Americans with career aspirations tend to migrate to big cities, where pay is higher and more job opportunities.
Yet that salary might not go as far as people think, especially in large cities with a high cost of living. In fact, workers might want to consider finding work in smaller metropolitan areas where their dollars will go much farther, according to a studyfrom Indeed.com.
An analysis of salary and cost of living data for 104 cities with at least 500,000 residents by Indeed chief economist Jed Kolko found that some urban areas with the highest unadjusted salaries are among the toughest 20 cities to make ends meet. The worst was Honolulu, the analysis found. After factoring in the cost of living, Honolulu's salaries are the lowest in the country.
"When we adjust for living costs, those big coastal metros with high average salaries no longer look like a good deal," Kolko wrote in a blog post. "It turns out that when salaries are adjusted for cost of living, they tend to be higher in smaller metros than in the largest ones."
Of course, smaller cities may offer fewer job opportunities, which could prove limiting depending on one's career. Other workers want the experience of living in a big city, regardless of the cost.
Surprisingly, San Francisco and San Jose -- where housing costs are notoriously high -- landed in the middle of the rankings, Kolko noted.
"Unadjusted salaries in these Bay Area metros are so high that, even after adjusting for local prices, they still rank in the middle of the pack, nowhere near the bottom 20," he noted.
The average salary in Honolulu is about $74,500, but is adjusted to $59,882 after accounting for the cost of living, Indeed found. The other metro areas where your money doesn't go as far are Tucson, Miami-Fort-Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, New York-Newark-Jersey City and Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California, the analysis found.
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