The skyrocketing cost of living has become a policy concern and a headache for residents in many big U.S. coastal cities, such as New York City and San Francisco.
Yet there are pockets of affordability across the country where the typical salary will stretch much further, according to a new study from employment site Glassdoor. In these cities, it's possible for millennials and people who aren't making big money to save up and buy a home, gaining a foothold in the American dream.
Many of these metropolitan areas are located in the Midwest and southern states, said Jessica Jaffe, community expert at Glassdoor. Although salaries may be lower than in more expensive cities, housing costs are often a fraction of what an apartment in New York City or San Francisco would fetch. And that explains why some of America's biggest cities didn't make the cut, including NYC, Boston, and the Bay Area.
"One of the most common questions we get from job seekers is, 'Where is the best place to work given I want to buy home?' " Jaffe said. "New York City and San Francisco pay a lot, but it's very expensive to buy a home there. The median home cost in San Francisco is $806,000."
The research is based on at least 1,000 salary reports shared by local employees on Glassdoor during the past year for each city. The median home value is based on the Zillow Home Value Index for All Homes.
Read on to learn about the nine U.S. cities where your salary will stretch the farthest.
9. Kansas City, Missouri
This city might be known for jazz and barbecue, but it also offers a relatively low cost of living. The cost of living ratio -- which is the median salary divided by the median home value -- stands at 39 percent, much better than San Francisco's ratio of 11 percent.
The median base salary in Kansas City is $58,000, while the median home value is $147,500. Glassdoor notes there are currently more than 35,000 job openings in the city.
8. Birmingham, Alabama
Home to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, this southern city combines urban living with outdoor access, since the town has more green space per capita than any other major U.S. city.
The cost of living ratio stands at 40 percent, thanks to a median home value of $128,000 and a median base salary of $50,800. There are currently more than 15,000 job openings the city, Glassdoor said.
7. Cincinnati, Ohio
This Ohio city was once called the "Paris of America," but now it's gaining credence among millennials as a city with an affordable cost of living. One local company, Total Quality Logistics, ranked among Fortune's list of the best workplaces for millennials, while the city has an intern program to woo young workers.
The cost of living ratio is 40 percent, with a median base salary of $57,179 and a median home value of $143,400. There are about 32,000 open jobs in the city.
6. St. Louis, Missouri
With its iconic arch, St. Louis looms large as the historic gateway to the west. The city today also provides a gateway to a secure quality of life, thanks to a low cost of living.
The cost of living ratio is 40 percent, with a median base salary of $56,896 and a median home value of $141,900. There are 35,300 open jobs in the St. Louis area, Glassdoor said.
5. Indianapolis, Indiana
This midwestern city has a walkable downtown, and offers plenty of sports and culture. The cost of living is also desirable, with a cost of living ratio of 43 percent. The median base salary in Indianapolis is $56,000, while the median home value is $130,000.
There are about 33,000 job openings in the area, Glassdoor said.
4. Cleveland, Ohio
Once mockingly known as the "Mistake on the Lake," Cleveland has spent the past few decades recovering from a decline in the steel and manufacturing industries in the 1970s and 1980s. Investment in areas of the city such as University Circle have revitalized the city, which hosted the Republican National Convention this past summer.
It's also attracting millennials, thanks to a reasonable cost of living and job opportunities. Downtown Cleveland is among the top 10 U.S. cities in the growth rate of college-educated millennials, according to the Cleveland Foundation.
The city has a cost of living ratio of 44 percent, with a median base salary of $55,000 and a median home value of $125,500. There are about 29,000 job openings in the area, Glassdoor said.
3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
This one-time industrial city has undergone a transformation since its heyday as a major steel manufacturer. Pittsburgh is now known as both a tech hub, owing in part to the presence of Carnegie Mellon University, and a major arts center. Millennials have been moving there because it offers a busy cultural and food scene combined with a reasonable cost of living.
Google (GOOG) runs an office in Pittsburgh, and the city is home to startups such as 4moms, which makes robotic baby gear, and language-learning program Dueling.
The cost of living ratio is 45 percent, with a median base salary of $56,896 and a median home value of $126,700. There are more than 46,000 job openings in the city, Glassdoor said.
2. Memphis, Tennessee
Known for country music, rock 'n' roll and the blues, Memphis is also a modern city with a growing reputation as a tech hub. Memphis is home, as well, to FedEx (FDX), which is the largest employer in the city.
Its cost of living ratio stands at 46 percent, with a median base salary of $52,000 and a median home value of $112,100. There are almost 18,000 job openings in the metropolitan area.
1. Detroit, Michigan
After a well-publicized bankruptcy, Detroit has focused on revitalizing its downtown. Quicken Loans set up shop in the city a few years ago, and foundations, corporations and the federal government have invested billions to help to turn the city around.
Some people are moving to Detroit because of work, while for others it's the low cost of living. The Write A House project, for instance, gives houses to writers for free.
The cost of living ratio in Detroit is 50 percent, with a median base salary of $61,500 and a median home value of $123,100. There are more than 54,000 open jobs in the metropolitan area, Glassdoor said.
Best of the rest
Below are the rest of the cities where a typical salary will stretch the farthest.
10: Louisville, Kentucky
11. Buffalo, New York
12. Houston, Texas
13. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
14. Columbus, Ohio
15. Atlanta, Georgia
16. San Antonio, Texas
17. Charlotte, North Carolina
18. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
19. Chicago, Illinois
20. Tampa, Florida
21. Hartford, Connecticut
22. Richmond, Virginia
23. Jacksonville, Florida
24. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
25. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina