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Cities in Every State Where Your Paycheck Stretches the Furthest

·9 min read
Cities in Every State Where Your Paycheck Stretches the Furthest

In a world where it feels like however much you earn is never enough, plenty of Americans will spend most of their lives dreaming about financial stability. This has come to the front of mind for even more people, with the coronavirus pandemic leaving a huge swath of the U.S. wholly dependent on unemployment insurance for the foreseeable future.

The circumstances of this lockdown also help illustrate an important financial lesson: it’s not just what you make — where you live matters a lot, too. Because, while you might never be earning as much as you’d like, reducing your basic cost of necessities can function like getting a raise. Securing a roof over your head and enough for your family to eat can cost significantly more (or less) than in communities a town or two over.

To help make your existing lifestyle cost less, GOBankingRates gathered data for the five biggest cities in each state and found the one where the combination of good wages and low cost of living allows you to stretch your paycheck the farthest.

A cost-of-living index score from Sperling’s Best Places was used to help with this assessment. This score, using 100 as the baseline, compares the cost of living in a respective city to the national average; so, for example, a cost-of-living index score of 110 would mean the city has costs 10% higher than the national average.

All of the data was then scored to determine which locale has the ideal combination of higher earnings and lower costs.

So, if you’re looking for a way to make that paycheck last longer, take a long look at which city in your state provides the most opportunities to earn more and spend less.

Last updated: Sept. 2, 2020

Alabama: Huntsville

  • Median household income: $53,840

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,253

  • Median rent: $804

  • Cost-of-living index: 86

Alaska: Knik-Fairview

  • Median household income: $88,644

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,799

  • Median rent: $1,406

  • Cost-of-living index: 121.6

Arizona: Chandler

  • Median household income: $80,716

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,633

  • Median rent: $1,246

  • Cost-of-living index: 113

Arkansas: Springdale

  • Median household income: $50,192

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,130

  • Median rent: $762

  • Cost-of-living index: 86

California: Fresno

  • Median household income: $47,189

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,518

  • Median rent: $969

  • Cost-of-living index: 102.6

From California to New York: The Cost of Living Across America

Colorado: Colorado Springs

  • Median household income: $61,324

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,504

  • Median rent: $1,072

  • Cost-of-living index: 104.5

Connecticut: Waterbury

  • Median household income: $41,617

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,598

  • Median rent: $959

  • Cost-of-living index: 93.8

Delaware: Middletown

  • Median household income: $89,354

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,710

  • Median rent: $1,202

  • Cost-of-living index: 123.1

Florida: Jacksonville

  • Median household income: $52,576

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,341

  • Median rent: $1,029

  • Cost-of-living index: 93.5

Georgia: Columbus

  • Median household income: $45,389

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,262

  • Median rent: $877

  • Cost-of-living index: 74.4

Hawaii: Hilo

  • Median household income: $60,120

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,510

  • Median rent: $1,013

  • Cost-of-living index: 130.3

Look: This Is the Living Wage You Need in All 50 States

Idaho: Idaho Falls

  • Median household income: $50,482

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,116

  • Median rent: $748

  • Cost-of-living index: 87.7

Illinois: Naperville

  • Median household income: $118,187

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $2,624

  • Median rent: $1,462

  • Cost-of-living index: 129.6

Indiana: Carmel

  • Median household income: $116,867

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $2,013

  • Median rent: $1,199

  • Cost-of-living index: 113.9

Iowa: Cedar Rapids

  • Median household income: $59,152

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,246

  • Median rent: $751

  • Cost-of-living index: 81.6

Kansas: Olathe

  • Median household income: $85,318

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,687

  • Median rent: $990

  • Cost-of-living index: 104.2

Kentucky: Lexington-Fayette

  • Median household income: $54,918

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,321

  • Median rent: $864

  • Cost-of-living index: 89.1

Louisiana: Lafayette

  • Median household income: $50,182

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,401

  • Median rent: $874

  • Cost-of-living index: 87.7

Maine: Auburn

  • Median household income: $48,924

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,371

  • Median rent: $758

  • Cost-of-living index: 86.5

Maryland: Columbia

  • Median household income: $105,815

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $2,344

  • Median rent: $1,687

  • Cost-of-living index: 121.6

Massachusetts: Springfield

  • Median household income: $36,730

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,392

  • Median rent: $847

  • Cost-of-living index: 89.7

Michigan: Sterling Heights

  • Median household income: $63,126

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,408

  • Median rent: $1,000

  • Cost-of-living index: 101.4

Minnesota: Rochester

  • Median household income: $70,749

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,428

  • Median rent: $942

  • Cost-of-living index: 94.1

Find Out: How Does Your Salary Measure Up To the Average American Income?

Mississippi: Southaven

  • Median household income: $61,181

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,203

  • Median rent: $1,025

  • Cost-of-living index: 87.2

Missouri: Independence

  • Median household income: $48,331

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,136

  • Median rent: $839

  • Cost-of-living index: 84

Montana: Butte-Silver Bow

  • Median household income: $42,174

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,039

  • Median rent: $619

  • Cost-of-living index: 80.1

Nebraska: Grand Island

  • Median household income: $52,642

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,201

  • Median rent: $737

  • Cost-of-living index: 85

Nevada: Henderson

  • Median household income: $69,940

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,641

  • Median rent: $1,226

  • Cost-of-living index: 117.7

New Hampshire: Rochester

  • Median household income: $58,427

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,598

  • Median rent: $998

  • Cost-of-living index: 93.5

New Jersey: Toms River

  • Median household income: $77,401

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $2,115

  • Median rent: $1,405

  • Cost-of-living index: 105.8

Read: How Far a $100,000 Salary Goes in America’s 50 Largest Cities

New Mexico: Roswell

  • Median household income: $43,481

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,009

  • Median rent: $772

  • Cost-of-living index: 78.6

New York: Buffalo

  • Median household income: $35,893

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $967

  • Median rent: $757

  • Cost-of-living index: 79.5

North Carolina: Winston-Salem

  • Median household income: $44,311

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,167

  • Median rent: $782

  • Cost-of-living index: 81.3

North Dakota: West Fargo

  • Median household income: $81,051

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,631

  • Median rent: $859

  • Cost-of-living index: 94.1

True City Living: The Most Affordable Downtowns To Live In Across America

Ohio: Akron

  • Median household income: $37,533

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $987

  • Median rent: $735

  • Cost-of-living index: 69.5

Oklahoma: Broken Arrow

  • Median household income: $72,686

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,352

  • Median rent: $1,026

  • Cost-of-living index: 90.9

Oregon: Hillsboro

  • Median household income: $78,144

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,755

  • Median rent: $1,358

  • Cost-of-living index: 122.1

Pennsylvania: Erie

  • Median household income: $36,882

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $995

  • Median rent: $698

  • Cost-of-living index: 74.6

Not Earning Enough? Tips To Live Comfortably on a Budget

Rhode Island: Warwick

  • Median household income: $70,490

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,704

  • Median rent: $1,132

  • Cost-of-living index: 101.5

South Carolina: Columbia

  • Median household income: $45,663

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,272

  • Median rent: $910

  • Cost-of-living index: 84.3

South Dakota: Aberdeen

  • Median household income: $49,471

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,191

  • Median rent: $669

  • Cost-of-living index: 78.6

Tennessee: Clarksville

  • Median household income: $53,007

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,175

  • Median rent: $946

  • Cost-of-living index: 85.6

Related: 10 Best and Worst Things To Do When Looking For a Place To Retire

Texas: San Antonio

  • Median household income: $50,980

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,351

  • Median rent: $958

  • Cost-of-living index: 89.7

Utah: West Jordan

  • Median household income: $75,481

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,568

  • Median rent: $1,191

  • Cost-of-living index: 115.3

Vermont: Rutland

  • Median household income: $45,229

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,446

  • Median rent: $776

  • Cost-of-living index: 83.3

Virginia: Chesapeake

  • Median household income: $75,790

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,828

  • Median rent: $1,235

  • Cost-of-living index: 106.4

Washington: Spokane

  • Median household income: $47,822

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,266

  • Median rent: $842

  • Cost-of-living index: 92.3

Also See: 30 Best Cities for Young Professionals

West Virginia: Wheeling

  • Median household income: $42,489

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $977

  • Median rent: $646

  • Cost-of-living index: 75.9

Wisconsin: Green Bay

  • Median household income: $47,797

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,156

  • Median rent: $701

  • Cost-of-living index: 82.3

Wyoming: Rock Springs

  • Median household income: $75,441

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,478

  • Median rent: $883

  • Cost-of-living index: 96.2

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates looked at the five biggest cities in each state by population and scored each on four factors to determine where your paycheck will stretch the furthest. Each city was scored on: (1) median annual household income, (2) median monthly homeowner costs, including mortgage, (3) median monthly rent and (4) cost-of-living index score. Population data and factors No. 1-3 were taken from the United States Census Bureau American Community Survey’s 2018 five-year estimates, and factor No. 4 was taken from Sperling’s Best Places. Factors No. 2 and 3 were weighted at half the other factors. All data was collected on and up to date as of May 29, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Cities in Every State Where Your Paycheck Stretches the Furthest

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