Best US Cities for Pharmacists

What are the best places in the country for pharmacists?

If you’ve ever wondered what are the best US cities for pharmacists, look no further than this article.

Using a combination of datasets, I have ranked nearly 400 US cities to find the best places for pharmacists. Scores were calculated using weighted percentages of each city’s average annual pharmacist salary, number of pharmacist positions, cost of living index, and location quotient—a factor used to reflect the demand for pharmacists in a particular region.

Cities that made Livability’s 2016 Top 100 Best Places to Live list were given a bonus score based on where they ranked on that list.

Here are the top 10 US cities for pharmacists:

1. Gadsden, Alabama (92.5%)

Topping the list, Gadsden is the perfect combination of high annual pharmacist salary, low cost of living, and above average concentration of employed pharmacists. Gadsden’s average annual pharmacist salary ($155,940) was second-highest on the list, just below Santa Cruz, California ($164,850).

2. Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas (92.3%)

Just a few fractions of a percentage point below Gadsden is Brownsville-Harlingen. This metropolitan area has the 8th-highest average annual pharmacist salary ($139,810) and 6th-lowest cost of living.

3. Anniston-Oxford, Alabama (84.5%)

The metropolitan area of Anniston and Oxford is the second location in Alabama to make this list. Both cities combined have the 5th-highest average annual pharmacist salary ($140,830) with a relatively low cost of living.

4. Huntington, West Virginia; Ashland, Kentucky (83.6%)

The average annual pharmacist salary for Huntington and Ashland ($126,290) is the lowest of all cities in the top 10, but still places in the top 20% overall. These areas benefit from having the third-highest location quotient, indicating that the number of pharmacists working in these cities is more than double the national average.

5. Knoxville, Tennessee (82.8%)

Knoxville employs the highest number of pharmacists (890) on the top 10 list, and the city’s average annual pharmacist salary ($126,880) is also well above the national average.

6. Dalton, Georgia (82.1%)

Despite having the 27th worst location quotient score, Dalton makes the top 10 list due to its extremely high average annual pharmacist salary ($139,500) and low cost of living.

7. Danville, Virginia (82%)

Despite employing just 70 pharmacists, Danville slots in at #7, and its average annual pharmacist salary ($133,690) places it in the top 10% overall.

8. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas (81.9%)

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission is the second metropolitan area in Texas to make this list, continuing the trend of southern US cities appearing in the top 10. This area employed 440 pharmacists in 2014, with an average annual salary of $132,830.

9. Kingsport, Tennessee; Bristol, Virginia (81.6%)

The combination of Kingsport and Bristol has the highest cost of living score of the top 10 cities, but it is bolstered by an above average annual pharmacist salary ($129,600) and high concentration of employed pharmacists.

10. Canton-Massillon, Ohio (81.8%)

The home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame rounded out the list by scoring above average across the board.

Rank

City

Pharmacist Jobs

Location Quotient

Pharmacist Salary

Cost of Living

Livability

Top 100

Score

1

Gadsden, AL

100

1.28

$155,940

80

-

92.5%

2

Brownsville-Harlingen, TX

300

1.06

$139,810

76

-

92.3%

3

Anniston-Oxford, AL

90

0.98

$140,830

84

-

84.5%

4

Huntington, WV; Ashland, KY

470

2.04

$126,290

81

-

83.6%

5

Knoxville, TN

890

1.25

$126,880

81

-

82.8%

6

Dalton, GA

100

0.69

$139,500

82

-

82.1%

7

Danville, VA

70

0.90

$133,690

81

-

82%

8

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX

440

0.86

$132,830

83

-

81.9%

9

Kingsport, TN; Bristol, VA

300

1.21

$129,600

85

-

81.6%

10

Canton-Massillon, OH

370

1.04

$128,280

82

-

81.1%

To find out how more notable US cities ranked, refer to this table:

City

Rank

Pharmacist Jobs

Location Quotient

Pharmacist Salary

Cost of Living

Livability

Top 100

Score

Milwaukee, WI

43

1640

0.93

$125,970

85

-

73%

Rochester, MN

59

390

1.72

$123,080

101

#1

70%

Santa Cruz, CA

64

160

0.83

$164,850

199

#19

69.2%

Sacramento, CA

75

1780

0.97

$132,180

113

-

67.3%

Napa, CA

100

130

0.89

$135,990

157

#68

64%

San Francisco, CA

107

3520

0.77

$137,340

243

-

63.4%

Anchorage, AK

116

310

0.82

$134,480

143

62.1%

St. Louis, MO

141

2830

1.01

$119,180

84

-

59.1%

Baltimore, MD

142

2810

1.01

$120,030

88

-

59.1%

Nashville, TN

143

2560

1.45

$120,500

99

-

58.8%

Los Angeles, CA

149

10390

0.87

$128,630

164

-

58.3%

Cleveland, OH

152

2170

1.00

$117,440

79

-

58%

Atlantic City, NJ

178

270

0.95

$121,280

100

-

52.7%

Phoenix, AZ

192

4280

1.09

$119,210

99

-

50.2%

Detroit, MI

194

4130

1.03

$113,570

73

-

50%

Atlanta, GA

219

5180

1.01

$118,210

97

-

47.5%

Las Vegas, NV

222

1400

0.75

$119,990

99

-

47.3%

Philadelphia, PA

234

6240

1.07

$116,910

96

-

45.4%

New Orleans, LA

241

1300

1.11

$117,210

99

-

44.6%

Orlando, FL

243

2430

1.05

$116,080

92

-

44.2%

Seattle, WA

255

3050

0.81

$120,260

154

-

42%

Dallas, TX

257

5650

0.83

$119,060

106

-

41.6%

Indianapolis, IN

280

2140

1.06

$112,430

89

-

38.3%

Miami, FL

307

7000

1.38

$115,170

119

-

34.8%

New York, NY

313

11390

0.98

$117,040

168

-

33.9%

Chicago, IL

317

8770

0.92

$115,540

103

-

33.6%

Houston, TX

320

4610

0.75

$115,180

98

-

33.2%

Denver, CO

326

3160

1.11

$115,060

115

-

32.3%

Honolulu, HI

332

880

0.91

$116,650

199

#37

31.9%

Pittsburgh, PA

335

2580

1.06

$101,840

84

-

31.6%

Washington D.C, VA

371

4900

0.77

$115,320

154

-

25%

Boston, MA

383

4760

0.85

$113,310

161

-

21.9%

Methodology:

Scores were calculated using weighted percentages from the following categories: average annual pharmacist salary, number of pharmacist jobs, cost of living index, location quotient, and placement in Livability’s 2016 Top 100 Best Places to Live.

Annual pharmacist salary from 394 cities was collected from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2014 data. This category was weighted most to reflect the importance of salary when searching for employment.

It is important to note that BLS groups some of its datasets into multiple cities. For example, the “Los Angeles” grouping also includes data from Long Beach and Santa Ana; however, for simplicity’s sake, it was included in the second table as just “Los Angeles.”

Cost of living scores were collected from Sperling’s Best Places and compare a city’s cost of food, housing, utilities, transportation, and health care with the national average. The lower the cost of living score, the lower the cost to live in that particular city versus the national average.

Location quotient was included to measure the concentration of pharmacists working in a particular area compared with the national average. Thus, a smaller location quotient may suggest a lower demand for pharmacists, while a higher number may correlate a higher demand.

The number of pharmacist jobs per city was weighted least, yet included to reward cities that employed a higher number of pharmacists.

Finally, cities that made Livability’s 2016 Top 100 Best Places to Live list were given an up to 10% multiplier bonus, depending on where they ranked. Livability’s rankings were created from 45 data points across 8 categories.