The Top 10 (and Bottom 5) Cities for Dental Hygienists in 2022


Here is the annual list of the top 10 and bottom 5 cities for dental hygienists to live and work in 2022.



There are currently more than 200,000 dental hygienists in the United States of America – and that number is only expected to grow. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects another 23,000 jobs within the next 8 years—a number, they say, that is going to grow faster than average. With that in mind, it might be a good time to look at which communities are best—and maybe not be so hot—to find a job.

There are a lot of factors that go into establishing which are the best and worst communities for dental hygienists to live and work. Certainly, money matters. But while dental hygienists certainly have a strong level of compassion for others, they still have bills to pay. When evaluating cities’ merits, we have to look at a host of factors.

We started by looking at the BLS data which gave us hygienists’ salaries based on city or region. But the cost of living varies depending where in the country one lives and works. For instance, things like food, housing, and discretionary spending are more expensive in San Francisco, California than they are in southern West Virginia. As such, we added the AdvisorSmith Cost of Living Index as a factor in the calculations.

However, there is more to life than making money (nationwide, dental hygienists earned an average of $77,810 in 2021). That’s why we started adding such factors as the overall economy, public safety, and so forth.

Our complete list of metrics is:

  • Annual Wage
  • Cost of Living Index (this is a ratio comparing the cost of living in a certain area to the national average. Some areas are more expensive to live in than others, so the lower the COLI, the less expensive it is to live in an area.)
  • Community Health
  • Education
  • Economy
  • Public Safety
  • Stress (including work-related, family-related, money-related and health and safety-related stress)
  • Oral Health
  • Life Expectancy

Included, where available, is information about the total number in that profession for the community. Nationwide, there were a total of 206,100 dental hygienists in 2021.

In addition to BLS data, we refined our rankings from personal finance website, US News & World Reports’ Healthiest Communities study and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for life expectancy by state.

We compiled all the rankings and then honed the list from there. Whoever got the lowest score earned the highest position on the list; whoever got the highest score, well, we talk about them also.

With no further ado…

Bottom 5

With any top 10 list, there is a natural inclination to ask, “If those are the best places to live and work, where are the worst?” We crunched the numbers at the end of the list to present the following:

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