5 Best Cities to Make $100K — and Live a Great Life

Live well within your means in these five cities.

Many people want to find a quality home while still living within their financial means.

The best cities to live in allow you to live comfortably while taking home more of your pay.

But where can you earn $100,000 and still live a great life?

A recent GOBankingRates study examined the best cities to live on a $100,000 salary in each state.

In order to qualify as a “best” city, the total cost of living expenditures could not exceed $100,000.

The cities were analyzed based on the number of households in each and ranked according to livability, amenities, average annual costs for groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous expenditures, as well as the locale’s median rent.

According to the study, here are the best cities to make $100,000.

See the Full Study: Best Place to Live on a $100,000 Salary in Every State

Best Cities to Live a Great Life, Ranked by Comfortability

Pike Creek, Delaware, ranked first for comfortability, with the average difference of median household income and “comfortable income” at an impressive $45,774.

This indicates that expenditures cost much less than $100,000, and the average individual does not need to make the median income to live here comfortably.

The 5 Best Cities to Make $100,000
CityMedian Household IncomeIncome Needed to Live ComfortablyDifference Between Median Household Income and Income Required to Live Comfortably
Pike Creek, Delaware$122,772$76,998$45,774
Cinco Ranch, Texas$141,992$99,043$42,949
Severna Park, Maryland$132,310$98,601$33,709
Los Alamos, New Mexico$101,399$69,096$32,303
Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania$116,701$90,019$26,682

Check Out: How Much You Need to Live Comfortably in 50 Major US Cities

Top 5 Cities Where You Can Live Comfortably on $100,000

Each city within the study needed to have a median household income higher than the “live comfortably” income to account for the annual cost of necessities, including rent, utilities, groceries and healthcare.

The following five cities ranked the best, with living expenditures costing less than $100,000.

Also See: 35 Cities Where You Can Afford to Live Off Less Than $50,000

Pike Creek, Delaware

Wilmington Delaware skyline
©Shutterstock.com

Pike Creek is a census-designated place located 10 miles west of Delaware’s largest city, Wilmington. But the suburb’s difference of median household income and “live comfortably” income is $45,774. With total annual necessities — including rent, groceries, utilities and healthcare — at $38,499, the cost of living in Pike Creek is affordable for the area.

Cinco Ranch, Texas

The downtown skyline and surrounding metropolitan area of Houston, Texas shot from an altitude of about 1500 feet during a helicopter photo flight.
Art Wager / Getty Images

Cinco Ranch is a community based in the city of Houston. Pike Creek’s difference of median household income and “live comfortably” income is just under $2,900 more than Cinco Ranch. However, the median household income of $141,992 leaves residents plenty of cash to cover the annual necessities worth $49,522.

Don’t Miss: Places Where You’re ‘Rich’ Earning Less Than $100,000

Severna Park, Maryland

This photo was taken of Baltimore, MD while flying a helicopter at an altitude of 1000 feet above ground level and passing the city on June 12, 2017 while on a photo mission from a promotions company for twelve golfing resorts.
Majestic_Aerials / Getty Images

Part of the Washington-Maryland metro area, Severna Park is fewer than 20 miles from Baltimore and about 40 miles from Washington, D.C. Annual rent for the area is $29,412, slightly higher than Maryland’s average rent. The income needed to live comfortably in Severna Park is $98,601, the highest amount in the study’s top five cities.

From Alabama to Wyoming: The Cost of Living Across America

Los Alamos, New Mexico

Photo of a residential neighborhood with large houses in Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA, on a clear blue sky day.
benedek / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Los Alamos is 33 miles northwest of Santa Fe. The town’s median household income sits right above the state average at $101,399.

However, the cost of living in New Mexico is far cheaper than other metro areas in this study, with Los Alamos’ annual necessities cost at $34,548.

Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania

Upper St. Clair Pennsylvania farm
Daniel Case / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3

Upper St. Clair is an affluent community located 10 miles south of Pittsburgh. The suburb has the smallest difference between median household income and “live comfortably” income at $26,682. Because of its prime location, the income to live comfortably is at a steep $90,019 with an annual necessities cost of $45,010. However, with a livability score of 85, indicating low crime but great education and housing opportunities, this Pennsylvania neighborhood is a great place to raise a family.

Find out how much you really take home from a $100,000 salary in every state.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the best places to live on a $100,000 salary in each state by analyzing cities along these criteria: (1) minimum number of households is 5,000; for less populated states or states with fewer average households per city, 1,000 was the minimum; (2) livability score, sourced from AreaVibes; (3) amenities score, sourced from AreaVibes; (4) itemized cost of living index for groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous expenditures, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, which were adjusted to each city’s local cost of living, sourced from Sperling’s Best Places; (5) median rent, sourced from Zillow’s Feb. 2019 rental price index; Trulia was used also for rental data that was unavailable from Zillow. In order to qualify as a “best” city, the total cost of living expenditures could not exceed $100,000. The list of cities was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey and includes all cities the Census Bureau has complete data for.