2020’s Hardest-Working Cities in America

Adam McCann, Financial Writer
Feb 25, 2019

Many Americans view hard work as the path to achieving the American Dream. We work so hard, in fact, that we put in more hours at our jobs than several other industrialized countries. The average U.S. worker puts in 1,786 hours per year – 106 hours more than the average in Japan, 248 more than the U.K. and 403 more than Germany.

But some U.S. cities represent the strong work ethic that helped to build the world’s biggest economy better than others. In order to determine which cities outwork the rest of America, WalletHub compared the 116 largest cities across 11 key metrics. Our data set ranges from employment rate to average weekly work hours to share of workers with multiple jobs. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.

Main Findings


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Hardest-Working Cities in the U.S.

Overall Rank*


Total Score

‘Direct Work Factors’

‘Indirect Work Factors’

1Anchorage, AK80.0748
2San Francisco, CA76.87343
3Virginia Beach, VA76.61613
4Cheyenne, WY76.11830
5Irving, TX75.65274
6Norfolk, VA74.79917
7Corpus Christi, TX74.655107
8Washington, DC74.461210
9Austin, TX73.94193
10Plano, TX73.28764
11Denver, CO73.001139
12Aurora, CO72.341527
13Dallas, TX71.891063
14Chesapeake, VA71.352011
15Portland, ME71.222122
16Nashville, TN70.391351
17Fort Worth, TX70.301460
18Honolulu, HI70.302724
19Billings, MT69.74405
20Sioux Falls, SD69.511969
21Arlington, TX69.381860
22Oklahoma City, OK69.081667
23Salt Lake City, UT68.58541
24Houston, TX68.521780
25Durham, NC68.202590
26Garland, TX67.892252
27Chandler, AZ67.852349
28Seattle, WA67.65439
29Raleigh, NC67.602837
30Charlotte, NC67.582933
31Gilbert, AZ66.913136
32Omaha, NE66.754521
33Fargo, ND66.373655
34Fremont, CA66.123535
35Tampa, FL65.852486
36Scottsdale, AZ65.723253
37Laredo, TX65.5930103
38Manchester, NH65.573965
39Tulsa, OK65.344175
40San Jose, CA64.813459
41Colorado Springs, CO64.445542
42Boston, MA64.195716
43Minneapolis, MN64.09667
44Irvine, CA63.953385
45Jacksonville, FL63.9426102
46Kansas City, MO63.675626
47Indianapolis, IN63.505814
48Jersey City, NJ63.375340
49Oakland, CA63.245145
50El Paso, TX63.184895
51St. Petersburg, FL62.953891
52Little Rock, AR62.9144110
53San Antonio, TX62.4137101
54Des Moines, IA62.356246
55San Diego, CA62.194681
56Boise, ID62.156720
57Anaheim, CA61.894977
58Louisville, KY61.876128
59Atlanta, GA61.874779
60Portland, OR61.79803
61Phoenix, AZ61.705944
62Lincoln, NE61.477025
63Orlando, FL61.2842104
64Lexington-Fayette, KY61.276071
65Santa Ana, CA60.985087
66Baltimore, MD60.91884
67Lubbock, TX60.7852112
68Wichita, KS59.976594
69Long Beach, CA59.306468
70St. Paul, MN59.21916
71Chula Vista, CA58.826958
72Fort Wayne, IN58.647472
73Glendale, AZ58.497634
74New York, NY58.267257
75Los Angeles, CA57.917366
76St. Louis, MO57.838619
77Chicago, IL57.428723
78Miami, FL57.0663108
79Henderson, NV56.886896
80Columbus, OH56.847562
81Reno, NV56.8371111
82Wilmington, DE56.797850
83Winston-Salem, NC56.747799
84Bakersfield, CA56.508284
85Mesa, AZ55.379047
86North Las Vegas, NV54.978182
87Madison, WI54.929715
88Greensboro, NC53.879298
89New Orleans, LA53.857997
90Las Vegas, NV53.698988
91Milwaukee, WI53.531032
92Jackson, MS53.1084114
93Charleston, WV52.9783115
94Memphis, TN52.939456
95Philadelphia, PA52.4110112
96Sacramento, CA52.389392
97Birmingham, AL52.3385105
98Riverside, CA51.159876
99Cincinnati, OH50.5810229
100Baton Rouge, LA50.3199100
101Albuquerque, NM49.7196113
102Hialeah, FL49.3995109
103Pittsburgh, PA48.9910418
104Stockton, CA47.1210738
105Tucson, AZ46.6010570
106Toledo, OH46.3310853
107Columbia, SC46.30100116
108San Bernardino, CA45.1710683
109Fresno, CA42.7410989
110Newark, NJ41.8411140
111Providence, RI41.3511073
112Bridgeport, CT40.4211232
113Cleveland, OH40.1011431
114Buffalo, NY36.21113106
115Burlington, VT33.1511578
116Detroit, MI32.9611648

*1=Hardest Working

Employment Rate Over Time


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Ask the Experts

The American work structure contrasts with that of other countries. For additional insight, we asked a panel of experts to weigh in with their thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. Research shows that Americans work 25% more hours than their counterparts in Europe. Why do Americans work so much more, and is it worth it?
  2. Does working more hours always translate into higher productivity? Does this vary by industry or job type?
  3. What is the ideal number of hours to work per week?
  4. What policies should governments and firms adopt to improve the quality of life of American workers?


In order to determine where the hardest-working Americans live, WalletHub compared 116 of the most populated cities across two key dimensions, “Direct Work Factors” and “Indirect Work Factors.”

We evaluated those dimensions using 11 key metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the “hardest-working.” Data for metrics marked with an asterisk (*) were available only at the state level.

We then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

For our sample, we ensured that at least one city from each of the 50 states was represented. Each city refers to city proper and excludes the surrounding metro area.

Direct Work Factors – Total Points: 80

  • Average Workweek Hours: Triple Weight (~36.92 Points)
  • Employment Rate: Full Weight (~12.31 Points)
    Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Civilian Population Aged 16 Years and Over Employed / Total Civilian Population Aged 16 Years and Over in Labor Force.
  • Share of Households where No Adults Work: Full Weight (~12.31 Points)
  • Share of Workers Leaving Vacation Time Unused: Half Weight (~6.15 Points)
  • Share of Engaged Workers*: Half Weight (~6.15 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the share of employees who are “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace,” as defined by Gallup.
  • Idle Youth (16-24) Rate: Half Weight (~6.15 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the rate of residents ages 16-24 who are neither in school nor working.

Indirect Work Factors – Total Points: 20

  • Average Commute Time: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Share of Workers with Multiple Jobs*: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
    Note: This metric was calculated as a percentage of total employment.
  • Annual Volunteer Hours per Resident: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Share of Residents Who Participate in Local Groups or Organizations: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Average Leisure Time Spent per Day*: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)

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Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Travel Association, Gallup, Social Science Research Council and Corporation for National & Community Service.

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