40 Top Cities Where Your Paycheck Goes the Furthest

The average worker traditionally receives a paycheck every two weeks, and those two checks have to cover housing and utilities, plus everything that the worker eats, drinks and does for an entire month. Needless to say, that’s a whole lot easier to pull off when paychecks are big and the regional cost of living is low. Dozens of cities in the United States offer exactly that dynamic — you just have to know where to look. 

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To identify the 40 cities where people can spread their paychecks the furthest, GOBankingRates identified the median household income in America’s 100 largest cities, the biweekly paycheck amount, the biweekly cost of necessities (including groceries, health care, housing, transportation and utilities), and finally, how much is left over when those necessities are paid for. The study used data from sources including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau and Sperling’s Best Places, then ranked the results in ascending order with the final entry being the city where your paycheck will last the longest.

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With more and more Americans working from home, a much larger percentage of the workforce can take their work with them wherever they go. This list profiles the cities that might be worth considering for people looking to get the most mileage from each paycheck.

Last updated: April 6, 2021

                         40. Lubbock, Texas
Median annual household income: $48,701
Biweekly paycheck: $1,873
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $979
Amount of paycheck left: $894
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                         39. Fort Wayne, Indiana
Median annual household income: $48,023
Biweekly paycheck: $1,847
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $945
Amount of paycheck left: $902
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                         38. Louisville, Kentucky
Median annual household income: $51,307
Biweekly paycheck: $1,973
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,071
Amount of paycheck left: $902
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                         37. St. Paul, Minnesota
Median annual household income: $55,085
Biweekly paycheck: $2,119
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,205
Amount of paycheck left: $914

                         36. Aurora, Colorado
Median annual household income: $62,541
Biweekly paycheck: $2,405
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,476
Amount of paycheck left: $929

                         35. Columbus, Ohio
Median annual household income: $51,612
Biweekly paycheck: $1,985
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,053
Amount of paycheck left: $932

                         34. Durham, North Carolina
Median annual household income: $55,851
Biweekly paycheck: $2,148
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,200
Amount of paycheck left: $948

                         33. Wichita, Kansas
Median annual household income: $50,867
Biweekly paycheck: $1,956
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,003
Amount of paycheck left: $953

                         32. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Median annual household income: $58,993
Biweekly paycheck: $2,269
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,312
Amount of paycheck left: $957

                         31. Kansas City, Missouri
Median annual household income: $52,405
Biweekly paycheck: $2,016
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,042
Amount of paycheck left: $974

                         30. Lincoln, Nebraska
Median annual household income: $55,224
Biweekly paycheck: $2,124
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,129
Amount of paycheck left: $995

                         29. Chula Vista, California
Median annual household income: $76,354
Biweekly paycheck: $2,937
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,933
Amount of paycheck left: $1,004
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                         28. Lexington, Kentucky
Median annual household income: $54,918
Biweekly paycheck: $2,112
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,094
Amount of paycheck left: $1,018

                         27. Arlington, Texas
Median annual household income: $58,502
Biweekly paycheck: $2,250
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,227
Amount of paycheck left: $1,023

                         26. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Median annual household income: $54,034
Biweekly paycheck: $2,078
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,055
Amount of paycheck left: $1,023

                         25. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Median annual household income: $61,324
Biweekly paycheck: $2,359
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,331
Amount of paycheck left: $1,028

                         24. Omaha, Nebraska
Median annual household income: $56,780
Biweekly paycheck: $2,184
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,151
Amount of paycheck left: $1,033

                         23. Seattle, Washington
Median annual household income: $85,562
Biweekly paycheck: $3,291
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $2,256
Amount of paycheck left: $1,035

                         22. Garland, Texas
Median annual household income: $58,999
Biweekly paycheck: $2,269
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,210
Amount of paycheck left: $1,059

                         21. San Jose, California
Median annual household income: $104,234
Biweekly paycheck: $4,009
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $2,949
Amount of paycheck left: $1,060

                         20. Austin, Texas
Median annual household income: $67,462
Biweekly paycheck: $2,595
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,534
Amount of paycheck left: $1,061

                         19. Fort Worth, Texas
Median annual household income: $59,255
Biweekly paycheck: $2,279
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,212
Amount of paycheck left: $1,067

                         18. Charlotte, North Carolina
Median annual household income: $60,886
Biweekly paycheck: $2,342
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,238
Amount of paycheck left: $1,104

                         17. Corpus Christi, Texas
Median annual household income: $55,709
Biweekly paycheck: $2,143
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,025
Amount of paycheck left: $1,118

                         16. Bakersfield, California
Median annual household income: $62,340
Biweekly paycheck: $2,398
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,278
Amount of paycheck left: $1,120

                         15. Irving, Texas
Median annual household income: $61,937
Biweekly paycheck: $2,382
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,236
Amount of paycheck left: $1,146
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                         14. Raleigh, North Carolina
Median annual household income: $63,891
Biweekly paycheck: $2,457
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,300
Amount of paycheck left: $1,157

                         13. Madison, Wisconsin
Median annual household income: $62,906
Biweekly paycheck: $2,419
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,256
Amount of paycheck left: $1,163

                         12. Washington, D.C.
Median annual household income: $82,604
Biweekly paycheck: $3,177
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $2,001
Amount of paycheck left: $1,176

                         11. Henderson, Nevada
Median annual household income: $69,940
Biweekly paycheck: $2,690
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,488
Amount of paycheck left: $1,202

                         10. Irvine, California
Median annual household income: $100,969
Biweekly paycheck: $3,883
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $2,560
Amount of paycheck left: $1,323

                         9. Scottsdale, Arizona
Median annual household income: $84,601
Biweekly paycheck: $3,254
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,749
Amount of paycheck left: $1,505

                         8. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Median annual household income: $74,186
Biweekly paycheck: $2,853
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,337
Amount of paycheck left: $1,516

                         7. Chesapeake, Virginia
Median annual household income: $75,790
Biweekly paycheck: $2,915
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,347
Amount of paycheck left: $1,568

                         6. Anchorage, Alaska
Median annual household income: $83,280
Biweekly paycheck: $3,203
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,555
Amount of paycheck left: $1,648

                         5. Chandler, Arizona
Median annual household income: $80,716
Biweekly paycheck: $3,104
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,441
Amount of paycheck left: $1,663

                         4. Fremont, California
Median annual household income: $127,374
Biweekly paycheck: $4,899
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $3,144
Amount of paycheck left: $1,755

                         3. Gilbert, Arizona
Median annual household income: $92,350
Biweekly paycheck: $3,552
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,480
Amount of paycheck left: $2,072

                         2. Plano, Texas
Median annual household income: $92,121
Biweekly paycheck: $3,543
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $1,427
Amount of paycheck left: $2,116

                         1. Arlington, Virginia
Median annual household income: $117,374
Biweekly paycheck: $4,514
Total biweekly cost of necessities: $2,238
Amount of paycheck left: $2,276
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Methodology: To find the 40 cities where paychecks go the furthest, GOBankingRates looked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 Consumer Expenditure Survey data to find how much the typical American consumer unit spends annually and biweekly on necessities (including groceries, health, housing, transportation, utilities and miscellaneous expenses). GOBankingRates then looked at the 100 largest cities in the U.S. by population, according to the Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey, and found Sperling’s Best Places’ cost of living index for each necessity category in every city. By multiplying each city’s index scores by the national biweekly spending estimates in every category, GOBankingRates was able to calculate how much consumers in each city can expect to spend on necessities per pay period. Then, GOBankingRates found the median annual household income in each city from the 2018 ACS and created a biweekly paycheck estimate for workers in each location. Finally, GOBankingRates subtracted the total biweekly cost of necessities in each city from its median biweekly paycheck to find out where workers can expect to have the most money left over after bills are paid every pay period. All data were collected on and up to date as of Oct. 19, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 40 Top Cities Where Your Paycheck Goes the Furthest

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