2017 Best Cities for K-12 Teachers

The school year is coming to an end at most kindergarten-12th grade schools, and many districts across the country are in the process of determining staffing plans for the coming year.

That means the time is right for teachers to find a job in a new area.

A recent analysis from GoodCall shows that many of the 2017 Best Cities for K-12 Teachers are those in suburbs surrounding some of the largest cities. Seven of the top 10 were suburbs of Chicago and Detroit, boosted largely by their impressive salaries – teachers in those areas earned at least 60% more than the median in the area – highly educated populace, and low crime rates.

Bentonville, Ark., ranked No. 1 on the list. Teachers in Bentonville make about 68% more than the median salary overall in the city. Cost of living is also reasonable, at about 10% below the national average.

Analysts ranked cities based on eight metrics that identify places that are affordable and pay teachers well, safe, have jobs available, have a populace that values education, and are nice places to live with abundant amenities.

Key Takeaways

  • Top cities tended to be smaller cities. The top 10% averaged around 91,000 residents, while the bottom 10% averaged more than 138,000.
  • Many of the top cities are suburbs of larger cities. More than half of the top 20 sit outside cities such as Chicago and Detroit.
  • The top cities tend to be places that value education; in 6 of the top 10, more than half the population has at least a bachelor’s degree and all 10 have at least 91% of residents with a high school diploma.
  • Despite the fact that many of the top places are outside large cities, they tend to have low violent crime rates. The average across all cities is 4.3 crimes per 1,000 residents, but cities in the top 10% average just 2.6.
  • Top cities tended to fall more near the center of the country, especially in the Midwest, while the lowest-ranked cities fell on the coasts.

 

Download the full data list.
 

 

Methodology

Analysts crunched the numbers for 689 cities and ranked them based on nine metrics in three overall themes:

Job availability and pay

20% – Job Availability. The number of open, full-time teaching jobs for kindergarten through 12th grade per capita. Data came from Indeed.com.

20% – Comparative Salary. This percentage represents the median salary for K-12 teachers divided by the median salary overall for the area. Data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

15% – Cost of Living. The cost of housing, health care, groceries, and other basic needs in 2016, from Sperling’s bestplaces.net.

How the area values education

10% – High School Graduates. The percentage of people age 25 and older in the area who graduated from high school, from American Community Survey 2015 estimates.

10% – College Graduates. The percentage of people age 25 and older who earned at least a bachelor’s degree, from the American Community Survey 2015 estimates.

Livability

10% – Unemployment. The percentage of workers age 16 and older who are unemployed, from the American Community Survey 2015 estimates.

5% – Amenities – The number of arts, entertainment, and recreation facilities per 1,000 people, from the Geographic Area Survey 2012 census by economic place. When city-level data wasn’t available, analysts used county-level data.

5% – Restaurants and Bars. The number of food and drinking places per 1,000 people, from the Geographic Area Survey 2012 census by economic place. When city-level data wasn’t available, analysts used county-level data.

5% – Crime – The number of violent crimes per 1,000 people, from FBI 2015 data.

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