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These 10 Cities Have Lots of Health Care Jobs — and They’re Affordable

Cleveland skyline with bridge over Cuyahoga River.
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Half of the 10 careers slated for the most explosive job growth over the next eight years are in health care.

The number of home health aides will skyrocket 47% and add 431,200 jobs by 2026, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections. The country will have about 40,000 more physicians assistants and 56,000 more nurse practitioners by then.

And the best part: a lot of these fast-growing career options, like physical therapist aide, medical assistant or phlebotomist, don’t even require a bachelor's degree.

Here’s some good news for nurses and other non-doctor health care workers who happen to be hoarding pennies to pay back some of those student loans (like we are): Cities with tons of jobs in this industry aren’t too expensive.

That’s what we found in a Penny Hoarder analysis using data from a a new report by Abodo. (Check out the methodology at the bottom of the article.)

We did a similar analysis for affordable cities for tech jobs.

The 10 Best Cities for Nurses or Other Health Care Workers

To keep it simple, we’ll call the location quotient the health job score. If a city has a score greater than one, it has a higher concentration of health care jobs than the U.S. as a whole.

The numbers from the BEA compare the costs of goods and services in each city on a sliding scale — centered around 100 — to the national average.

For example, the cost index for Cincinnati, Ohio, is 93, which means stuff in that city is 7% cheaper than the national average. So keep that in mind when looking at the cost index.

Here are the 10 best cities for nurses and other health care workers where you can actually sock away some savings:

1. Birmingham, Alabama

Health Job Score: 1.43

Rent: $604

Cost Index: 97.1

Unemployment Rate: 3.2%

Population: 1,147,417

2. Cleveland, Ohio

Health Job Score: 1.25

Rent: $635

Cost Index: 95.4

Unemployment Rate: 4.6%

Population: 2,055,612

3. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Health Job Score: 1.17

Rent: $629

Cost Index: 97.2

Unemployment Rate: 3.3%

Population: 1,373,211

4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Health Job Score: 1.22

Rent: $602

Cost Index: 98.1

Unemployment Rate: 4.3%

Population: 2,342,299

5. Indianapolis, Indiana

Health Job Score: 1.17

Rent: $665

Cost Index: 97.6

Unemployment Rate: 3.1%

Population: 2,001,737

6. St. Louis, Missouri

Health Job Score: 1.11

Rent: $649

Cost Index: 94.2

Unemployment Rate: 3.4%

Population: 2,807,954

7. Cincinnati, Ohio

Health Job Score: 1.08

Rent: $625

Cost Index: 93

Unemployment Rate: 3.7%

Population: 2,161,441

8. Louisville, Kentucky

Health Job Score: 1.14

Rent: $620

Cost Index: 97.1

Unemployment Rate: 3.5%

Population: 1,283,297

9. Memphis, Tennessee

Health Job Score: 1.14

Rent: $652

Cost Index: 97.2

Unemployment Rate: 3.9%

Population: 1,346,437

10. New Orleans, Louisiana

Health Job Score: 1.18

Rent: $776

Cost Index: 97.2

Unemployment Rate: 4%

Population: 1,268,883

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. As the son of a registered nurse, he encourages anyone interested to pursue a job in health care.

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