GOBankingRates

States Where You’re Most and Least Likely to Live Paycheck to Paycheck

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Making more money might help you get ahead financially. But where you live might have an even bigger impact on your financial well-being. If you're in a place with a high cost of living, even a big paycheck might not go very far.

To help you pinpoint where your money goes the furthest, GOBankingRates ranked all 50 states based on what percentage of income is left over after covering the cost of living expenses.

Click through to see the best places to live to stretch your paycheck.

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50. Hawaii

Median household income per paycheck: $2,768.35
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: -$738.04
Percentage of leftover income: -26.66%

Hawaii has the fourth-highest median household income. But even a big paycheck doesn't go far in one of the states with the highest cost of living.

In fact, Hawaii is the only state on this list where residents have a deficit after covering their cost of living expenses.

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49. California

Median household income per paycheck: $2,453.19
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $186.06
Percentage of leftover income: 7.58%

Despite having the ninth-highest median household income, California residents have the second-least income left over after the cost of living expenses. The state's high housing costs take a big bite out of paychecks.

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48. New York

Median household income per paycheck: $2,336.19
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $337.57
Percentage of leftover income: 14.45%

Even though the median household income in New York is slightly lower than in Hawaii and California, lower living expenses help residents hang onto more of their paychecks.

However, New Yorkers have less left over after expenses than residents of most states. So, they might need to find ways to survive paycheck to paycheck.

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47. Alaska

Median household income per paycheck: $2,863.23
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $548.28
Percentage of leftover income: 19.15%

Alaska has the second-highest median household income. But a high cost of living leaves Alaska residents with less income after paying expenses than residents in 46 other states have.

Struggling With Money? 10 Reasons You're Likely to Live Paycheck to Paycheck

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46. Maryland

Median household income per paycheck: $2,925.65
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $574.76
Percentage of leftover income: 19.65%

Maryland's median household income is the highest in the nation. But its residents are still among the most likely to live paycheck to paycheck because of the state's high cost of living.

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45. Oregon

Median household income per paycheck: $2,048.85
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $413.61
Percentage of leftover income: 20.19%

Oregon's lower median household income means residents have less left over after expenses than residents of most other states. It also means a bigger percentage of paychecks go toward covering living costs. Oregon also is one of the states with the biggest tax bites.

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44. Massachusetts

Median household income per paycheck: $2,729.00
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $592.09
Percentage of leftover income: 21.70%

Massachusetts residents benefit from a high median household income — the sixth highest in the U.S. But the state's high cost of living means residents have less than 22 percent of their paycheck left after expenses.

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43. Connecticut

Median household income per paycheck: $2,759.81
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $678.38
Percentage of leftover income: 24.58%

A slightly higher median household income and slightly lower expenses help Connecticut residents have more money left over than residents in nearby Massachusetts. Still, nearly three-quarters of take-home pay has to go toward the cost of living in Connecticut.

Time for a Move? Here's How Much Americans Pay in Taxes in Every State

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42. Vermont

Median household income per paycheck: $2,157.85
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $564.95
Percentage of leftover income: 26.18%

Vermont residents benefit from a relatively high median household income. But it's not high enough to leave them with much after covering the cost of living in the state.

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41. New Jersey

Median household income per paycheck: $2,834.69
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $751.27
Percentage of leftover income: 26.5%

New Jersey residents are less likely to live paycheck to paycheck than their neighbors in New York thanks to a higher median household income and lower housing costs.

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40. Rhode Island

Median household income per paycheck: $2,245.65
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $635.87
Percentage of leftover income: 28.32%

Residents of the smallest state have a smaller percentage of their paychecks left over after expenses than residents of most states. Even though the median household income in Rhode Island is in the top half of states, the cost of living is relatively high here.

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39. Maine

Median household income per paycheck: $1,954.85
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $646.52
Percentage of leftover income: 33.07%

The cost of living in Maine isn't as high as in other New England states — but neither is the median household income. That's why residents of Maine have just 33 percent of their paychecks left over after expenses.

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38. New Hampshire

Median household income per paycheck: $2,634.04
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $911.96
Percentage of leftover income: 34.62%

New Hampshire has the seventh-highest median household income in the U.S. But residents still are likely to live paycheck to paycheck because of the state's high cost of living — especially for food, health and utility costs.

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37. Washington

Median household income per paycheck: $2,417.23
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $849.72
Percentage of leftover income: 35.15%

A high median household income helps leave Washington residents with more than one-third of their paychecks after expenses. But that's not nearly as much as what residents are left with in states least likely to live paycheck to paycheck.

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36. Colorado

Median household income per paycheck: $2,404.62
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $886.49
Percentage of leftover income: 36.87%

The cost of utilities in Colorado is lower than in more than half of the states. But other living expenses are higher and take a bigger bite out of paychecks, leaving residents with less wiggle room in their budgets than in states with a lower cost of living.

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35. Nevada

Median household income per paycheck: $2,042.08
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $763.73
Percentage of leftover income: 37.40%

Like in Colorado, utility costs are relatively low in Nevada. But residents' paychecks are stretched by other expenses that are higher than in half of the other states. Putting income left over after expenses into savings can build a cushion for emergencies and help break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.

Get Ahead: 10 Steps to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

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34. Virginia

Median household income per paycheck: $2,544.19
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $1,024.11
Percentage of leftover income: 40.25%

A high median household income and expenses that are lower than in many other East Coast states help Virginia residents hang onto at least 40 percent of their paychecks. However, another GOBankingRates study found that it's one of the worst states for the middle class.

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33. Montana

Median household income per paycheck: $1,860.77
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $757.04
Percentage of leftover income: 40.68%

Montana is hurt by a low median household income — the 12th lowest in the U.S. Although living expenses — especially utilities — are low, paychecks don't go as far as they do in a majority of the other states.

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32. Pennsylvania

Median household income per paycheck: $2,111.35
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $859.94
Percentage of leftover income: 40.73%

Pennsylvania residents benefit from living expenses that are lower than in many surrounding East Coast states. A median household income that's higher than in more than half of the states also makes it less likely that Pennsylvania residents will live paycheck to paycheck.

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31. Delaware

Median household income per paycheck: $2,346.81
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $970.70
Percentage of leftover income: 41.36%

Delaware benefits from a relatively high median household income. Because living costs are lower here than in other high-income states, residents are left with more after covering expenses.

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30. North Dakota

Median household income per paycheck: $2,273.62
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $943.76
Percentage of leftover income: 41.51%

A relatively high median household income helps North Dakota residents have more than 41 percent of their paychecks left over after expenses.

Thanks to the state's booming oil industry, you're likely to find one of the jobs that make it easier to cover the cost of living.

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29. Florida

Median household income per paycheck: $1,880.77
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $795.36
Percentage of leftover income: 42.29%

Florida's median household income ranks in the bottom half of the nation. But a low cost of living helps paychecks go further than in states where incomes are higher.

Plus, Florida is one of seven states with no income tax, which also helps residents hang onto more of their paycheck.

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28. Utah

Median household income per paycheck: $2,404.54
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $1,039.71
Percentage of leftover income: 43.24%

A high median household income helps Utah residents have more money left over after expenses than residents in almost half of the states.

Plus, it's one of the best states to find a job, a separate GOBankingRates study found. So you might be able to score a job with an even bigger paycheck.

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27. Minnesota

Median household income per paycheck: $2,431.42
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $1,058.49
Percentage of leftover income: 43.53%

Minnesota ranks higher than Utah thanks to a slightly higher median household income, and lower housing and transportation costs. As a result, residents have a little more left over after expenses each month.

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26. South Dakota

Median household income per paycheck: $2,003
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $877.78
Percentage of leftover income: 43.82%

Paychecks are smaller in South Dakota than in several other states that rank lower on our list. But South Dakota's low cost of living makes residents less likely to live paycheck to paycheck.

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25. Wisconsin

Median household income per paycheck: $2,100.38
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $928.64
Percentage of leftover income: 44.21%

The dollar amount of income Wisconsin residents have left over after cost of living expenses is smaller than in several other states that rank lower. But Wisconsin gets a boost in our rankings because residents have a bigger percentage of leftover income after expenses.

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24. Arizona

Median household income per paycheck: $1,974.62
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $876.30
Percentage of leftover income: 44.38%

Arizona's median household income ranks among the bottom half of states. Fortunately, the cost of living is low. So residents still end up with more than 44 percent of income left over after expenses.

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23. Illinois

Median household income per paycheck: $2,276.77
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $1,012.52
Percentage of leftover income: 44.47%

Illinois residents are less likely to live paycheck to paycheck than residents in more than half of the other states thanks to a relatively high median household income and manageable expenses.

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22. South Carolina

Median household income per paycheck: $1,803.77
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $813.03
Percentage of leftover income: 45.07%

A low cost of living makes it possible for paychecks to go further in South Carolina even though incomes are low. In fact, South Carolina has the ninth-lowest median household income in the U.S.

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21. West Virginia

Median household income per paycheck: $1,640.15
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $743.74
Percentage of leftover income: 45.35%

A low cost of living makes it possible for West Virginia residents to have more than 45 percent of the paychecks left over after expenses despite a low median household income. But many don't appear to be stashing that extra cash in savings to help break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. A separate GOBankingRates survey found that West Virginia is one of the states with the highest percentage of residents with $0 saved.

How Do You Compare? Here's How Much Americans Have in Savings in Every State

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20. Wyoming

Median household income per paycheck: $2,274.73
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $1,040.88
Percentage of leftover income: 45.76%

Wyoming residents are less likely to live paycheck to paycheck than residents in a majority of states thanks to a relatively high median household income and a manageable cost of living.

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19. Idaho

Median household income per paycheck: $1,891.31
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $865.65
Percentage of leftover income: 45.77%

Idaho residents have less left over after expenses than residents in neighboring Wyoming. But because the median household income is lower in Idaho, the percentage of leftover income actually is higher.

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18. New Mexico

Median household income per paycheck: $1,756.69
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $805.22
Percentage of leftover income: 45.84%

New Mexico has the seventh-lowest median household income in the U.S. Even so, residents can have nearly 46 percent of their paychecks left over after expenses thanks to a low cost of living — especially utilities, which are the lowest in the nation.

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17. Louisiana

Median household income per paycheck: $1,755.85
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $809.84
Percentage of leftover income: 46.12%

Even though the median household income is low in Louisiana, residents are less likely to live paycheck to paycheck than residents in a majority of the states. A low cost of living makes it possible for Louisiana residents to have 46 percent of their paychecks left over after expenses.

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16. North Carolina

Median household income per paycheck: $1,856.00
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $860.78
Percentage of leftover income: 46.38%

Living costs are slightly higher in North Carolina than in Louisiana. But the Tar Heel State is higher in our rankings thanks to a higher median household income, which means residents have a bigger percentage of their paychecks left over after expenses.

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15. Kentucky

Median household income per paycheck: $1,723.50
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $811.03
Percentage of leftover income: 47.06%

Despite having the fifth-lowest median household income in the U.S., Kentucky is one of the states where residents are less likely to live paycheck to paycheck because the cost of living is so low.

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14. Texas

Median household income per paycheck: $2,104.88
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $995.11
Percentage of leftover income: 47.28%

Texas has a higher median income than the states that rank above it. But even though it has the 11th-cheapest cost of living in the U.S., it's still more expensive than most of the states that rank higher on this list.

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13. Nebraska

Median household income per paycheck: $2,091.69
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $999.59
Percentage of leftover income: 47.79%

You don't have to be a billionaire like Warren Buffett — Nebraska's famously wealthy resident and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway — to get by without living paycheck to paycheck.

The average Nebraska resident can have more than 47 percent of their paychecks left over after expenses thanks to a low cost of living and a relatively high median household income.

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12. Indiana

Median household income per paycheck: $1,939.73
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $936.57
Percentage of leftover income: 48.28%

A low cost of living makes it possible for Indiana residents to have more than 48 percent of their income left over after expenses.

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11. Iowa

Median household income per paycheck: $2,098.85
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $1,013.41
Percentage of leftover income: 48.28%

Iowa benefits from both a low cost of living and a median household income that's higher than in about half of the states. As a result, residents have to use only half of their paychecks to cover expenses.

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10. Ohio

Median household income per paycheck: $1,949.00
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $942.71
Percentage of leftover income: 48.37%

Ohio's median household income ranks in the bottom half of the nation. But the low cost of living — especially housing costs, which are the 10th lowest in the U.S. — makes it possible for residents to have more than 48 percent of their income left over after expenses. In fact, Ohio is one of the best states for millennials to buy a home thanks to low house prices.

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9. Michigan

Median household income per paycheck: $1,953.96
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $946.70
Percentage of leftover income: 48.45%

A slightly higher median household income helps Michigan beat Ohio for the No. 9 spot in our rankings. Its low cost of living also helps make it one of the best states to retire rich.

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8. Georgia

Median household income per paycheck: $1,962.96
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $958.88
Percentage of leftover income: 48.85%

Georgia has the ninth-lowest housing costs in our rankings, which helps residents have more money left over after expenses. Overall, Georgia has the 10th-lowest cost of living in the U.S.

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7. Kansas

Median household income per paycheck: $2,060.42
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $1,006.94
Percentage of leftover income: 48.87%

Among the top 10 states in our rankings, Kansas has the highest median household income. That, along with a low cost of living, helps Kansas claim the No. 7 spot.

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6. Missouri

Median household income per paycheck: $1,907.42
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $940.32
Percentage of leftover income: 49.30%

Missouri has the 15th-lowest median household income in the U.S. But residents still can have nearly 50 percent of their paychecks left over after expenses because Missouri has the fourth-lowest cost of living in the U.S.

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5. Tennessee

Median household income per paycheck: $1,791.31
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $892.08
Percentage of leftover income: 49.80%

Smart budgeting can help you save money in a state like Tennessee, even though the median household income is low. Thanks to a cost of living that's among the lowest in the U.S., residents can have nearly half of their paychecks left over to boost savings.

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4. Alabama

Median household income per paycheck: $1,721.46
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $869.50
Percentage of leftover income: 50.51%

Alabama is the first state on our list where residents can have more than 50 percent of their income left over after expenses. Thanks to low living expenses — especially housing — residents are less likely to live paycheck to paycheck.

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3. Arkansas

Median household income per paycheck: $1,628.31
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $823.87
Percentage of leftover income: 50.60%

Arkansas has the second-lowest cost of living in the U.S., which is a key reason why its residents are among the least likely to live paycheck to paycheck. However, the median household income is among the lowest in the nation, so residents have to be careful not to mindlessly burn through paychecks.

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2. Oklahoma

Median household income per paycheck: $1,847.62
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $936.86
Percentage of leftover income: 50.71%

Although the average paycheck in Oklahoma isn't as big as in most other states, it's enough to cover expenses and still have more than 50 percent left. The state's low cost of living makes it possible to get by on less.

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1. Mississippi

Median household income per paycheck: $1,558.77
Total leftover income after cost of living expenses: $809.68
Percentage of leftover income: 51.94%

Mississippi is the state where residents are least likely to live paycheck to paycheck. Although it has the lowest median household income, Mississippi has the lowest cost of living in the U.S. In fact, it's nearly 16 percent lower than the national average. So residents can have nearly 52 percent of their income left over after expenses.

Find Out: How Long $1 Million in Savings Will Last in Every State

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Stretch Your Paycheck Further in Your State

The states where residents are most likely to live paycheck to paycheck are also among the most expensive places to live in the U.S. And, they're primarily on the coasts. So, if you can move to the Midwest or South where it's cheaper, you'll likely be able to keep more of your paycheck each month.

But if moving isn't an option, here are a few things you can do to stretch your paycheck — no matter which state you live in:

1. Track your spending to see what nonessential expenses you can eliminate.
2. Call your service providers to negotiate lower rates to lower your monthly bills. Or, look for better deals from other providers.
3. Consider getting — or becoming — a roommate to reduce housing costs.
4. Get a side gig to increase your income so you can build savings or pay down debt to free up more cash in your budget.

Up Next: How Does Your Financial Future Compare to Most Americans'?

Methodology: Based on each state's median household income, states were ranked according to the percentage of the median paycheck that was left over after subtracting the following: (1) average housing cost per paycheck, (2) total amount spent on food per paycheck, (3) total amount spent on utilities per paycheck, (4) total amount spent on transportation per paycheck and (5) total amount spent on health per paycheck. The states' median household income figures were sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2016 American Community Survey. All expenses were calculated using figures included on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2016 Consumer Expenditures report.