Carson Perspective: Carson City ranks No. 7 in work-life balance, based on census data analysis

NerdWallet, a Bay Area consumer-friendly financial data website, ranks Carson City seventh on its’ list of best places for work-life balance.

The Nevada capital city came in behind a half dozen communities led by Corvallis in Oregon, the home of Oregon State University. Nos. 2-6 were, in order, Ames in Iowa, Ithaca in New York, Blomington-Normal in Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in that same Midwestern state, and Lawrence in Kansas. Carson City got a thumbs up on commute times.

“Short commutes — only 16.6 minutes on average — mean more time for Carson City residents,” the website reported. “Residents can go to nearby Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts and summer recreation in their free time.”

Interestingly, the six communities topping Carson City have large or multiple universities — Oregon State in Corvallis, Iowa State in Ames, Cornell University in Ithaca, Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington-Normal, the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, and the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

The final three in the top 10 were Mankato-North Mankato in Minnesota; Boulder in Colorado, another land grant university city; and the Grand Forks metro area in North Dakota-Minnesota.

The website used U.S. Census Bureau data to compile the list and provided brief remarks for each place. It also listed these factors from the census data to rank the contenders from one to 100:

Mean travel time to work in minutes; median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers in dollars; and median weekly hours worked. Merging them all, Carson City hit 70.8, just behind Lawrence at 70.9. Corvallis rated the top score at 78.3.

Carson City had the second shortest commute time, beaten only by No. 10, the Grand Forks metro area, with 14.6 minutes.

Carson City male workers were listed as making $51,018; females $40,489. That meant Carson City males earned more than those in each of the top 10 cities except Corvallis, Bloomington-Normal and Boulder. It also meant Carson City females earned more than counterparts every place but in Boulder.

In median hours worked weekly, however, Carson City residents were listed as spending 37.4 on the job — the highest number in the top 10 listing.

Corvallis’ edge?

“The economy of Corvallis is robust and Oregon State University, a major local employer, is located just downtown,” the website said. “With only 33.4 hours a week worked on average, residents use their ample leisure time to head to the world-class ski slopes nearby or enjoy the many art galleries and museums the city has to offer.”

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at


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