If you had to guess the best states in which to work as a graphic designer, what would you say? Maybe hubs of arts and culture like California or New York come to mind, or Illinois and New Mexico are on the tip of your tongue for their top museums and rich art history.
But you’d be wrong— dead wrong. According to a new analysis of US Census data from the online photo editor Pixlr.com, the top state for professional graphic designers is none other than Nebraska. I know, we were surprised too.
While these results might seem out of leftfield, the numbers don’t lie! Considering average salary, job opportunities, and Nebraska’s low cost of living at large, the unassuming midwestern state nabbed the top spot on the list. Pixlr.com’s study revealed that graphic designers can earn significantly more than the state’s average salary in Nebraska, with the median annual salary for graphic designers there coming in at $48,930, which is a full $10,000 more than the median across all jobs in the state of $38,780.
The analysis also factored in graphic designer job opportunities in each state, finding that Nebraska has a considerably higher than average number of people working in the profession, with two graphic designer jobs per 1,000 overall jobs in the state. These data points combined with the state boasting the 13th lowest cost of living in the US propelled Nebraska to the title of best state for graphic designers in the country.
So where do other states stack up? Following Nebraska is Kansas, which has the fourth lowest cost of living in the country and a median graphic designer salary that is 23% higher than the state-wide median ($47,090 as compared to $38,050). It also has ample employment opportunities in the field, with 1.69 of every 1,000 jobs in the state being a graphic designer. Third on the list is Minnesota for similar high-performing numbers. On average, a graphic designer in Minnesota makes 26% more a year than the state median ($60,110 vs. $47,590) and the state has 1.81 graphic designer jobs per 1,000.
When looking at the other end of the spectrum, graphic designers should steer clear of Hawaii, Alaska, Maine, Delaware, and Vermont. We hate to break it to all of you surfing graphic designers out there, but Hawaii is dead last on the list, with only 0.66 graphic designer jobs per 1,000, and a cost of living that is nearly double the US national average. But with fully remote jobs becoming increasingly common, maybe there’s hope for you yet!