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Nurses on the front line of health care. They’re often the first people you see during a visit to a doctor’s office and the people you have the most contact with in a hospital. Their work is fairly well-compensated, and the industry is growing rapidly.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there 2.86 million registered nurses across the country, pulling down a mean annual salary of $72,180 per year. But the number varies greatly depending on where the nurse practices — and so does the cost of living in those places.
Here’s what nurses earn in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, ranked from lowest to highest.
51. South Dakota
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Average salary for a registered nurse: $55,920 per year
Although it ranks lowest in average pay for nurses, South Dakota — pretty much smack dab in the middle of the country — is also in the middle for cost of living among the U.S. states.