Best and Worst States for Nurses 2020

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Nurses are in high demand at all times, but with a global pandemic there is an even greater need for qualified nurses. Due to this high demand, most nurses will have a variety of options when it comes to job locations. With National Nurses Week starting on May 6th, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2020’s Best & Worst States for Nurses. In order to help nurses and nursing graduates find the best markets for their profession, WalletHub compared the relative attractiveness of the 50 states across 22 key metrics. The data set ranges from monthly average starting salary for nurses to health-care facilities per capita.


The 10 Best States for Nurses

1. Oregon
2. Washington
3. New Mexico
4. Minnesota
5. Nevada
6. Wyoming
7. Montana
8. Maine
9. Arizona
10. Texas

The 10 Worst States for Nurses

41. Mississippi
42. Tennessee
43. New Jersey
44. Ohio
45. Vermont
46. Oklahoma
47. Alabama
48. Hawaii
49. Louisiana
50. New York


Best vs. Worst

-Michigan has the highest annual mean wage for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (adjusted for cost of living), $53,745, which is 1.6 times higher than in New York, the lowest at $33,945.

-West Virginia, New Hampshire and Vermont tied for the highest number of job openings per capita, while Hawaii has the fewest job openings per capita.

-Utah has the lowest current competition (number of nurses per 1,000 residents), 8.31, which is 2.2 times lower than in South Dakota, the highest at 18.34.

-Nevada has the lowest future competition (projected number of nurses per 1,000 residents by 2026), 7.47, which is 2.9 times lower than in North Dakota, the highest at 21.94.

-Minnesota has the highest ratio of nurses to hospital beds, 5.06, which is 2.1 times higher than in Arkansas, the lowest at 2.39.

-Iowa has the most healthcare facilities per capita, while Delaware has the fewest.

-Florida will have the largest percentage of population aged 65 and over by 2030, while Utah will have the lowest percentage.

-Nevada came in first for the Opportunity and Competition Rank* while New York came in last.

-Minnesota came in first for the Work Environment Rank** while Louisiana came in last.


* Opportunity and Competition Ranking- Total Points: 70.

Includes the following factors:

  • Monthly Average Starting Salary for Nurses: Full Weight (~6.09 Points)
  • Average Annual Salary for Nurses: Double Weight (~12.17 Points)
  • Health-Care Facilities per Capita: Full Weight (~6.09 Points)
  • Share of Population Living in a Primary-Care HPSA: Full Weight (~6.09 Points)
  • Projected Share of Elderly Population in 2030: Full Weight (~6.09 Points
  • Quality of Nursing Schools: Half Weight (~3.04 Points)
  • Tuition Cost per Credit for BSN Online Program: Full Weight (~6.09 Points)
  • Share of Licensed Nursing Professionals Not Working in Nursing: Full Weight (~6.09 Points)
  • Nursing-Job Openings per Capita: Full Weight (~6.09 Points)
  • Nurses per 1,000 Residents: Full Weight (~6.09 Points)
  • Projected Competition in 2026: Full Weight (~6.09 Points)

** Work Environment Ranking – Total Points: 30.

Includes the following factors:

  • States Offering the Most Coronavirus Support Score: Double Weight (~4.62 Points)
  • Mandatory Overtime Restrictions: Double Weight (~4.62 Points)
  • Ratio of Nurses to Hospital Beds: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
  • Nurses Job Growth (2019 vs 2015): Double Weight (~4.62 Points)
  • Presence of Nursing Licensure Compact Law: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
  • Regulatory Requirement for Nurse Practitioners: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
  • Share of Best Nursing Homes: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
  • Quality of Public Hospital System: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
  • Friendliness Toward Working Moms: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
  • Average Number of Work Hours: Half Weight (~1.15 Points)
  • Average Commute Time: Half Weight (~1.15 Points)

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit: