The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Blue-Collar Workers

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This story originally appeared on Zippia.com.

If you’re a blue-collar worker, then you’re no stranger to hard work.

Day in and day out you wear yourself out for the betterment of the country. Whether you’re fighting fires or constructing a new hospital building, your skills in manual labor benefit the community.

Now, it’s no secret blue-collar workers work hard at their jobs. What they shouldn’t have to work hard at is finding the best cities to work in. Leave that to us. We’ll do the heavy lifting for this part of your journey, as we’ve found the best cities for blue-collar workers.

We looked at more than 200 cities and ranked them based on three factors.

We first examined median income in blue-collar professions in each city using data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. This covers a range of blue-collar jobs, from higher-paying ones to ones that pay out less.

However, big paychecks can come with big bills. So, next we looked at average home costs. Owning a home is part of the American dream, just like a well-paying job that doesn’t require drowning in student loans, so a good city for blue-collar workers will have affordable housing.

Finally, we looked at union membership rates by state, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Stronger unions lead to higher pay and better future opportunities for blue-collar workers.

9. Anchorage, Alaska (tie)

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Median income for blue-collar professions: $50,520

Average home price: $321,260

Union membership rate: 19%

Alaska may be cold, but the opportunity for blue-collar workers there is hot. With a median blue-collar income of $50,520, it seems that most of these workers make a decent living in Anchorage. And although the average cost of a home is high, the union membership rate remains on the higher end.

9. Yonkers, New York (tie)

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Median income for blue-collar professions: $53,643

Average home price: $427,048

Union membership rate: 23%

You’d be Yonkers to live here (just kidding). Yonkers, New York, is tied for being the ninth-best city for blue-collar workers. While you’ll likely earn a decent salary here, you may not be able to buy a home, as the average house costs $427,048.

8. Independence, Missouri

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Median income for blue-collar professions: $43,796

Average home price: $117,641

Union membership rate: 13%

The No. 8 spot on this list is occupied by Independence, Missouri. As for the numbers that we found to support this ranking, all were fairly low for blue-collar workers. The median blue-collar income definitely isn’t the highest, but the home prices in Independence are not too expensive.

7. Fort Wayne, Indiana

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Median income for blue-collar professions: $44,754

Average home price: $115,658

Union membership rate: 10%

Fort Wayne, Indiana, offers blue-collar workers a decent median income without the average cost of a home being too high. The downside to living in Fort Wayne is the incredibly low union membership rate.

6. Tacoma, Washington

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Median income for blue-collar professions: $52,186

Average home price: $309,939

Union membership rate: 20%

Taking the sixth spot, Tacoma, Washington, offers blue-collar workers a median income of $52,186. A bonus of living in Tacoma is that the union membership rate is at 20.2%. The bad news is that the average house costs $309,939.

5. Paterson, New Jersey

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Median income for blue-collar professions: $54,791

Average home price: $255,990

Union membership rate: 17%

Paterson, New Jersey, has a median blue-collar income of $54,791 and union membership rate at 17.4%. The only downside is that houses aren’t cheap here, as the average house costs $255,990.

4. Springfield, Illinois

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Median income for blue-collar professions: $48,036

Average home price: $123,271

Union membership rate: 15%

Coming in at No. 4, Springfield, Illinois, boasts a median blue-collar income of $48,036. But the higher income comes at a cost. The average home there costs $123,271 and the union membership rate is only at 14.7%.

3. Rochester, New York

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Median income for blue-collar professions: $40,012

Average home price: $82,741

Union membership rate: 23%

Given its median blue-collar income of $40,012, it’s easy to see why Rochester, New York, is third on this list. But with the average home only costing $82,741, blue-collar workers won’t have that hard of a time paying off a home.

2. Warren, Michigan

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Median income for blue-collar professions: $52,989

Average home price: $138,163

Union membership rate: 15%

Warren, Michigan, is second on this list understandably, with the average home price a bit higher than that of the No. 1 city and the union membership rates considerably lower. However, with Warren’s median blue-collar income of $52,989, workers should have no trouble paying the extra money for a home.

1. Buffalo, New York

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Median income for blue-collar professions: $42,129

Average home price: $98,309

Union membership rate: 23%

With its median income for blue-collar workers at $42,129 and union membership rate at 22.7%, it’s no surprise that Buffalo, New York, comes in at No. 1 on this list. Even the average home price of $98,309 is feasible compared to that of other cities on this list.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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