These Texas cities have the highest teacher incomes in US: analysis

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(NEXSTAR) — Many teachers across the U.S. continue to face low wages, but in some metropolitan areas, an educator’s salary can stretch farther than in others.

The projected average national salary for public school teachers for the 2022-23 school year is $68,469, according to the National Education Association (NEA), the largest teachers’ union in the country. When adjusted for inflation, the average has declined by 6.4% over the past decade, the NEA said in its annual Rankings and Estimates report.

In McAllen, educators have the highest purchasing power compared to teachers in other cities, based on data analyzed by the personal finance firm MoneyGeek.

The average annual salary in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area is $73,153 – but after accounting for taxes and the cost of living, the adjusted take-home pay comes to $68,271. Again, that’s still higher than elsewhere in the country, according to MoneyGeek’s report, which ranked the metro areas that offer the best real income for educators.

Aside from McAllen, several other cities in the Lone Star State made it into the top 15 of the overall ranking (which factored in salaries for K-12, postsecondary, preschool, substitute and self-enrichment teachers).

Metros with the highest adjusted teacher salaries

Rank Metropolitan Area Take-Home Pay* Average Annual Salary
1 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX $68,271 $73,153
2 Auburn-Opelika, AL $66,080 $85,617
3 El Paso, TX $65,260 $74,846
4 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX $65,198 $79,310
5 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX $64,031 $76,777
6 Austin-Round Rock, TX $61,973 $80,805
7 Knoxville, TN $60,559 $67,801
8 St. Louis, MO-IL $59,819 $74,316
9 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI $58,987 $77,591
10 Kalamazoo-Portage, MI $58,577 $66,425
11 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT $57,976 $83,906
12 Cleveland-Elyria, OH $57,964 $73,307
13 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA $57,781 $101,068
14 Reno, NV $57,226 $77,310
15 Brownsville-Harlingen, TX $57,036 $58,305
Source: MoneyGeek | *Take-home pay includes income after tax and living costs.

Even though New York City has the highest average salary listed in the top 15, at $101,068, the take-home pay dwindles to $57,781 when considering income tax and living expenses.

For K-12 educators looking to get the most out of their salaries, the Kennewick-Richland metro area in Washington might be ideal. K-12 teachers have the highest take-home pay here at an average of $60,822. Meanwhile, postsecondary teachers have the highest purchasing power further south in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with an average take-home pay of $84,429.

Among the 178 metropolitan areas that MoneyGeek analyzed, Hawaii’s capital fared the worst for teachers pay. The annual income for educators in Honolulu averages $51,778, but the take-home pay comes to just $22,677.

Other cities where teachers earn less than $35,000 after taxes and living costs include Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Prescott, Arizona.

In an article on the NEA’s website, senior writer Tim Walker, noted that low wages haven’t been on par with inflation and could worsen school staffing shortages as teachers look for better pay.

“Educators who dedicate their lives to students shouldn’t be struggling to support their own families,” NEA President Becky Pringle said in the article, published earlier this year in April. “A career in education must not be a lifetime sentence of financial worry. Who will choose to teach under those circumstances?”

Metros with the lowest adjusted teacher salaries

Rank Metropolitan Area Take-Home Pay* Average Annual Salary
162 Rapid City, SD $39,681 $45,945
163 Valdosta, GA $39,454 $47,195
164 Durham-Chapel Hill, NC $39,405 $54,710
165 Flagstaff, AZ $39,350 $60,297
166 Pueblo, CO $39,284 $50,688
167 Evansville, IN-KY $39,135 $47,842
168 Manhattan, KS $38,927 $46,497
169 Muncie, IN $38,919 $45,263
170 Colorado Springs, CO $37,912 $55,747
171 Burlington, NC $37,565 $45,235
172 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $37,505 $95,775
173 Kokomo, IN $36,943 $41,227
174 Bloomington, IN $36,224 $47,406
175 Grand Junction, CO $35,178 $47,655
176 Prescott, AZ $34,976 $50,646
177 Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC $32,434 $44,082
178 Honolulu, HI $22,677 $58,094
Source: MoneyGeek | *Take-home pay includes income after tax and living costs.

MoneyGeek analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Council for Community and Economic Research for its analysis. Click here to view the full report.

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