The highest paychecks in the U.S. are in San Jose, California, the heart of Silicon Valley, according to a new analysis from job search site Indeed. But what if you don't want to live there, or in nearby San Francisco, where $117,000 a year is considered a low income?
Indeed looked at places around the U.S. where your money goes further. They factored in the cost of living, including housing -- typically people's biggest expense -- and focused on 185 metropolitan areas with a population of at least 250,000.
The winners strictly in terms of purchasing power? Brownsville, Texas, with an adjusted salary of about $80,800, followed by the Kingsport, Tennessee, and Huntington, West Virginia, areas, according to Indeed. By contrast, salaries were lowest after adjusting for the high cost of living in cities like Honolulu, Santa Cruz, California, and Miami.
Of course. just because your dollar stretches further in a given city doesn't mean it's the best place to live. Other factors people take into consideration in deciding where to settle include lifestyle, proximity to family, job prospects and future economic growth, Jed Kolko, Indeed's head economist, said in an interview with CBS MoneyWatch.
"The places with the highest adjusted salaries tend to have other challenges," like higher unemployment and slower projected job growth, Kolko said. And, according to the study, "strikingly, places with high adjusted salaries fare both poorly both in terms of job prospects today and tomorrow."
Expensive housing in one area tends to stay expensive, Kolko added. Where rents are high for housing, commercial rents also tend to be high. That translates to rising costs for a meal or a movie.
"Local businesses need to pay their rent, too," he said.
Cold winters or a place with endless summer might not be your thing. So Indeed went further and also looked at cities with above-average employment opportunities and high projected growth. Topping the list: Duluth, Minnesota; Wilmington, North Carolina; Lubbock Texas; San Antonio, and St. Louis.
Factoring in the cost of living, the average salary in Duluth is nearly $76,000. That compares with a median household income of $55,322 , as of 2016, for the U.S. as a whole.
But what if you don't want to move across the country, or need to look at areas that center around a specific industry, like health care or technology?
Indeed sliced the data another way by taking a look at pairs of cities that were less than 500 miles apart and had at least 75 percent overlap in their mix of job postings. In that calculation, residents of Birmingham had superior purchasing power than people who live in Tampa; likewise, Sacramento dwellers were better off than people in Venture, California, and Bostonians topped New Yorkers when it came to bang for the buck.