Study Assessing the Best U.S. Tech Cities to Work In Puts Seattle at No. 18

Among the top 25 cities in the ranking, Seattle had the highest cost of living

By Bill Conroy June 17, 2019

The worldwide headquarters of, located in downtown Seattle, are under construction.  The large campus is being expanded to eventually house up to 50,000 workers.

Yet another ranking of cities comparing their tech-worker cultures is out, but this one offers a twist in that its methodology favors markets that offer tech workers great career opportunity absent the high cost of living found in tech-dominate metros like San Francisco, Boston and New York. How did Seattle fare in the assessment, which tends to favor smaller markets?

Well, Seattle is not in the top 10 of this ranking, as it often is in other tech-market studies, but it did make the top 25 and fared better than many of its large-city competitors. Seattle ranked 18th among the 172 cities examined in the study, which was conducted by the personal-finance platform SmartAsset.

The variables used for the rankings include the following: the average salary for tech workers in the city; the percentage of the workforce in tech; the ratio of tech wages to average wages; the cost of living; and the unemployment rate for residents with a bachelors degree. A perfect index score in the SmartAsset study was a rating equaling 100.

Topping the list was Columbus, Ohio, with a perfect index score of 100. Seattles index score, by comparison, was 75.2. Following are Seattles marks across the five variables measured:

  • Percentage employed in tech: 7.03%
  • Average tech salary: $113,750
  • Ratio of the average tech salary to the average salary across all fields: 1.74 meaning tech workers in Seattle make 1.74 times more than the average wage across all industries in the city.
  • Unemployment rate for residents with a bachelors degree: 2.8%
  • Cost of living index: 155.5 with a score of 100 being equivalent to the national average. (Seattles cost of living index was the highest among the Top 25 cities, with the next closes being 21st ranked Baltimore, at 117.1)

Ranking just above Seattle in the study were Charlotte, North Carolina, at No. 15; Austin, Texas, at No. 16 and Atlanta, at No. 17. Houston and Tampa ranked just below Seattle, tied at No. 19.

Believe it or not, the top 10 cities are spread across only two regions, the SmartAsset study notes. Five cities on the list are from the Midwest, including three cities in Iowa alone [Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Des Moines]. The other five cities are representatives from Southern states, including three cities in Texas.

The other larger cities ranking ahead of Seattle in the study were Dallas, at No. 2; Raleigh, North Carolina, at No. 3; San Antonio, at No. 7 and St. Louis, at No. 8 (tied with Huntsville, Alabama). Temple, Texas, ranked at No. 10.

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