The top ten most expensive cities in the US have been revealed, where you’d need to earn $300,000 to feel like you earn $100,000 – and New York did not come top of the list.

Surprisingly, the most expensive city was Honolulu, followed then by New York and San Francisco.

A ranking compiled by the personal finance advisor SmartAsset ranked 76 US cities to determine which were the cheapest and most expensive to live in.

To have the ‘purchasing power’ of $100,000 each year you will clearly need an annual salary higher than that, but how much more will depend on local taxes and the cost of living

In Honolulu, New York and San Francisco, a salary of about $310,000 boils down to $100,000 once taxes and the increased cost of living are considered.

By contrast, in Memphis, El Paso and Oklahoma City, a comparatively low salary of around $120,000 will offer the same sense of financial freedom, or the ‘new’ $100,000.

The most expensive city was Honolulu in Hawaii, where a $312,000-a-year salary is required to have a purchasing power of $100,000

In Memphis, El Paso and Oklahoma City, a comparatively low salary of around $120,000 will offer the same sense of financial freedom, or the ‘new’ $100,000

Honolulu in Hawaii was found to be one of the most expensive cities in the country. To leave you feeling as though you have $100,000 to spend after tax, a whopping $312,000 is in order

That ranking is heavily influenced by local taxes – the most expensive states, California, Hawaii and New York, all have high income tax. 

State income tax is around eight percent on a $312,000-a-year income in California. In Hawaii and New York it is around nine and six percent respectively.

Similarly the states containing cheapest cities, Tennessee and Texas, have no income tax. Meanwhile Oklahoma’s income tax is relatively low – around 4 percent on a $120,000-a-year income.

The cost of living was considered using the Council for Community and Economic Research’s cost-of-living data, according to SmartAsset. It takes into account the price of housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, and other necessary purchases. 

The full list revealed that other Californian cities require similarly large annual salaries in order to offer the feeling of having $100,000 to spend after tax.

In Oakland, which is ranked the fourth most expensive city in the US, a salary of at least $246,000 is needed to leave you feeling like you have $100,000 to take home.

Los Angeles and Long Beach, both in California, were in fifth and sixth position. In both $245,000 is needed to provide the purchasing power of $100,000.

Others that make up the top 10 most expensive cities include: Washington DC, San Diego, Boston and Seattle. In Seattle $210,000 boils down to $100,000.

San Francisco was another city where an income of more than $300,000 was needed to provide $100,000-worth of purchasing power

Memphis, Tennessee, was the cheapest city in the country, according to the ranking. In Memphis an annual salary of $117,00 will leave you with $100,000-worth of purchasing power after tax

On the other end of the spectrum, Corpus Christi in Texas was found to be the fourth cheapest city in the US. In the port city, situated on the Gulf of Mexico, a salary of just $122,000 will feel like $100,000.

Other cities that were among the top ten were mostly in Texas – Lubbock, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Arlington – as well as St. Louis, Missouri. 

US census data from last month painted a similar picture. In terms of domestic internal migration, people were recorded leaving counties in states with high tax and moving to those with less.

Counties home to LA, Chicago and New York City suffered the largest exodus of people in the country – while tens of thousands flocked to Arizona, Texas and Florida.

Los Angeles County, which is still the most populous county in the US, saw an average of 143,000 people leave between July 2021 and July 2022, according to the census data.

It was followed by Cook County, home to Chicago, which lost around 94,000 people to other parts of the country. Three of New York City’s counties – Kings, Queens and the Bronx – were all among the top five counties facing a mass migration. 

On the other hand, Maricopa County in Arizona, home to Phoenix, had the largest influx of domestic migrants, around 33,000.

It was followed closely by Collin County in Texas, and Polk County in Florida.

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