The Robert Half City Comparison Tool ranks and compares 25 U.S. cities across 25 indicators selected to measure different aspects of career development opportunities, quality and cost of living, and cultural environment. Tell us how important the core areas are to you, and we will give you a ranking of the 25 cities.
Adjust the sliding scales to the left or right to see which city is the best fit for you, with 1 being the least important and 10 being the most important.
Increasingly referred to as the “Silicon Peach” for its burgeoning technology industry, Atlanta is the state capital of Georgia and the largest city in the Peach State. Situated in northwestern Georgia, the city ranks fourth in the Index for Population Growth. Atlanta also boasts 5,159 acres of parkland and recently completed portions of The Beltline, a sustainable redevelopment of 22 miles of railroad corridors surrounding the city that connects 45 neighborhoods.
More About Atlanta:
Fun Fact: Atlanta hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Nicknamed “Beantown,” Boston is the state capital and largest city in Massachusetts. Situated on the Atlantic coast, Boston has a flourishing financial center and insurance industry, and it is considered a global education and research hub. The city boasts a strong healthcare sector and a first-rate public transportation system. With its loyal sports fans, proximity to the ocean and deep historical significance, Boston offers its residents a unique East Coast experience.
More About Boston:
Fun Fact: Founded by Puritan settlers in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the country.
Also known as the “Queen City,” Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina, ranking first in the Index for Population Growth. Charlotte has very strong finance and insurance sectors, with Bank of America’s headquarters and Wells Fargo’s regional headquarters located in the city. Residents of Charlotte are referred to as “Charlotteans.”
More About Charlotte:
Fun Fact: Charlotte averages 226 days of sunshine each year.
Also known as the “Windy City,” Chicago is famous for its arts and culture, including its celebrated architectural diversity, a wide array of museums, and a vibrant culinary and recreational scene. Chicago is also a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities, ranking 10th for Diversity in the Index. The city’s business and financial services, manufacturing, health services and transport and distribution industries rank in the top five in total output for U.S. metropolitan areas.
More About Chicago:
Fun Fact: Chicago has 26 miles of lakefront, including 19 miles of bicycle paths and 15 miles of beaches.
Cincinnati is situated on the north side of the confluence of the Licking and Ohio Rivers. “Cincy” has made tremendous strides in revitalizing its downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. The city scores well on city livability indicators, buoyed by lower than average living costs. Residents benefit from a strong healthcare system, low crime rates, short commute times and extensive park space. Locals and tourists also enjoy the flourishing culinary, beer and art scene in downtown Cincinnati.
More About Cincinnati:
Fun Fact:Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, Cincinnati’s rendition of the Germany tradition, is the largest in North America, with over 500,000 people attending each year.
Cleveland is a medium-sized, affordable city in northeastern Ohio. The cost of living in Cleveland is relatively low, including low average costs for dining out. Housing is very affordable, and several downtown core neighborhoods are in the midst of revitalization. With a strategic shipping location on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River, Cleveland has strong steel and manufacturing sectors. The city has also seen rapid growth in technology and medical sciences.
More About Cleveland:
Fun Fact: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland.
Located in northern Texas, Dallas is the third-largest city in the Lone Star State. It is also the third-largest geographic region on the Index, with its metro area encompassing almost 9,000 square miles. “Big D” has many opportunities for professionals and businesses and scores well on several career-related indicators, including a low unemployment rate, a strong employment outlook and above-average GDP per capita. In addition, it was ranked third on the Forbes List of America’s Fastest-Growing Cities in 2016.
More About Dallas:
Fun Fact: On average, Dallas has 223 days of sunshine each year.
Often called the “Mile-High City,” Denver is known for its Rocky Mountain terrain, its fit and active population and its numerous breweries. Denver’s strong employment outlook, low cost of living and favorable work-life balance make it an attractive city for those starting their careers. The city is also in a prime location, making it an important hub for distribution, transportation and trade.
More About Denver:
Fun Fact: Dozens of America’s top ski resorts are less than a two-hour drive from downtown Denver.
Des Moines is the largest city in Iowa. It plays a large role in business — with the nation’s third-largest insurance center — and in U.S. politics, with the Iowa caucus being the first step toward determining the presidential nominees of both major American political parties. Des Moines is also a hub for publishing, manufacturing, agribusiness, finance, government, retail and wholesale trade, and the technology sector is growing. Residents benefit from low crime rates, fast commute times, and cheaper rents and meal costs.
More About Des Moines:
Fun Fact: The National Bar Association was founded in Des Moines on Aug. 1, 1925.
Nicknamed the “Motor City” and “Motown,” Detroit is the largest city in Michigan and shares a border with Canada across the Detroit River. The city is known for being the world’s automotive center, but it is much more than just a manufacturing city and is experiencing an employment rebound in a wide array of sectors. Detroit is also known for its musical heritage and the “Motown Sound,” as well as its Institute of Arts, history museums and theaters.
More About Detroit:
Fun Fact: In 1909, Detroit installed the first mile of paved concrete highway in the United States on Woodward Avenue.
Situated on the Gulf Coast of Texas, Houston is well-known for its energy industry, especially its strong oil and natural gas sectors. Houston also has other well-established industrial bases (manufacturing, aeronautics and transportation) and an expanding healthcare industry. The city’s low cost of doing business and a range of state and local tax incentives attract companies and professionals. Residents of Houston also enjoy a low cost of living and no state income tax.
More About Houston:
Fun Fact: Houston is second only to New York City in hosting headquarters for Fortune 500® companies.
Indianapolis residents enjoy a low cost of living, with below-average costs for rent, meals and groceries. Major industries in the city include manufacturing, healthcare and insurance, and it is an important distribution hub for companies such as FedEx. Indianapolis — sometimes called “Indy” — averages 201 days of sunshine each year, and it is second only to Washington, D.C., in the number of monuments and memorials within city limits.
More About Indianapolis:
Fun Fact: The historic Union Station in Indianapolis was the first union station in the world, opening in Sept. 1853. Thomas Edison worked there as a telegraph operator in 1861.
Los Angeles is home to people from more than 140 countries speaking more than 224 languages. With Hollywood recognized as the unofficial headquarters of U.S. filmmaking, Los Angeles has a world-famous entertainment industry and is known for being a creative hub. Residents and tourists also enjoy extravagant dining along with the region’s 13,600 plus entertainment venues. The “City of Angels” is also one of the nation’s biggest manufacturing cities, and the Port of Los Angeles is one of the busiest ports in the country.
More About Los Angeles:
Fun Fact: The Los Angeles County coastline, stretching from Malibu to Long Beach, is 75 miles long.
Sitting pretty on the white-sand beaches of the southern Atlantic coast, Miami is the second-largest city in Florida. The city has a majority Spanish-speaking population, and many companies use the Miami area as regional headquarters for Latin America. Miami has become an international trade and finance hub, with one of the busiest shipping and cruise ports in the world. Miami averages 256 days of sun per year and attracts more than 14 million tourists through Miami International Airport annually.
More About Miami:
Fun Fact: Miami has the distinction of being the only major U.S. city to have been founded by a woman, Julia Tuttle.
Located on both banks of the Mississippi River, Minneapolis has a strong food manufacturing industry, primarily producing flour. Home to Pillsbury and General Mills, it is known locally as the “Mill City.” The Minneapolis area entices residents and tourists with its numerous cultural attractions, like the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and its 6,790 acres of parkland and water. The Minneapolis–St. Paul region is home to several Fortune 500® companies.
More About Minneapolis:
Fun Fact: Minneapolis has the second-largest number of theater seats per capita in the nation, right behind New York City.
Also known as “the Big Apple,” New York City is the largest city in the United States. Unsurprisingly, the city is one of the most expensive places to live in the world, but it offers world-class cultural opportunities and draws some 55 million tourists annually with its famous attractions, entertainment and food options. The city also scores well in the Quality of Life category (ranked fourth), boosted by its strong Quality of Education and Public Transportation scores.
More About New York:
Fun Fact: The New York metropolitan area is the only region with at least two teams for each of the Big Four Sports categories: MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL.
Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the founding of the United States, as both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed there. Today, the “City of Brotherly Love” is relatively affordable when compared to other large East Coast cities like New York and Washington, D.C. Salaries in Philly command a premium, and lower costs in other areas — such as low state income tax and availability of affordable housing — keep overall expenses down. Major industries in Philadelphia include telecommunications, insurance and pharmaceuticals.
More About Philadelphia:
Fun Fact: More than 96% of the population of Philadelphia lives within walking distance of a public park in the city.
Phoenix is the state capital of Arizona and is located in the center of the state. It is one of the largest cities in the southwestern corner of the United States. Its frequent sunshine, large number of parks, proximity to nature and strong education system draw people from across the region. Newcomers to the Phoenix area will find a low cost of living (tied for sixth in the Index), as well as strong job growth in the information technology and energy industries.
More About Phoenix:
Fun Fact: Phoenix hosted Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, making it the third Super Bowl the city has hosted.
North Carolina’s capital is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, having nearly doubled in size since 1990. Raleigh’s strong, well-educated workforce attracts businesses across sectors, resulting in a growing number of job opportunities. Raleigh is also No. 3 on the Forbes 2016 List of Best American Cities for Young Professionals, largely because of its numerous research universities, strong financial, technology and insurance sectors, and good entertainment and food options. Raleigh is nicknamed the “City of Oaks,” owing to the bountiful oak trees in the area.
More About Raleigh:
Fun Fact: Raleigh was founded in 1792 and was named for Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer, soldier and writer.
Located in north central California, Sacramento is the state capital and is often referred to as “Sactown.” Sacramento residents enjoy California’s sunny weather with about 285 days of sunshine on average each year. The city offers plenty of recreational activities, including the Sacramento Zoo and the American River Parkway. While Sacramento attracts tourists with its rich and diverse history, the city also offers a strong quality of life, ranking eighth in the Index.
More About Sacramento:
Fun Fact: Sacramento was built during the Gold Rush before growing into an agricultural hub.
Situated on the western edge of the Rocky Mountains, Salt Lake City is the state capital and largest city in Utah. Home to Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City has a very well-educated population, with around 42 percent holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. The city offers its residents strong career prospects and affordable living costs, with the surrounding mountains and nearby Great Salt Lake providing myriad options for outdoor enthusiasts.
More About Salt Lake City:
Fun Fact: Salt Lake City is one of the most accessible ski destinations in the world, and the city’s airport has about 38 international flights passing through each week.
Located in southern California near the Mexican border, San Diego is best known for its 70-mile stretch of beautiful beaches and idyllic climate. Ranked the sixth-sunniest city in the Index, San Diego averages 248 days of sunshine annually. The sunny skies, along with the city’s many entertainment options and parks, attract 33 million visitors each year. Ideal weather, a strong employment outlook coupled with a relatively low unemployment rate and overall city livability help explain why San Diego has earned the nickname of “America’s Finest City.”
More About San Diego:
Fun Fact: San Diego averages zero days below 32 degrees each year.
It’s not surprising to find that the San Francisco Bay Area, a cultural melting pot, global financial center and hotbed of innovation, ranks third overall in the Index. Although living costs in San Francisco are quite expensive, residents can expect a higher salary premium and household income. San Francisco is best known for its unique culture, proximity to Silicon Valley, burgeoning technology and entrepreneurial scene, and its many attractions.
More About the San Francisco Bay Area:
Fun Fact: The iconic cable car (San Francisco operates 40) is the world’s only moving national monument.
Best known for its rain, coffee and Pacific Northwest cuisine, Seattle holds the overall top ranking in the Career City Index. Seattle’s robust economic and employment growth have been spurred by a surging information technology industry, as well as its strong biotechnology, aerospace, healthcare and manufacturing sectors. The city’s large share of individuals with college degrees and high incomes make the city a prime target for young entrepreneurs, technology developers and families.
More About Seattle:
Fun Fact: More than 92 percent of Seattle’s residents live within walking distance of a public park or green space.
Washington, D.C., is the country’s capital, home to the three branches of the federal government and the U.S. president. The city offers a unique living experience, including dynamic, globally minded residents and prestigious government and private-sector job opportunities. With its abundance of universities, quality transportation system and budding technology center, the city has seen a large influx of young, highly educated individuals and continued population growth.
More About Washington, D.C.:
Fun Fact: The people residing in Washington, D.C., are the only residents of the United States without federal representation in Congress.
Robert Half once again was named to FORTUNE® magazine’s list of “World’s Most Admired Companies” and was the highest-ranked staffing firm. (March 1, 2016)
Robert Half was named to Forbes list of ‘America’s Best Large Employers.’ (2016)
In 2016, Robert Half was named a Top Corporation for Women’s Business Enterprises by WBENC, the nation’s leader in women’s business development.
Robert Half frequently appears on “Best Places to Work” lists around the world.