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Teaching Profession

Which States Have the Highest and Lowest Teacher Salaries?

By Madeline Will — April 30, 2019 1 min read

There’s a $40,000 difference between what the average teacher in New York makes, and what the average teacher in Mississippi makes.

The National Education Association has released its annual analysis of teacher salaries. The national average public school teacher salary for 2017-18 was $60,477—a 1.6 percent increase from the previous year. NEA estimates that the national average salary for the 2018-19 school year is $61,730—a 2.1 increase from the prior school year.

But there’s a wide discrepancy between states. New York, California, and Massachusetts retained their spots at the top of the list, while Mississippi and West Virginia stayed at the bottom of the rankings. New Mexico rounded out the three states with the lowest teacher salaries—replacing Oklahoma, which saw an increase in average salaries because of teachers’ nine-day walkout last spring.

The NEA’s annual report collects salary information from state departments of education. The 2018-19 numbers are all estimates, and are typically revised slightly the following year.

Here are the NEA’s rankings for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, both for this school year and last school year:

These rankings do not account for regional cost-of-living differences. Last year, an analysis from NPR and EdBuild showed that the rankings changed when cost of living is taken into account—for instance, New York dropped to No. 17 on the list.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.