Featured, Glassdoor Updates, Salaries

25 Cities Where Pay Goes Furthest

Everyone wants to make a great living. But where you live is directly tied to how much you earn, take home and save.

Where does your pay really go furthest?

There are several ways to approach calculating and comparing your pay against cost of living, but for the purposes of this report, we’ll highlight the top cities by comparing a city’s median base salary to its median home value. Why? Because housing (mortgage or rent) is the biggest expenditure for people across all U.S. cities, according to figures from the federal government. More specifically, housing costs account for 33% of annual expenditures for the average American, more than any other expense.

[Related: Employers, use Glassdoor’s new tool, Know Your Worth(tm) to study competetive salaries in your location.]

The 25 Cities Where Pay Goes Furthest are:

1. Detroit, MI – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 50%
  • Median Base Salary: $61,500
  • Median Home Value: $123,100
  • Number of Open Jobs: 54,808

2. Memphis, TN – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 46%
  • Median Base Salary: $52,000
  • Median Home Value: $112,100
  • Number of Open Jobs: 17,982

3. Pittsburgh, PA – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 45%
  • Median Base Salary: $56,896
  • Median Home Value: $126,700
  • Number of Open Jobs: 46,379

 4. Cleveland, OH – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 44%
  • Median Base Salary: $55,000
  • Median Home Value: $125,500
  • Number of Open Jobs: 29,304

 5. Indianapolis, IN – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 43%
  • Median Base Salary: $56,000
  • Median Home Value: $130,200
  • Number of Open Jobs: 33,090

 6. St. Louis, MO – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 40%
  • Median Base Salary: $56,896
  • Median Home Value: $141,900
  • Number of Open Jobs: 35,300

 7. Cincinnati, OH – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 40%
  • Median Base Salary: $57,179
  • Median Home Value: $143,400
  • Number of Open Jobs: 32,605

 8. Birmingham, AL – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 40%
  • Median Base Salary: $50,800
  • Median Home Value: $128,000
  • Number of Open Jobs: 15,299

 9. Kansas City, MO – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 39%
  • Median Base Salary: $58,000
  • Median Home Value: $147,500
  • Number of Open Jobs: 35,639

 10. Louisville, KY – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 39%
  • Median Base Salary: $54,000
  • Median Home Value: $137,500
  • Number of Open Jobs: 22,693

 11. Buffalo, NY – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 39%
  • Median Base Salary: $50,000
  • Median Home Value: $128,100
  • Number of Open Jobs: 13,599

 12. Houston, TX – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 38%
  • Median Base Salary: $65,000
  • Median Home Value: $172,100
  • Number of Open Jobs: 72,033

 13. Oklahoma City, OK – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 38%
  • Median Base Salary: $50,000
  • Median Home Value: $132,500
  • Number of Open Jobs: 16,388

 14. Columbus, OH – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 37%
  • Median Base Salary: $57,000
  • Median Home Value: $154,600
  • Number of Open Jobs: 30,728

 15. Atlanta, GA – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 37%
  • Median Base Salary: $60,000
  • Median Home Value: $163,000
  • Number of Open Jobs: 90,739

 16. San Antonio, TX – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 37%
  • Median Base Salary: $55,000
  • Median Home Value: $150,200
  • Number of Open Jobs: 28,378

 17. Charlotte, NC – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 36%
  • Median Base Salary: $58,000
  • Median Home Value: $159,800
  • Number of Open Jobs: 37,180

 18. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 33%
  • Median Base Salary: $61,000
  • Median Home Value: $182,100
  • Number of Open Jobs: 121,241

 19. Chicago, IL – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 33%
  • Median Base Salary: $63,000
  • Median Home Value: $193,800
  • Number of Open Jobs: 155,173

 20. Tampa, FL – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 32%
  • Median Base Salary: $52,000
  • Median Home Value: $163,600
  • Number of Open Jobs: 40,830

 21. Hartford, CT – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 32%
  • Median Base Salary: $68,000
  • Median Home Value: $215,800
  • Number of Open Jobs: 19,025

 22. Richmond, VA – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 31%
  • Median Base Salary: $59,800
  • Median Home Value: $191,500
  • Number of Open Jobs: 21,454

 23. Jacksonville, FL – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 30%
  • Median Base Salary: $50,000
  • Median Home Value: $165,900
  • Number of Open Jobs: 18,205

 24. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 30%
  • Median Base Salary: $65,000
  • Median Home Value: $219,400
  • Number of Open Jobs: 64,026

 25. Raleigh, NC – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 30%
  • Median Base Salary: $62,000
  • Median Home Value: $209,400
  • Number of Open Jobs: 22,339

So what does this mean for you?

“This report shows that where you live and how much you earn are directly tied to one another,” said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor Chief Economist. “Though there are certainly other financial factors to consider when taking into account total cost of living, this data reinforces that pay typically goes further in mid-sized cities versus big metropolitan areas where there is often tighter competition for housing.”

Noticeably missing are some of America’s biggest cities. That’s because many of them have some of the highest median home values in the country, bringing down their cost of living ratio (even with higher than average median base salaries). A few that did not make the top 25 include:

New York, NY – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 18%
  • Median Base Salary: $70,000
  • Median Home Value: $384,100
  • Number of Open Jobs: 250,795

Boston, MA – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 17%
  • Median Base Salary: $67,500
  • Median Home Value: $387,400
  • Number of Open Jobs: 109,395

San Francisco, CA – See Open Jobs

  • Cost of Living Ratio: 11%
  • Median Base Salary: $88,000
  • Median Home Value: $806,600
  • Number of Open Jobs: 103,513

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to make more money? Check out Glassdoor’s 25 Highest Paying Jobs in America

Ready for a new job? Consider one of the 25 Best Jobs in America for 2016

How much money do you makeShare your salary anonymously to help others #ShareYourPay

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Methodology: Glassdoor’s Top 25 Cities Where Pay Goes Furthest report is determined by ranking cities according to each city’s cost of living ratio, determined by the ratio of median annual base salary to median metro home value. Median base salary and median home value data for this report first appeared in Glassdoor’s report on the 25 Best Cities for Jobs published in May 2016. Median annual base salary per metro based on at least 1,000 salary reports shared by local employees on Glassdoor over the past year (4/25/15-4/24/16). Median home value is according to the Zillow Home Value Index for All Homes, as of March 2016. This report is a comparison of the 50 most populated U.S. metros according to the U.S. Office of Management & Budget. For the purposes of this report, ‘cities’ is used interchangeably with ‘metros’ for simplicity of reporting. Though cost of living ratio is displayed to the nearest whole number, actual calculations extend beyond the thousandth to determine rank. The number of open jobs per city represents active job listings on Glassdoor as of 8/23/16.