Do Georgia nurses make enough to live comfortably? Not quite

From state to state, the total salary needed for a person to live comfortably can vary significantly

In Georgia, nurses made roughly 46% more than the average local last year. And still the Peach State’s health care pros did not make enough to have “comfortable” incomes, according to a recent report.

Financial information company SmartAsset recently published the findings from its 2024 study on U.S. incomes, which investigated precisely how much Americans need to make in each state to live comfortably. Many Americans are still dealing with an economy crippled by the pandemic and continue to feel the sting of high inflation.

“Outside of the big cities, life can be cheaper for many Americans,” according to the report. “Though, after years of high inflation, cost increases have affected almost everyone. If you aspire to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, the 50/30/20 budget rule recommends spending approximately 50% of your income on basic needs like food and housing, 30% on wants and putting away the remainder toward savings or paying off debt.”

From state to state, the total salary needed for a person to live comfortably can vary significantly. In Massachusetts, where comfort comes at the highest cost, residents need to make $116,022 a year to cover basics, wants and savings. Meanwhile, West Virginia residents need only an average $78,790 to achieve the same goals.

In Georgia, which ranked 15th overall as one of the priciest places to live comfortably, people need to make roughly $96,886 a year — or $46.58 an hour. Local nurses are making significantly more than the average Georgia worker, but not enough to meet the costs of comfort.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia nurses averaged $90,000 salaries, or $43.27 an hour, last year. The bureau also reported the average wage in Georgia during the same period was only $61,250, or $29.45 an hour.That means local nurse salaries represent 146% of Georgia’s average wage.

All the same, they come up an average $6,886 short of reaching SmartAsset’s suggested salary for comfortable living. Roughly 10% of local nurses, however, did earn enough. Representing the highest paid professionals in the local industry, these nurses averaged closer to $124,330.