthly rents of $1,100.00 and $2,063.000. 

What is surprising to look at is New York City. This city has an average salary of $88,764.00, but an average monthly rent of $2,653.90 – this is high for the salary! However, when you look at Detroit, the average rent is just $822.91 with a salary of $74,379.00 – a massive discrepancy. 

Does Population Impact This?

It’s safe to say that the population of each city does not impact the score that the city takes when all factors are taken into consideration. If it were, you would expect to see the smaller cities grouped with other smaller cities, and the same for larger ones. 

In reality, if you look at the top 5, the populations are wildly varied. Arlington has a population of around 400,000 and wins the top spot, and Boston is a little under 700,000. Chicago then has almost 2.7 million, and New York City has just over 8 million people. Then in 5th place, Atlanta sits with just under 500,000 people. 

If you look at the worst-scoring cities, San Diego takes the top spot, and this city has a population of just over 1.4 million. The rest of the worst cities have under 700,000 people. 


Anyone hoping to dive into a career in finance may want to consider working in cities such as Arlington, Boston, Chicago, New York, or Atlanta. These cities have varied salaries and average rents, which help to even out the cost. 

Cities to avoid for anyone pursuing this kind of career include San Diego, Sacramento, Las Vegas, and Fresno. So, you might think to yourself – is it worth being in California at all if you want to have a career in finance?


Full study:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19aWUafT7SByMVi1g1J7D5uVDr67EPJlb_-d5MnA8lCM/edit#gid=0
Number of jobs: https://www.glassdoor.com/Job/index.htm 

Salary: https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/index.htm 

Broadband: https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/average-internet-speed-by-state 

Population: https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities 

Rent per month: https://www.numbeo.com/property-investment/ 

HE: https://www.franklin.edu/colleges-near/texas/arlington 

Universities: https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/TrendGenerator/app/build-table 

Universities in the city: https://www.universityguru.com/search 

Additional finance job data – https://atlanticrecruiters.com/revealed-us-cities-with-the-most-finance-jobs/

Universities in the state: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_state_and_territorial_universities_in_the_United_States 

gordon Simmons

gordon Simmons

Gordon Simmons has over four decades of experience in the financial industry. He served for 21-years as CEO of Service Credit Union. He specializes in international economic issues and finance. Gordon is now semi-retired, which means he’s now busier than he intended to be.