Understanding Your Report

How is ZIP code factored into my salary report? What does localization include?

On the Query page, the ZIP code for your church is a required field. This data point is used to provide localized information in four sections of your report (depending on your report type): (1) Localized Salary Recommendation, (2) Salary Comparison, (3) Cost of Living Comparison, and (4) Comparable Jobs.

Localized Salary Recommendation

In every full-time pastoral report, the ZIP code you enter is used to create a fingerprint of your community based on four variables:

  1. Region
  2. Cost of Living Index
  3. Population Density
  4. Median Household Income

ChurchSalary's powerful calculator uses these four variables to search for the closest possible employee matches in our database. The set of tables in the Localized Salary Recommendation section shows you the the average base salary, housing allowance, and total compensation for similar employees based on these four variables.

For example, in the region table, a set of averages is displayed based on similar employees serving at similar churches in your Bureau of Labor Statistics region.*

Learn more about the Localized Salary Recommendation section in the video below.

Salary Comparison

Average salary data relevant to your location is presented in the Salary Comparison section. Based on their self-reported geographic setting, the average salary for similar employees serving at similar churches is broken down based on whether their church is located in a:

  • Metropolitan city (or large city)
  • Suburb of a large city
  • Small town
  • Rural area

Learn more about how these geographic settings are defined in this FAQ article.

Cost of Living Comparison

Using your ZIP code (and a second one if you enter it), ChurchSalary compares the cost of living in your location with the national average. This percentage is a relative measurement of the cost of 60 different goods and services in your ZIP code than the national average. Additionally, these ZIP codes are also used to display median household income (or MHI) data.

Comparable Jobs

ChurchSalary displays salary ranges for jobs that a similar employee could find in the larger marketplace in the Comparable Jobs. These salary ranges are based on compensation data reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for your Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA.**

Learn more about the Comparable Jobs and the ranges within this section in the video below.

Have questions about other sections in your report? Watch our other How To videos, consult our FAQs, or contact us.



* New York and New Jersey are included in the New England region in the Localized Salary Recommendation section in order to increase the number valid matches for pastors serving in this two-state region.

** In some cases, where not enough salary data has been reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compensation ranges in the Comparable Jobs section may be reported based on your state. The report most commonly affected by this sample size problem are full-time church musicians/performers.


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