It's going to vary fairly widely. I worked in LTC as an LPN 4 years ago now and was started at $12.50 with annual increases of about 4% before I got my RN. At the same time there was a LTC facility in Des Moines openly offering $18/hr starting for LPN's.
My $300/month mobile home (rent, lot, garbage and water) would have been at least 450 or 500 in DSM, and west coast prices I cannot imagine. I'm in western AZ now and a low rent for anything with 4 walls and a roof starts at $600/month.
Cherokee is a decent town if your idea of hicksville isn't anyplace under 50,000 population. Cost of living is going to be a LOT less than anything west coast, and Iowa, while not exactly a low tax state, is worlds better than California. Figure an average of 2-1/2% less in sales tax even when factoring in local option sales tax. State income tax is also lower, and gasoline will save you AT LEAST 50 cents a gallon. Grocery prices are likewise lower, new cars don't require as much in the way of cost-adding specialty anti-pollution devices and you don't require a barbarian hoard-repelling wall enclosing your yard front and back to keep the neighbors from stealing the sod, much less anything else that isn't tied down.
Last edit by Ayrman on Mar 1, '08