These Are The 10 Best Cities For Designers

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Best States For Professions, Rankings - 2 years ago
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Whether you’re just starting out your career, or looking to make a move, it can be important to know what part of the country offers the best chance for your long term career prospects. And for a very common profession like Designers, the regional differences can have a big impact on your salary and career options.

To help you make the best decision possible, we at Zippia wanted to look at the cities that offer designers the most for their career. These are the cities across the US where designers get paid well, relative to the cost of living, and jobs are plentiful.

So we did what we do best and dove into the numbers from the BLS to figure out which cities have the best opportunities for designers.The result is this list of the best cities designers:

  1. Portsmouth, NH
  2. Portland, ME
  3. Boston, MA
  4. New York, NY
  5. Oakland, CA
  6. Milwaukee, WI
  7. Boulder, CO
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. St. Louis, MO
  10. Oxnard, CA

So there you have it — Portsmouth is the best city when it comes to being a designer.

And where should you consider avoiding if you’re a designer? That would be Urban Honolulu.

Read on to see how we completed our research on the best cities for designers and for more on the top ten cities.

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How we determined the best cities to be a designers?




Here at Zippia, we talk to a lot of people of all different backgrounds looking for jobs. Our research has concluded that there are two common things people want in a job:

  • Availability of jobs
  • Pay

So in order to find out the best cities for designers in America we needed to figure out where the jobs are and how well designers get paid. This led to the following criteria taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Occupational Employment Statistics for 2015:

  • Location quotient. A measure of how common a job is a given city.
  • Average annual salary.
  • Average annual salary for entry level work.

To make all the salary numbers more apples to apples across cities, we compared the salary data relative to the state’s cost of living.

This left us with enough data for 31 metro areas across the country. We then took the primary area of the metro and labeled that the ‘city’ for this analysis. So, for example, “Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division” became simply Boston.

In order to develop an overall ranking, we ranked each city for each criteria from 1 to 31 where 1 was the best.

We then averaged all the rankings for a city into a Job Score with the city having the lowest overall Job Score earning the distinction of being the best city for designers in America.

So without further ado, let’s get into just what made each city so great for designers.

1. Portsmouth, NH

Best States For Designers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 60
Average Annual Salary: $77,830
Average Entry Level Salary: $43,340
Location Quotient: 4.87

2. Portland, ME

Best States For Designers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 70
Average Annual Salary: $71,070
Average Entry Level Salary: $40,390
Location Quotient: 2.43

3. Boston, MA

Best States For Designers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 240
Average Annual Salary: $90,080
Average Entry Level Salary: $45,640
Location Quotient: 1.0

4. New York, NY

Best States For Designers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 7,150
Average Annual Salary: $79,370
Average Entry Level Salary: $38,650
Location Quotient: 8.0

5. Oakland, CA

Best States For Designers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 230
Average Annual Salary: $79,060
Average Entry Level Salary: $39,880
Location Quotient: 1.56

6. Milwaukee, WI

Best States For Designers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 90
Average Annual Salary: $76,270
Average Entry Level Salary: $36,250
Location Quotient: 0.81

7. Boulder, CO

Best States For Designers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 60
Average Annual Salary: $61,410
Average Entry Level Salary: $41,000
Location Quotient: 2.65

8. Philadelphia, PA

Best States For Designers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 150
Average Annual Salary: $59,500
Average Entry Level Salary: $38,100
Location Quotient: 1.27

9. St. Louis, MO

Best States For Designers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 70
Average Annual Salary: $96,250
Average Entry Level Salary: $33,940
Location Quotient: 0.39

10. Oxnard, CA

Best States For Designers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 50
Average Annual Salary: $79,480
Average Entry Level Salary: $36,460
Location Quotient: 1.26

And that’s our list of the best cities for designers

If you’re looking to start out your career as a designer these are the cities that should be at the top of your list. You’ll find high pay, available jobs, and chances for career advancement.

If you’re curious, here are the worst cities to be a designer in America:

  1. Urban Honolulu, HI
  2. Minneapolis, MN
  3. Austin, TX

Detailed List Of The Best Cities For Designers

Rank State Average Salary Entry Level Salary # Of People
1 Portsmouth, NH $77,830 $43,340 60
2 Portland, ME $71,070 $40,390 70
3 Boston, MA $90,080 $45,640 240
4 New York, NY $79,370 $38,650 7,150
5 Oakland, CA $79,060 $39,880 230
6 Milwaukee, WI $76,270 $36,250 90
7 Boulder, CO $61,410 $41,000 60
8 Philadelphia, PA $59,500 $38,100 150
9 St. Louis, MO $96,250 $33,940 70
10 Oxnard, CA $79,480 $36,460 50
11 Cincinnati, OH $61,770 $36,510 60
12 Los Angeles, CA $76,200 $31,340 4,020
13 Anaheim, CA $66,060 $32,080 600
14 Dallas, TX $58,340 $35,290 190
15 Houston, TX $65,930 $35,550 50
16 West Palm Beach, FL $79,800 $29,170 30
17 San Diego, CA $70,190 $28,110 330
18 Kansas City, MO $56,270 $18,730 240
19 Salt Lake City, UT $60,110 $28,060 50
20 Portland, OR $58,450 $29,300 130
21 Allentown, PA $48,910 $32,520 40
22 Nassau County, NY $65,470 $23,210 330
23 Orlando, FL $53,960 $33,370 90
24 Tampa, FL $53,450 $34,160 80
25 Newark, NJ $78,770 $18,780 40
26 Charlotte, NC $53,610 $34,340 30
27 Denver, CO $56,820 $28,190 120
28 Riverside, CA $48,550 $25,450 180
29 Austin, TX $55,190 $23,070 50
30 Minneapolis, MN $48,300 $31,800 90
31 Urban Honolulu, HI $45,560 $30,420 40

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