NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 4, 2010

New York City may be one of the best places for men with college degrees to seek their fortunes - at least until they reach their late 30s.  After that, they might be better off in Atlanta or Dallas, according to a recent study of New Yorkers' earning patterns conducted by the city comptroller's office. 

For example: 

  • The study estimated that a male college graduate in the New York metropolitan area would earn $256,000 more over his lifetime than his peers in the rest of the country.
  • The "New York premium" for a female college graduate would add up to $184,000. 


  • For men, most of that advantage would be gained in the first 15 years of their careers.
  • Once they celebrate their 37th birthdays, the gap between what educated men in New York earn and what they would earn in some other big cities starts to close.
  • By the time they are 57, they would be making more money if they worked in Dallas.
  • By 62, they would make just as much in Atlanta and only slightly less in Chicago. 

"People in their 20s and 30s make considerably more money in New York at any given level of education than they do elsewhere.   It appears, however, that the earnings differential ended later in the career," says the study's author, Frank Braconi, the chief economist in the comptroller's office. 

For women with college degrees, spending their entire careers in New York appears to be a more rewarding choice.  Among women, the premium for working in New York is even larger and, although it also shrinks over time, it never disappears.  Educated women in New York earn more than their counterparts in Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago throughout their lifetimes. 

Source: Patrick McGeehan, "New Yorkers Earn More, Early On, a Study Shows," Dallas Morning News May 2, 2010/New York Times, April 25, 2010. 

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