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Report: Adjusted Police Salaries by State

 

Over 700,000 Americans have devoted themselves to the police workforce, putting their lives on the line to protect and serve the citizens they represent.

Law enforcement officers are often the first responders in the face of an accident, emergency, or tragedy, yet despite their dedicated service, they often find themselves in a pay bracket below their counterparts in the business and health industries.

Take a look at our map below to see what police officers earn around the country and how their salaries compare to the cost of living in their respective areas.

 

Interesting Findings

When we compiled the data, we found that police officer salaries range from about $35,000 per year to $100,000 per year, with a national average of $64,490.

That gap wasn’t the only interesting thing we uncovered:

  • California ranks first in both actual salary ($100,090) and adjusted salary ($87,491). California also has the second-highest cost of living of any state in the US, according to CNBC.
  • Mississippi ranks 49th in both actual salary ($35,520) and adjusted salary ($41,111). That puts Mississippi in last place for our ranking (Hawaii did not release salary estimates, so it was excluded from the data).
  • Despite the low salary, Mississippi has the highest rate of police officers, with 6.741 of every 1,000 employed persons donning a hat and badge. Washington has the lowest rate, with 3.015 of every 1,000 employed persons being a police officer.
  • The average difference between a state’s adjusted salary rank and its actual salary rank was 3.26. The biggest difference was New York, which ranks 7th for actual salary ($73,000) but 18th for adjusted salary ($63,149). New York is fourth in the country for high cost of living.
  • As mentioned above, California police officers are the highest paid across the nation. California also tied with Florida, Texas, and New York for most police officer deaths in 2018, with eleven deaths each. Only fourteen states reported no deaths in 2018.

Methodology

To gather the raw data for this analysis, we pulled salaries from the May 2017 Occupational Employment and Wages report, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers. We then obtained Regional Price Parities (RPP), which measure the difference in price level between states and metro areas, from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The adjusted salary numbers were calculated by dividing the annual mean salary by the price parity. The adjusted salary represents purchasing power based on the cost of living in each state.

Salary List/Table

StateAnnual Mean WageRPP Adjusted Salary
Mississippi$35,520$41,111
Arkansas$38,450$44,246
Louisiana$39,650$43,861
Georgia$42,190$45,809
South Carolina$42,330$46,877
West Virginia$43,050$49,144
Tennessee$44,320$49,135
Alabama$44,490$51,374
Kentucky$45,010$51,264
Oklahoma$45,600$51,236
Missouri$47,080$52,603
North Carolina$47,440$52,189
South Dakota$47,800$54,134
Kansas$47,920$52,950
Maine$48,310$49,096
Vermont$49,070$48,297
New Mexico$52,320$55,897
Idaho$52,340$56,280
Utah$52,410$53,864
Indiana$53,260$58,981
Montana$54,590$58,013
Michigan$55,780$59,786
Wyoming$56,240$58,159
Virginia$56,290$55,024
North Dakota$56,420$61,661
New Hampshire$56,560$53,409
Iowa$56,620$62,772
Nebraska$57,090$63,083
Florida$58,400$58,576
Rhode Island$58,830$59,066
Ohio$59,280$66,383
Wisconsin$60,800$65,517
Texas$62,430$64,427
Minnesota$64,700$66,359
Arizona$65,810$68,624
Maryland$66,020$60,292
Pennsylvania$66,460$67,541
Massachusetts$68,190$63,256
Oregon$68,530$68,667
Delaware$68,630$68,493
Connecticut$70,610$64,959
Colorado$71,270$69,194
New York$73,000$63,149
Illinois$73,870$74,692
Nevada$73,930$75,903
Washington$78,600$74,502
Alaska$81,980$77,780
New Jersey$83,570$73,825
California$100,090$87,491

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