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Here are the 15 US cities where tech workers make (and save) the most money

Zillow and LinkedIn studied housing and employment data to find out which cities in the US allow tech workers to make the most money while spending the least on housing.

Forget the Bay Area. If you work in tech, heading to Seattle or Austin, Texas are your two best bets to have the most money left over each month after paying for housing, according to recent data from Zillow and LinkedIn.

The math works. Zillow and LinkedIn teamed up to analyze data on salaries and housing costs for both renters and homeowners to figure out where workers in tech can make the most money while spending the least to keep a roof over their heads. In Seattle, a tech worker who rents will have $5,493 left each month after paying taxes and rental costs. In San Francisco, they only have about $3,964 at month's end.

The rankings are similar for homeowners. In Seattle, a homeowner working in tech will have $5,987 left over at the end of the month, after paying their mortgage and taxes. In San Francisco, they'll have $4,161 left over.

"High demand and inventory shortages have driven up housing prices in some markets so much that even if you land a great job, the salary might not cover living within commuting distance," said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell, in a press release. "On the other hand, the nation's most affordable housing markets don't always offer plentiful employment opportunities. Housing is the biggest line item in most people's budgets, so we did the math for you and found 'sweet spots' — places with great job markets and housing markets that will leave you with some cash at the end of the month."

SEE: Report: 11 of the 25 highest paying jobs in the US are in tech (TechRepublic)

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Image: Zillow/LinkedIn


In order, the 15 "sweet spots" for tech workers who rent are:

  1. Seattle
  2. Austin
  3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  4. San Francisco
  5. Dallas/Fort Worth
  6. Denver
  7. Charlotte, North Carolina
  8. Boston, Massachusetts
  9. Minneapolis-St. Paul
  10. Detroit
  11. Atlanta
  12. Indianapolis
  13. Tampa/St. Petersburg
  14. Washington, D.C./Metro Virginia
  15. Nashville, Tennessee

Surprisingly, the San Francisco Bay Area wasn't a terrible choice for tech workers, despite its famously high housing costs. The median home value in the San Francisco area is $789,300, while the median home value in Denver is $348,700. Since salaries are higher in San Francisco, the average tech worker will lose $140 a month by living in Denver than in the Bay area.

Austin came in second as a sweet spot for renters in the tech industry, with $4,336 left over in disposable income each month. Homeowners fare even better in Austin, with $5,011 left over each month. In Pittsburgh, which ranked third on the sweet spot list, tech-employed renters have $3,681 left monthly, while homeowners have $4,254.

To figure out the best places for tech workers, Zillow analyzed LinkedIn professionals in that industry who indicated a job change in 2016, the number of unique job listings on LinkedIn in 2016, and the median wage reported on LinkedIn for the industry and job market, through January 2017. The rent index was determined by the estimated monthly rental price for a geographical area and includes the value of all single-family homes, condominiums, cooperatives, and apartments in Zillow's database, regardless of whether they are currently listed for rent.

Three takeaways for TechRepublic readers:

  1. Zillow and LinkedIn analyzed salary and housing costs to determine the 15 best cities for tech workers in the US.
  2. A Seattle tech worker who rents will have $5,493 left each month after paying taxes and rental costs, compared to $3,964 in San Francisco.
  3. Seattle, Austin, and Pittsburgh were the top three cities for tech workers, according to the study.

Also see:

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Seattle is the most lucrative city for tech workers.

Image: iStock/Joecho_16

About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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