SmartAsset adjusted a $100,000 income for federal, state, and local taxes, as well as local cost of living premiums, to find the purchasing power – or effective value – in 72 of the largest U.S. cities.

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With taxes, housing, food, and other costs varying widely across the U.S., a $100,000 income can look drastically different depending on where you live. Even places that don't charge residents a state or local income tax can see a wide range for how far a dollar stretches thanks to cost of living differences. Because of the nature of compounding, the wide differences in the value of a $100,000 income can have life-changing effects on your long-term finances, particularly early on in your investment career.

With this in mind, SmartAsset adjusted a $100,000 income for federal, state, and local taxes, as well as local cost of living premiums, to find the purchasing power – or effective value – of that money in 72 of the largest U.S. cities.

Key findings

table showing top 20 cities where a $100k income goes furthest

SmartAsset

  • $100K goes furthest in El Paso, TX. With no state or local income taxes and a 12% discount on cost of living, a $100K income equates to $88,840 of purchasing power. Four other Texas cities made the top 10, including Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Lubbock, and Houston.
  • A $100K salary is worth just $31,000 in Manhattan. With the highest cost of living and second-highest tax rate studywide, this income may not offer much wiggle room in New York City. It's more affordable in Brooklyn and Queens, where $100,000 is worth $43,376 (fourth least) and $49,978 (seventh least), respectively.
  • Baltimore residents face the highest income taxes. At the $100,000 income level, a Baltimore resident stands to lose up to 32.7% of their income to federal, state, and local taxes. Meanwhile, residents in cities and states that forego income tax collection face a standard 22% federal rate. The average aggregate tax rate studywide is 26%.
  • In these four California cities, $100K gets halved. San Francisco, where $100,000 equates to $40,997; Los Angeles ($47,762); San Diego ($50,082); and Oakland  ($51,237) all make the top 10 cities where a $100,000 income is worth the least after adjusting for taxes and cost of living.

Top 10 cities where $100,000 goes furthest

  1. El Paso, TX: $88,840
  2. Oklahoma City, OK: $87,585
  3. Memphis, TN: $86,960
  4. Corpus Christi, TX: $86,383
  5. San Antonio, TX: $85,625
  6. Lubbock, TX: $85,065
  7. Tulsa, OK: $84,507
  8. Jacksonville, FL: $83,878
  9. Houston, TX: $82,986
  10. St. Louis, MO: $82,614

Top 10 cities where $100,000 is worth the least

  1. Manhattan, NY: $30,914
  2. Honolulu, HI: $39,148
  3. San Francisco, CA: $40,997
  4. Brooklyn, NY: $43,376
  5. Los Angeles, CA: $47,762
  6. Washington, DC: $48,734
  7. Queens, NY: $49,978
  8. San Diego, CA: $50,082
  9. Boston, MA: $50,109
  10. Oakland, CA: $51,237

Data and methodology

This study used SmartAsset's paycheck calculator to apply federal, state, and local taxes to an annual salary of $100,000 for an individual. This online tool calculates your take-home pay per paycheck for both salary and hourly jobs after taking into account federal, state, and local taxes. We then adjusted the remaining amount for the local cost of living in 72 of the largest cities in the U.S. using data from the Council for Community and Economic Research. The cost of living takes into account the price of housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneous goods and services. Cost of living index data is averaged across 2023.

This story was produced by SmartAsset and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.