If you’re moving to a new city for a job, ideally you want a low cost of living to make taking such a job worth the move. Cities on the east and west coasts may have high salaries but also a higher cost of living.
To find cities with high salaries and low costs of living, GOBankingRates analyzed and ranked 100 cities in the U.S. that had both a median household income above the national average and a mean household income above the national average as sourced from the United States Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. We then found the itemized costs of living for necessities, such as annual median housing, groceries, healthcare, utilities and transportation to ultimately determine the average monthly living expense for that area. That number then was subtracted from the average yearly income for each city so residents know exactly how much they stand to pocket after the expenses.
If you want to relocate to a place where you can get the most bang for your buck, let this be your guide. Keep reading to see where your paycheck will stretch the furthest.
12. Carrollton, Texas
- Average household income: $110,046
- Total necessities: $35,730.91
In Carrollton, you’ll still have a sizable chunk of change leftover after you pay for your total necessities. Here, your two biggest expenses are groceries and housing. The annual grocery cost here is less than a full point higher than the national average, $5,301.07. The annual cost of housing is $15,458.83, 16.6% higher than the national average.
11. Raleigh, North Carolina
- Average household income: $102,100
- Total necessities: $72,996
In Raleigh, annual healthcare costs are lower than the national average, at $5,168.50 per month, as are annual transportation costs, at $5,034.25. While housing and groceries are higher than the national average, that $102,100 in average household income should leave a lot of extra room in your budget after necessities.
10. Virginia Beach, Virginia
- Average household income: $105,521
- Total necessities: $35,249.72
This is the second Virginia city on the list, a state where salaries run higher. While annual healthcare costs are a bit steep here, at $5,735.50, and you’ll pay 9.9% above the national average for housing, $14,570.54, the average $105,521 still leaves more than $70,000 remaining after necessities are paid for.
9. Pearland, Texas
- Average household income: $130,073
- Total necessities: $35,216.21
In Pearland, you’ll pay below the national average on such expenses as healthcare and utilities, which are $5,043.10 and $3,973.84 respectively. While you do pay a whopping 24.8% higher for transportation here, or $7,091.14 annually, you’ll have more than $94,000 remaining after necessities are paid for.
8. Chesapeake, Virginia
- Average household income: $104,765
- Total necessities: $35,146.92
In Chesapeake, you’ll pay slightly less than average for utilities, or $4,113.20 annually. You might not even mind that you’re paying higher than average for housing, groceries and transportation when you realize you’ll have more than $69,000 left over after necessities.
7. Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Average household income: $99,741
- Total necessities: $34,864.60
In Minneapolis, you’ll pay almost 25% lower than average for healthcare, at $4,132.62 annually. Paying a bit more for other bills like housing and healthcare shouldn’t hurt too much when you realize you’ll have more than $64,000 left over after necessities even though the salary here is the lowest on this list.
6. Olathe, Kansas
- Average household income: $116,624
- Total necessities: $34,838.51
Olathe, Kansas is a great midwestern city to thrive in. Utilities and transportation costs are below the national average. Paying a bit more for housing and healthcare won’t matter much when there’s more than $81,000 left over after necessities.
5. League City, Texas
- Average household income: $130,222
- Total necessities: $33,703.05
In League City, you’ll pay lower than average annually for utilities and transportation, at $3,880.94 and $5,397.90 respectively. Even with other necessities, this leaves more than $96,000 left.
4. Rochester, Minnesota
- Average household income: $106,381
- Total necessities: $31,395.24
In Rochester, not only is the average household income quite good, all the major necessities are at or below the national average in costs. Average annual transportation costs are the lowest on this list, at $4,221.73. And after all necessities are paid, you’ll have almost $75,000 left over.
3. Midland, Texas
- Average household income: $115,425
- Total necessities: $31,392.84
Midland, Texas is another city where your money will go ever farther, and you can live a very comfortable life. Almost all necessities are cheaper than the national average, except for healthcare, which is 9.6% higher than average, or $5,975.39 per year. After paying for expenses, there is still a nice amount leftover, more than $84,000.
2. Broken Arrow, Illinois
- Average household income: $102,747
- Total necessities: $29,410.87
Broken Arrow is a city where you’ll not only end up with a hefty $73,336.13 after necessities, but where you’ll pay the lowest in average housing costs on this list, at $9,293.86 annually. The remainder of the necessities are all under the national average, except for annual healthcare costs, which are 3.4% above national average, or $5,637.34. However, that shouldn’t sting too much when you look at how much you’ll have leftover.
1. Aurora, Illinois
- Average household income: $102,873
- Total necessities: $29,154.56
Your money will go quite far in Aurora. After you pay annually for groceries, $5,059.16; $5,054.00 for healthcare, $5,223.02; for housing $9,757.89, for utilities, $4,146.99 and transportation $5,136.53, you’ll still have $73,718.44 left over.
Lauren Monitz contributed to the reporting for this article.
Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the best places to live with both high salaries and a low cost of living. GOBankingRates first found the 100 largest cities that had BOTH a (1) median household income above the national average and (2) a mean household income above the national average as sourced from the United States Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.Then for the 100 qualified cities GOBankingRates found the itemized costs of living for necessities, sourced from Sperling’s Best Places, such as (3) groceries cost of living; (4) healthcare cost of living; (5) utilities cost of living; (6) transportation cost of living; and (7) housing. GOBankingRates then factored out the cost of living indices from factors (3) – (7) by the 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey; to find (8) total annual cost of neccessities, which was the only ranking factor. All data compiled on August 9, 2023.
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