58 Federal Locality Pay Areas: 18.5% to 25.86% in 7 Years

What are salary differences between the 58 locality pay areas? One area increased $15,396 over 7 years while another gained $22,282 for GS12/Step5.

18.5% Increase at Bottom—25.86% at Top Tier of Locality Pay

While many probably assume the “Rest of the US” is not in the locality pay system, that is not the case. From 2018 – 2024, a GS12, Step 5 federal employee in this category of the federal government’s locality pay system has had an 18.5% pay increase totaling $15,396. Pay tables for 2024 incorporated the 4.7% General Schedule Increase and a Locality Payment of 16.82%.

The Rest of the US is at the bottom of the heap regarding pay increases for federal employees. The San Francisco pay area is at the top of the list for the largest dollar increase in pay (the actual name is the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland locality pay area). These federal employees had an increase of $22,282 over seven years for a GS12, Step 5.

In addition to a higher percentage increase, the pay rate also started at a higher level. In the San Francisco area, the pay for this GS grade and step was $100,393 compared to the $83,159 for the Rest of the US.”

The largest percentage increase goes to the Miami, Florida area, with an increase of 25.86%, although the total dollar increase was less ($21,568) than the San Francisco pay area.

About 14% of the federal employees in the General Schedule are in the Washington, DC area. Almost 96% are in the FERS system, and there were 2,258,821 federal employees in this workforce profile, according to the Office of Personnel Management.

43 of the locality pay areas at this GS level had a $100,000 or higher salary in 2024.

All Locality Pay Areas

Here is a complete list showing yearly pay increases for a GS12/5 and the average of each year’s pay areas.

Pay Area2018201920202021202220232024Increase%
San Francisco$100,393$102,582$106,067$107,128$110,491$116,155$122,675$22,28222.20%
New York, NY$95,239$97,254$100,473$101,478$104,546$109,716$115,783$20,54421.60%
Los Angeles, CA$94,115$96,091$99,296$100,289$103,423$108,693$114,601$20,48621.77%
Houston, TX$94,958$96,873$99,978$100,978$103,694$108,355$113,657$18,69919.69%
Washington, DC$92,421$94,520$97,848$98,827$101,183$106,759$112,425$20,00421.60%
San Diego, CA$92,176$94,140$97,316$98,289$101,303$106,372$112,248$20,07221.78%
Boston, MA$91,888$93,753$96,821$97,789$100,699$105,599$111,336$19,44821.16%
Hartford, CT$92,414$94,191$97,106$98,077$100,784$105,486$111,041$18,62720.16%
Seattle, WA$90,179$92,123$95,254$96,206$99,298$104,406$110,358$20,17922.40%
Chicago, IL$91,880$93,592$96,431$97,395$99,994$104,583$110,020$18,14019.74%
Denver, CO$90,439$92,313$95,336$96,290$99,158$103,987$109,573$19,13421.16%
Sacramento, CA$89,999$91,794$94,766$95,714$98,539$103,383$108,966$18,96721.07%
Detroit, MI$91,001$92,685$95,479$96,433$98,873$103,439$108,679$17,67819.43%
Philadelphia, PA$89,804$91,582$94,519$95,464$98,268$103,012$108,451$18,64720.76%
Minneapolis, MN$88,925$90,632$93,484$94,419$97,138$101,844$107,270$18,34520.63%
Dallas, TX$88,947$90,785$93,724$94,661$97,285$101,828$107,068$18,12120.37%
Portland, OR$88,320$89,996$92,794$93,722$96,248$100,708$106,013$17,69320.03%
Miami, FL$83,399$89,998$92,621$93,548$95,830$100,031$104,967$21,56825.86%
Atlanta, GA$87,332$88,907$91,609$92,525$94,924$99,128$104,149$16,81719.26%
Milwaukee, WI$86,597$88,132$90,709$91,616$93,910$98,097$103,052$16,45519.00%
Phoenix, AZ$85,840$87,416$90,079$90,980$93,539$97,855$102,942$17,10219.92%
Cleveland, OH$86,554$88,037$90,604$91,510$93,856$98,057$102,934$16,38018.92%
Buffalo, NY$85,905$87,467$90,139$91,041$93,492$97,783$102,917$17,01219.80%
Richmond, VA$85,624$87,255$89,952$90,851$93,384$97,807$102,849$17,22520.12%
Raleigh, NC$86,150$87,701$90,357$91,260$93,616$97,799$102,841$16,69119.37%
Columbus, OH$85,754$87,321$90,004$90,904$93,423$97,718$102,757$17,00319.83%
Cincinnati, OH$86,402$87,861$90,402$91,306$93,616$97,783$102,664$17,38420.12%
Huntsville, AL$85,408$87,109$89,877$90,776$93,237$97,468$102,487$17,07920.00%
Laredo, TX$84,622$86,407$89,149$90,041$92,772$97,211$102,360$17,73820.96%
Dayton, OH$85,134$86,692$89,374$90,268$92,834$97,170$102,200$17,06620.05%
Pittsburgh, PA$85,307$86,875$89,539$90,435$92,811$96,993$101,896.00$16,58919.45%
Albany, NY$83,973$85,654$88,399$89,283$91,867$96,252$101,449$17,47620.8%
Austin, TX$84,125$85,852$88,617$89,503$91,960$96,211$101,230$17,10520.33%
Colorado Springs$84,038$85,654$88,324$89,208$91,665$95,978$101,010$16,97220.20%
St. Louis, MO$83,952$85,552$88,227$89,109$91,611$95,970$100,926$16,97420.22%
Charlotte, NC$83,764$85,362$88,069$88,950$91,387$95,591$100,614$16,85020.12%
Las Vegas, NV$83,966$85,545$88,249$89,132$91,534$95,696$100,588$16,62219.80%
Harrisburg, PA$83,721$85,259$87,889$88,768$91,263$95,559$100,479$16,75820.02%
Burlington, VT$83,159$84,916$87,657$88,534$91,046$95,333$100,369$16,78020.7%
Tucson, AZ$83,735$85,281$87,882$88,761$91,162$95,406$100,327$16,59219.65%
Davenport, IA$83,670$85,143$87,769$88,647$91,015$95,252$100,108$16,43819.65%
Kansas City$83,685$85,223$87,837$88,715$91,085$95,228$100,099$16,41419.61%
San Antonio, TX$83,159$84,836$87,567$88,443$90,868$95,083$99,964$16,80520.21%
Virginia Beach, VA$83,159$84,179$87,372$88,246$90,706$95,035$99,939$16,78020.20%
Albuquerque, NM$83,440$84,931$87,499$88,375$90,675$94,785$99,593$16,15319.36%
Omaha, NE$83,159$84,689$87,237$88,110$90,512$94,696$99,500$16,34119.65%
Birmingham, AL$83,159$84,616$87,185$88,056$90,419$94,608$99,475$16,31619.6%
Indianapolis, IN$83,779$85,201$87,679$88,556$90,767$94,737$99,458$15,67918.71%
Des Moines, IA$83,159$84,543$86,952$87,822$90,195$94,282$99,281$16,12219.39%
Palm Bay, FL$83,562$85,026$87,537$88,412$90,574$94,519$99,213$15,65118.73%
Corpus Christi, TX$83,159$84,792$87,410$88,284$90,427$94,358$99,045$15,88619.10%
Rochester, NY$83159$84,543$86,952$87,822$89,947$93,875$99,002$15,84319.05%
Spokane, WA$83,159$84,543$86,952$87,822$89,947$93,875$98,859$15,70018.88%
Fresno, CA$83,159$84,543$86,952$87,822$89,947$93,875$98,834$15,67518.85%
Reno, NV$83,159$84,543$86,952$87,822$89,947$98,555$98,800$15,64118.81%
Rest of US (RUS)$83,159$84,543$86,952$87,822$89,947$93,875$98,555$15,39618.51%
Chart ©2024 by FedSmith.com

Largest Locality Pay Area with Highest Grade Levels

The Washington, DC locality area covers a wide geographic area. The distance from north to south extends from York, Pennsylvania to Caroline, Virginia. From east to west, it extends from Dorchester, Maryland to Mineral, West Virginia. The official name of this pay area is Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA.

As of September 2023, this pay area has the largest number of federal employees out of the 58 areas. The average grade for the federal workforce is 10.55. For the Washington pay area, the average GS grade is 12.74. According to OPM, as of August 30, 2023, 390,738 employees were in this locality pay area. The 2024 data are not yet available.

The area with the second largest number of employees was New York with 76,987, also as of August 30, 2023.

Here is the approximate breakdown of the grades just in the District of Columbia:

GradeNumber of Employees
Data source U.S. Office of Personnel Management

2025 Locality Pay Changes and Approximate Average Salary for 2024 of About $106,880

The federal government’s system for awarding locality pay to employees has been expanding. 

In 2023, most federal employees (1,546,343 or 68.7%) were in a locality pay area. These figures do not include the approximately 33,000 federal employees added to the system for 2024.

The locality pay system will eventually include the vast majority of federal employees as more are being added yearly, with the changes being recommended by the Federal Salary Council, approved by the President’s Pay Agent, and implemented by the Office of Personnel Management.

About 15,000 more will likely be added to the system in 2025. The table below is a listing of these new areas recommended for inclusion by a working group for the Federal Salary Council. This does not include any new locality pay areas; it would add to existing pay areas by expanding the application of locality pay to new cities, towns, and counties.

These areas are just recommendations from a working group. To be finalized, the Federal Salary Council will have to approve the recommendations and the President’s Pay Agent would then have to go along with the Federal Salary Council.

After the Pay Agent makes a decision, OPM will issue a proposal for changes. After considering comments, a final regulation would have to be issued. Obviously, there are possibilities for changes to be made to these early recommendations.

As national elections are held in November, the results could also impact the recommendations and certainly could impact future decisions by the President’s Pay Agent. The electoral impact is more likely to be felt for 2026 locality pay as a new president would not take office until January 2025 and new appointees would be made by the president after that date.

The average federal salary for 2023 (adjusted to include locality pay) was $101,600. The average salary for 2024 has not been released and may not be included in OPM data for another several months.

Since the average pay raise for 2024 was 5.2%, the approximate average 2024 federal salary is about $106,883. With the addition of the new pay areas and adding a significant number of other employees to existing pay areas for 2024, this average salary is an approximation.

Recommendations for 2025 Locality Pay Area Changes

2025 LPA2024 LPAPlace NameComponent TypeGS Employees
Albuquerque, NMRest of USSocorro County, NMSingle County AA95
Atlanta, GARest of USMacon County, ALMetro AA593
Atlanta, GABirminghamTallapoosa County, ALMetro AA28
Austin, TXRest of USBell County, TXMetro AA6,499
Austin, TXRest of USCoryell County, TXMetro AA76
Austin, TXRest of USFayette County, TXSingle County AA (Adj to multi and sums to 20 PCT+)18
Austin, TXRest of USLampasas County, TXMetro AA24
Boston, MARest of USWindham County, VTMetro AA28
Charlotte, NCRest of USMcDowell County, NCBasic LPA40
Charlotte, NCRest of USRutherford County, NCSingle County AA31
Cleveland, OHColumbus,Coshocton County, OHBasic LPA13
Cleveland, OHRest of USHancock County, OHMetro AA42
Cleveland, OHRest of USOttawa County, OHBasic LPA136
Cleveland, OHRest of USSandusky County, OHBasic LPA12
Cleveland, OHRest of USSeneca County, OHMetro AA9
Columbus, OHRest of USAthens County, OHBasic LPA115
Columbus, OHRest of USJackson County, OHSingle County AA8
Columbus, OHRest of USMeigs County, OHSingle County AA5
Columbus, OHRest of USWyandot County, OHSurrounded1
Dallas, TXRest of USLamar County, TXMetro AA36
Dallas, TXRest of USMarshall County, OKSingle County AA4
Dallas, TXRest of USRed River County, TXMetro AA8
Denver, CORest of USLake County, COMetro AA24
Denver, CORest of USSummit County, COMetro AA45
Detroit, MIRest of USBay County, MIMetro AA60
Detroit, MIRest of USFulton County, OHMetro AA8
Detroit, MIRest of USLucas County, OHMetro AA523
Detroit, MIRest of USMidland County, MIMetro AA16
Detroit, MIRest of USSaginaw County, MIMetro AA953
Detroit, MIRest of USWood County, OHMetro AA46
Houston, TXRest of USPolk County, TXSingle County AA10
Huntsville, ALRest of USFranklin County, ALMetro AA32
Huntsville, ALRest of USGiles County, TNSingle County AA7
Indianapolis, INRest of USCass County, INSingle County AA31
Indianapolis, INRest of USHoward County, INBasic LPA31
Indianapolis, INRest of USMiami County, INBasic LPA331
Indianapolis, INRest of USParke County, INSingle County AA11
Indianapolis, INRest of USWhite County, INMetro AA5
Kansas City, MO-KSRest of USSt. Clair County, MOSingle County AA3
Las Vegas, NVRest of USEsmeralda County, NVSingle County AA0
Los Angeles, CARest of USLa Paz County, AZSingle County AA (Adj to multi200
Minneapolis, MNRest of USPepin County, WISingle County AA3
Minneapolis, MNRest of USTodd County, MNSingle County AA22
Minneapolis, MNRest of USWinona County, MNMetro AA31
Phoenix, AZRets of USYuma County, AZSurrounded2,629
Pittsburgh, PARest of USMonongalia County, WVMetro AA816
Pittsburgh, PARest of USPreston County, WVMetro AA691
Raleigh, NCRest of USRichmond County, NCMetro AA36
Raleigh, NCRest of USSampson County, NCSingle County AA33
Reno, NVRest of USMineral County, NVSingle County AA44
Reno, NVRest of USPershing County, NVSingle County AA5
San Jose-San Francisco, CARest of USTuolumne County, CASingle County AA233
Washington, DCRest of USPage County, VASingle County AA97


About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47