Cost of Living Factors Heavily in Best Cities for Tech Pros

As tech salaries start to plateau, tech pros have an increasing interest in perks and benefits, as well as the cost of living in their cities. To that latter point, SmartAsset’s latest report says tech pros should avoid both coasts.

SmartAsset says it examined data for nearly 200 metro areas across the United States. “Specifically, we look at data for 190 cities and compare them across metrics like average salary, average cost of living, tech employment concentration, unemployment rate and ratio of average pay-to-tech pay.”

Its two ‘key’ takeaways: avoid San Francisco and the entire Northeast. From its report:

For tech workers who want to have the most financially secure future, it is probably best to avoid San Francisco. The cost of living in San Francisco is about twice the national average and the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree-holders is fairly high.

As the report also notes, “cities in the Northeast tend to have slightly high unemployment rates and elevated costs of living.” Wilmington, Delaware is the only metro area in this region to crack the top 30.

The best metro area for tech pros, according to SmartAsset? Columbus, Ohio. The report notes it’s “about ten percent cheaper” than any other city in this study, on average, and tech pros here earn over $20,000 more than the state average, according to a separate report from business.org. Over four percent of the workforce in Columbus is in tech.

Iowa has two cities in SmartAsset’s top five: Des Moines (2), and Cedar rapids (4). Dallas, Texas is third, and Colorado Springs, Colorado rounds out the top five.

As this list focuses on cost of living, we’re not surprised there’s no city on the West Coast in the top 25. On the other side of the country, coastal access and approachable cost of living is best realized in North Carolina and Virginia – though there are no coastal cities on this list. Raleigh, North Carolina is the highest finisher (at ninth overall).

This list is yet another whack against San Francisco and Silicon Valley. California is no longer the best place to launch a startup, and living in either San Francisco or Silicon Valley could drive you deep into debt. Now that tech has comfortably expanded its reach beyond major metro areas, looking beyond the confines of ‘the Valley’ may be the smartest thing you can do for your checking account.

Best cities for tech pros cost of living

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