Doctors, nurses and dentists, on average as a group, earn 85.8 percent more than the overall average wage in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area and in the Des Moines metro area, earn 87.8 percent more than the average wage, a new report says. Health care technicians earned about the same as the average wage in the two cities, and support workers' wages were below the metro areas' averages.
Nationally, according to the Brookings Institution, doctors, nurses and dentists, on average, earn wages twice as high as the average American worker.
Of the 100 largest metro areas in the country, 11 had a smaller percentage wage differential than Omaha's 85.8 percent, the report said, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
The biggest wage differential was in McAllen, Texas, at 163 percent of that community's average wage.
The Omaha-area average annual wage for doctors, nurses and dentists is $78,432 compared with an average for all wage earners of $42,224, the Brookings report said. In the Des Moines area, the average for the practitioners is $84,346 compared with an average of $44,910 for all wage earners.
Practitioners' wages tend to follow the cost of living in the nation's 100 metro areas, with higher averages in California, New York and other cities where housing and other basic costs are more expensive.
Among the 100 metro areas, the highest average for doctors, nurses and dentists was $125,113 in the San Jose, Calif., area. The lowest was $74,624 in Jackson, Miss.
Health technicians earned an average of $41,885 in the Omaha area, and health care support workers averaged $29,080 per year, 31 percent below the metro area's average wage, the report said.
For more on the economic impact of health care professions, see today's story.