Texas is the 23rd most optimistic state about future earnings (study).

  • Half say they could only fulfil their earnings potential in a big city.
  • 2 in 3 would choose a higher salary over a career they are more interested in.
  • Interactive map showing salary expectations across America.

Texas is a hotbed of optimism and ambition, according a study by online course platform Teachable. Young people in the Lone Star State expect to earn more than those in most other states –  a career high $63,073 per year, a whopping 62% more than the average salary in the state.

But Texas isn’t the only state where young people are dreaming big. In Massachusetts, 18-24 year olds expect to earn an astonishing $97,000 per year, an aspirational 77% more than the state average. Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, young people are less ambitious, with only expecting to reach $45,486, 21% more than the state average. List of states from most to least optimistic:

1. Massachusetts2. Hawaii3. New Hampshire4. North Dakota5. New York6. Virginia7. Connecticut8. California9. New Jersey10. Washington11. Illinois12. Wyoming13. Delaware14. Colorado15. Alaska16. Michigan17. Maine18. Minnesota19. Vermont20. Maryland21. Arizona22. Pennsylvania23. Texas24. Oregon25. Rhode Island26. Wisconsin27. Georgia28. Florida29. Indiana30. New Mexico31. Montana32. Ohio33. Kansas34. North Carolina35. Nebraska36. South Carolina37. Missouri38. Nevada39. Utah40. Kentucky41.  Arkansas42. Iowa43. Alabama44. Louisiana45. Tennessee46. Mississippi47. West Virginia48. Idaho49. South Dakota50. Oklahoma

Teachable having included an interactive map showing salary expectations across America. However, there are limits as to where young people today feel they can reach their potential when it comes to earnings. 48% of those surveyed said they feel they will not be able to fulfill their potential in small towns, and instead would need to move to a city in order to earn the big bucks. Cities tend to have a higher concentration of job opportunities, particularly in fields such as finance, technology, and healthcare. Additionally, cities often have higher median salaries than rural areas. According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, the hourly wage gap between urban and rural workers was 15.3% in 2019, with urban workers earning an average of $24.06 per hour compared to rural workers earning an average of $20.69 per hour.

Finally, two-thirds of 18-24 year olds say they would settle for a job that wasn’t a preferred career path just for a higher salary. Some young people may settle for a job that isn’t their preferred career path for a higher salary due to financial pressures, such as paying off debt, supporting themselves or their family, or saving for the future. Additionally, job security and the stability of a steady income can also be a factor. Some people may also believe that they can use the higher salary as a stepping stone to reach their long-term career goals, such as gaining valuable experience or saving money to pay for further education. Young people are, no doubt, navigating challenging economic conditions right now. But the survey’s overall finding of long-term optimism among 18-24 year olds rings true to other trends we’ve witnessed in the last few months, particularly a continued rise in the number of new U.S. business applications” says Vera Hanson at Teachable.


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