Washington, DC Tops List Of ‘America’s Hardest-Working Cities’


Some cities stand out as shining examples of the American spirit in a nation known for its strong work ethic. After all, work is the backbone of the American dream. A recent study by WalletHub set out to identify the hardest-working cities in the United States, comparing 116 of the most populated cities across 11 key metrics. Who came out on top? Results point to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC!

The study offers a fascinating insight into the work habits of Americans and the factors that contribute to a city’s overall work ethic. Conducted in February 2024, researchers looked at two main dimensions: “Direct Work Factors” and “Indirect Work Factors.” Direct Work Factors, which accounted for 80% of the total score, included metrics such as average workweek hours, employment rate, and the share of households where no adults work. Indirect Work Factors, which made up the remaining 20%, considered aspects like average commute time, the share of workers with multiple jobs, and annual volunteer hours per resident.

With that said, let’s take a look at the full list!

Hardest-Working Cities in the U.S.

Overall Rank* CityTotal Score Direct Work Factors Rank Indirect Work Factors Rank 
1Washington, DC76.9749
2Irving, TX76.39146
3Cheyenne, WY76.15727
4Virginia Beach, VA75.79811
5Anchorage, AK75.55385
6Norfolk, VA75.27914
7Dallas, TX75.21532
8San Francisco, CA74.67640
9Denver, CO73.931222
10Austin, TX73.82279
11Sioux Falls, SD73.561174
12Corpus Christi, TX73.441076
13Plano, TX72.841438
14Fort Worth, TX72.141630
15Arlington, TX72.121531
16Chesapeake, VA71.85307
17Aurora, CO71.682416
18Laredo, TX70.982362
19Garland, TX70.902521
20Nashville, TN70.521377
21Manchester, NH70.243435
22Omaha, NE70.003625
23Raleigh, NC69.922929
24Charlotte, NC69.893324
25Chandler, AZ69.742064
26Scottsdale, AZ69.701778
27Houston, TX69.242651
28Gilbert, AZ68.753150
29Tampa, FL68.551997
30Boston, MA68.45493
31Fremont, CA68.223733
32Seattle, WA68.05516
33Atlanta, GA67.863269
34Portland, ME67.724057
35Colorado Springs, CO67.435217
36Oklahoma City, OK66.9522101
37Indianapolis, IN66.914718
38St. Petersburg, FL66.7828100
39Orlando, FL66.7121107
40Jacksonville, FL66.4218109
41Lubbock, TX66.403998
42Baltimore, MD66.38712
43San Antonio, TX66.143586
44Salt Lake City, UT66.02665
45Phoenix, AZ65.904154
46Durham, NC65.804388
47Fargo, ND65.524863
48Little Rock, AR65.3238115
49Kansas City, MO65.255041
50San Jose, CA65.194255
51Miami, FL64.9127114
52Oakland, CA64.675342
53Boise, ID64.186348
54Portland, OR64.17831
55El Paso, TX64.136443
56Jersey City, NJ63.895837
57Louisville, KY63.825734
58Honolulu, HI63.7246110
59Tulsa, OK63.5745111
60Billings, MT63.486266
61Minneapolis, MN62.777713
62Des Moines, IA62.756967
63Lexington-Fayette, KY62.5254102
64Wichita, KS62.3656105
65Glendale, AZ62.347047
66Jackson, MS62.1160106
67San Diego, CA61.955980
68Columbus, OH61.946559
69Irvine, CA61.625589
70Fort Wayne, IN61.566893
71Hialeah, FL61.4444112
72Santa Ana, CA61.296187
73Lincoln, NE61.258228
74Mesa, AZ61.137261
75Long Beach, CA60.697465
76St. Louis, MO60.658136
77St. Paul, MN60.568512
78Anaheim, CA60.497375
79Reno, NV60.457590
80Los Angeles, CA60.147660
81Chula Vista, CA60.117853
82Winston-Salem, NC59.597992
83Henderson, NV59.198071
84Philadelphia, PA58.52988
85Birmingham, AL58.2967108
86North Las Vegas, NV58.148449
87Chicago, IL57.718939
88Las Vegas, NV57.288858
89Cincinnati, OH57.239720
90Bakersfield, CA56.299372
91Albuquerque, NM56.169284
92Memphis, TN55.919173
93Riverside, CA55.369468
94New Orleans, LA55.268796
95Greensboro, NC55.089694
96Sacramento, CA54.969095
97Wilmington, DE54.609581
98Pittsburgh, PA54.4110419
99New York, NY53.7010144
100Baton Rouge, LA53.4310091
101Madison, WI52.9899104
102Milwaukee, WI52.8510810
103Charleston, WV52.6186116
104Stockton, CA52.2810615
105Tucson, AZ51.9410299
106Providence, RI51.6010726
107San Bernardino, CA50.6210583
108Columbia, SC50.33103113
109Cleveland, OH50.0011023
110Fresno, CA48.8610982
111Bridgeport, CT48.311124
112Toledo, OH47.5011152
113Newark, NJ43.1911345
114Buffalo, NY39.22114103
115Detroit, MI39.0811570
116Burlington, VT34.4311656
Note: *No. 1 = Hardest Working
With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that city, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.

A Closer Look At The Top 3

So why did Washington, D.C. emerge as the hardest-working city? This is due, in part, to the city having the highest share of workers who leave vacation time unused at 64%. Residents of D.C. also work the third-most hours per week on average and are willing to take relatively long commutes to work, adding over 30 minutes to their workday. Additionally, more than 30% of the District’s residents are members of local volunteer groups or organizations, showcasing their dedication to their community.

Irving, TX, secured the second spot on the list, largely because it has the lowest share of households where no adults work, at only 11%. Irving also ranks ninth in the country for the mean number of hours worked per week. However, this hard work comes at a cost, with Irving residents having significantly less leisure time compared to people in most other cities.

Cheyenne, WY, rounded out the top three, with residents putting in the third-most hours per week, on average. The city boasts one of the highest employment rates in the country, at over 97%, meaning nearly all working-age residents are employed. Cheyenne also has the seventh-highest rate of workers with multiple jobs, at nearly 7%. As a result, people in Cheyenne have the third-lowest amount of leisure time, on average.


The WalletHub study employed a comprehensive methodology to determine the hardest-working cities in America. The research team evaluated 116 of the most populated cities using two key dimensions: “Direct Work Factors” and “Indirect Work Factors.” These dimensions were assessed using 11 key metrics, each graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the “hardest-working.”

The Direct Work Factors dimension, which accounted for 80% of the total score, included six metrics. The average workweek hours were given the highest weight (triple weight, ~36.92 points), as this metric directly measures the time spent working. The employment rate and the share of households where no adults work were both given full weight (~12.31 points each), as they provide insight into the overall employment situation in each city. The share of workers leaving vacation time unused and the share of engaged workers (a state-level metric) were assigned a half weight (~6.15 points each), as they relate to work dedication and engagement. Finally, the idle youth (16-24) rate was also given half weight, as it indicates the proportion of young people not engaged in work or education.

The Indirect Work Factors dimension, which made up the remaining 20% of the total score, included five metrics, each given full weight (~4.00 points). The average commute time was included as it can significantly impact the total time spent on work-related activities. The share of workers with multiple jobs (a state-level metric) was considered as it reflects the need for some individuals to work more than one job. Annual volunteer hours per resident and the share of residents who participate in local groups or organizations were included to account for community engagement and additional time commitments outside of paid work. Lastly, the average leisure time spent per day (a state-level metric) was considered as it relates to work-life balance.

To calculate the overall score for each city, the researchers determined the weighted average across all 11 metrics. The resulting scores were then used to rank-order the cities from hardest-working to least hard-working. To ensure a geographically diverse sample, the study included at least one city from each of the 50 states. It is important to note that the term “city” in this study refers specifically to the city proper and does not include the surrounding metropolitan area.

By employing this multi-faceted approach, the WalletHub study aimed to provide a comprehensive assessment of the work ethic in American cities. The methodology takes into account both direct measures of work, such as hours worked and employment rates, as well as indirect factors that can impact work-life balance and overall quality of life. This detailed analysis allows for a nuanced understanding of the factors contributing to a city’s overall work ethic and provides valuable insights for policymakers, employers, and residents alike.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post