10 cities where a salary of $100,000 is worth less and more
A suspended red streetcar moves under a yellow bridge with the Memphis skyline in the distance.
Seen as a sign of success and financial comfort, a six-figure dollar salary it has long been an important milestone for American workers. But times have changed and $100,000 isn’t what it used to be, especially as rampant. inflation it continues to sap the purchasing power of money and raise the cost of living. In fact, 51% of people making more than $100,000 reported living paycheck to paycheck in December 2022, up 9 percentage points from the previous year, according to a recent study. survey from PYMNTS and LendingClub.
To see how much $100,000 is really worth in different parts of the country, smart asset compared the after-tax income in 76 of the largest US cities and then adjusted those figures for the cost of living in each location. For more information about our data or how we compiled our findings, please read the Data and Methodology section below.
Chart showing New York City and Honolulu top the nation for least worth $100,000.
- $100K goes further in Memphis. The city may be known as the “Home of the Blues,” but Memphis’s low cost of living surely won’t make you sing them. A salary of $100,000 is worth more here ($86,444) than in any other city in our study after subtracting taxes and adjusting for cost of living.
- Oklahoma City has the lowest cost of living. $100,000 goes a long way in the state’s largest city of Sooner, considering the cost of living is just 83.2% of the national average, the lowest of the 76 cities in our study. A salary of $100,000 is worth $84,498 in Oklahoma City after adjusting for cost of living.
- In New York City, $100,000 equals just $35,791 when taxes and cost of living are considered. Taxes and cost of living take a big chunk out of a $100,000 income in the Big Apple, which ranked dead last in our analysis. After adjusting for those factors, $100,000 is worth just $35,791.
10 Cities Where $100,000 Is Worth More
The table showing Memphis, TN and El Paso, TX is where a salary of $100,000 pays off the most.
When it comes to stretching more than a $100,000 salary, Texas cities dominate the list. Thanks to no state income taxes and a low cost of living, seven of the 10 cities in our top 10 are located in the Lone Star State. After deducting taxes and adjusting for cost of living, a median salary of $100,000 is worth $77,885 in the 10 Texas cities we analyzed in our study.
1. Memphis, Tennessee
A person who earns $100,000 per year in Memphis takes home $74,515 after federal and local taxes (the state of Tennessee does not tax earned income). Given that the city has a cost of living that is nearly 14% lower than the national average, those after-tax earnings are actually worth $86,444 when adjusted for cost of living.
2. El Paso, Texas
A $100,000 salary in El Paso is worth $84,966 after subtracting taxes and adjusting for local cost of living. A person who makes $100,000 a year in this West Texas city of more than 678,000 takes home $74,515 after taxes. El Paso’s cost of living is only 87.7% of the national average.
3. Oklahoma City, OK
Someone who makes $100,000 in Oklahoma City will take home $70,302 after taxes. But thanks to the lower cost of living in our study, those after-tax earnings are worth a lot more: $84,498.
4. Corpus Christi, Texas
An annual salary of $100,000 is worth $83,443 in Corpus Christi after deducting taxes and adjusting for local cost of living. Located on the Texas Gulf Coast, Corpus Christi’s cost of living is 10.7% lower than the national average.
A person who earns $100,000 per year in Lubbock can expect to take home $74,515 after taxes are taken out of their paychecks. Since the cost of living in Lubbock is only 89.4% of the national average, that person’s take-home pay is actually worth $83,350 after adjusting for cost of living.
Like the other Texas cities in the top 10, a $100,000 salary in Houston drops to $74,515 after taxes. Those earnings, however, are worth $81,350 when adjusted for Houston’s cost of living, which is 91.8% of the national average.
7 (tied). San Antonio, Fort Worth and Arlington, TX
A salary of $100,000 is worth the same amount of money in three Texas cities: San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Arlington. Thanks to identical tax treatment and no state income taxes, a person earning $100,000 takes home $74,515 in each city. That money is worth $80,124 when adjusted for the cost of living in the three cities, which is 7% lower than the national average.
10. St. Louis, MO
St. Louis rounds out the top 10. While taxes reduce a $100,000 salary to $69,531, the city’s low cost of living (87% of the national average) makes those after-tax dollars go even further. As a result, a salary of $100,000 in St. Louis is worth $79,921 after subtracting taxes and adjusting for cost of living.
Data and methodology
A distant aerial view of El Paso, Texas at night.
For this study, we used a salary calculator apply taxes to an annual salary of $100,000. We then adjusted the remaining amount for the local cost of living in 76 of the largest US cities using data from the Council for Community and Economic Research. The cost of living takes into account the price of housing, food, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneous goods and services. The cost of living index data corresponds to the third quarter of 2022.
For example, the annual take-home pay (after taxes) in Los Angeles is $68,050, but the cost of living is 52.5% higher than the national average. To calculate the city’s adjusted annual take-home pay, we divide the city’s median after-tax income by 1,525. In terms of purchasing power, the median take-home pay for someone living in Los Angeles is $44,623 after adjusting for cost of living.