The best state for tractor trailer drivers based on average salary is North Dakota. North Dakota has the highest average salary for tractor trailer drivers in the United States at $53,730. North Dakota also has the highest paid metropolitan (Bismarck) and non metropolitan (west central North Dakota) areas for tractor trailer drivers.
I’m not suggesting that you immediately move to any of these states or metropolitan areas based on this data but if you live near some of the locations below it may give you an idea of what you can expect when searching for a tractor trailer trucking driving job.
The data below is for tractor trailer truckers in the United States during 2016 that were driving commercial vehicles that are tractor-trailers or a truck with a capacity of 26,00l lbs. or more. This data also reflects truck drivers that are required to have a CDL.
How Many Truckers In The United States?
In 2016 the United States Department of Labor reported that 1,704,520 people in the United States were employed as tractor trailer drives and the average hourly wage was $20.96. The average salary for these drivers was $43,590. Even though they report nearly 2 million tractor trailer drivers I can’t help but think that that number is low, I expect there to be more. An average salary of $43,590 is a good number, there are a lot of people coming out of college (in debt) that are going to be making less than that.
Should You Move To Another State For A Trucking Job?
You have to determine this on your own. Some decisions can’t be make by looking at data, this is one of them.
Each driver has to assess wage, job outlook, family, and housing costs before deciding to make a move to another state or metropolitan area. Also, there is no guarantee that you will land one of the trucking jobs that will earn you the highest income regardless of where you are at.
No doubt you will come across a lot of sites claiming that they know the best cities for truckers to live in that are based on a bunch of data.
Personally, I would rather make a little less money driving and be close to my parents so that my parents can see their grandchildren. I’m sure you too have a bunch of reasons that will keep you where you are at, so unless you are offered a truck driving job that will earn you $50,000 more than you are earning right now I suggest you appreciate what you have and stay where you are at.
Best State For Tractor Trailer Drivers
Based on the data below you can clearly see that North Dakota is the best state for tractor trailer drivers based on average salary (yearly). The average driver in North Dakota earned $53,730.
I’m sure there wouldn’t be a lot of drivers that would argue with an income of over $50,000 per year. Bismarck, North Dakota has the highest average salary for tractor trailer drivers at $56,330. Also, the top two paying non metropolitan areas of the United States for tractor trailer drivers are west central North Dakota and far west North Dakota. Credit for data goes to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
States With The Most Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers
The states below had the highest amount of people employed as truck drivers. Don’t confuse employment with pay, keep looking down this page for a list of states that had highest average wage for truckers.
In 2016 Texas had the most people employed as truckers. According to the United States Department of Labor Texas had 172,780 people driving trucks. For every 1,000 jobs in Texas about 15 of those jobs belonged to truck drivers. Most truckers already know that Texas has a huge trucking industry and is continuing to grow.
California is also already known to have a huge trucking community as well. In 2016 California had 130,640 people driving trucks. For every 1,000 jobs in California eight of those jobs were truck drivers.
In 2016 Pennsylvania had the third most trucker jobs at 78,320 trucking jobs. Every 13 out of 1,000 jobs in Pennsylvania were trucker jobs.
In 2016 Florida had 77,660 trucker jobs. For every 1,000 jobs in Florida 9 of them were trucking jobs.
Ohio had 70,740 trucking jobs in 2016. In Florida every 13 jobs our of 1,000 were trucking jobs.
States With The Highest Average Wage For Truck Drivers
Now lets take a look at the states that in 2016 had the highest average wages for truck drivers. Something worth pointing out is that none of the states on the list of states with the most people employed as truck drivers are on this list too.
Also, these numbers represent averages and are not the wage that all drivers earned. Don’t expect to move to North Dakota and get a trucking job right away earning you $53,730 per year. Some are earning well over that amount while others are earning well below it.
1. North Dakota
In 2016 North Dakota had the highest average wage for truck drivers at $53,720.
The average wage for truck drivers in Alaska was $53,480.
In Massachusetts the average wage for trucker drivers was $49,920.
The average truck driver wage in Nevada was $49,590.
5. District of Columbia
$49,280 was the average wage for truck drivers.
Metropolitan Areas With The Most Truck Drivers
These are the metropolitan areas that had the most truck driver jobs in 2016. Again, if you are in one of these areas you are probably already well aware of this data based on the large amount of truck traffic you experience on the roads in and around them.
1. New York-Jersey City-White Plains
The amount of truck drivers in this area during 2016 was 39,290.
2. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
The metro area with the second most truck driver jobs was near Houston and had 39,170.
3. Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL
The third most amount of truck driver jobs by metro area was in the Chicago area. In 2016 there were 37,640 jobs.
4. Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
This metropolitan area had 34,000 trucker jobs in 2016.
5. Altanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
The Atlanta area had 32,280 trucker jobs in 2016.
Metropolitan Areas With the Highest Average Wage For Truck Drivers
These are the metropolitan areas that in 2016 had the highest average wage for truck drivers. I’m not suggesting you pack up and move to any of these places because there are a lot of factors that go into determining where to live. This is just one small factor for you to consider.
1. Bismarck, North Dakota
In 2016 the average wage for truck drivers in Bismarck was $56,330. A nice paycheck can be had in Bismarck, North Dakota.
2. Nassau County-Suffolk County, New York
The average wage for truck drivers was $55,650.
3. Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage truck drivers earned an average wage of $53,760.
4. Boston-Cambridge- Newton, Massachusetts
The Boston area truck drivers on average earned $53,420 in 2016.
5. Danville, Illinois
This small town in Illinois had a good average pay for truck drivers at $53,180.
Non metropolitan Areas With The Highest Employment For Truck Drivers
1. North Texas
In North Texas there are 7,380 tractor trailer drivers which is about 28 or every 1,000 jobs in this area.
2. West Texas
West Texas had 6,980 tractor trailer jobs which is about 36 of every 1,000 for the area.
3. North-Northeastern Ohio
This area had 6,350 truck driver jobs which is about 19 of every 1,000 jobs for the area.
4. Northeastern Wisconsin
The Northeastern Wisconsin area had 5,960 jobs which is about 29 of every 1,000.
5. Southeast Iowa
The Southeast Iowa area had 5,870 tractor trailer jobs which is about 26 out of every 1,000.
Non metropolitan Areas With The Highest Pay
1. West Central North Dakota
The average yearly wage for tractor trailer drivers in the West Central North Dakota area was $59,420.
2. Far West North Dakota
The far West North Dakota area had an average wage of $58,080.
3. Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard
This area had an average salary of $56,630 in 2016.
4. North Nevada
The North Nevada area had an average salary of $55,570.
5. Balance Of Alaska
The fifth non metropolitan area with the highest average pay for tractor trailer drivers was $54,940.