10 best states for nurse pay vs. cost of living

The state where average nurse pay goes the furthest is Kentucky, according to data from ZipRecruiter and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Living Wage Calculator.

The minimum cost of living for many states in the U.S. eats up most of the average nurse salary, with Kentucky being the most affordable. Nurses in the state who are single with no children are left with $26,294, or 45 percent of their annual pay, after minimum living expenses.

The minimum cost of living in each state was provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Living Wage Calculator. The cost of living is for a single adult with no children, before taxes.

State

Avg. annual nurse salary

Avg. cost of living

CoL salary burden

Kentucky

$58,441

$32,147

55%

Nebraska

$62,194

$34,519

55.5%

Oklahoma

$57,805

$32,750

56.7%

Wyoming

$55,844

$31,719

56.8%

Arkansas

$56,930

$32,336

56.8%

West Virginia

$54,222

$32,144

59.3%

Washington

$64,818

$38,573

59.5%

South Dakota

$51,840

$30,895

59.6%

New Hampshire

$60,321

$36,023

59.7%

North Dakota

$53,399

$31,976

59.9%

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