Top 10 Largest Us Cities Where $100K Goes Furthest in 2024

serious woman writing in notebook paying bills at computer.

Historically, earning a six-figure salary has symbolized professional achievement and financial security for many American employees. However, the landscape is shifting, and today, $100,000 doesn’t stretch as far as it once did.

Coupled with ongoing inflation and elevated living expenses, $100,000 can leave many people still living paycheck-to-paycheck. Researchers from SmartAsset compared the after-tax income in 72 of the largest U.S. cities and then adjusted those figures for the cost of living in each place to see how much $100,000 is actually worth in different parts of the country. 

Researchers used SmartAsset’s paycheck calculator to adjust annual salaries for federal, state, and local taxes. They then adjusted the remaining amount for the local cost of living (housing, food, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneous goods and services)  in 72 of the largest cities in the U.S. using data from the Council for Community and Economic Research. 

Here are the top largest US cities where $100K will stretch the furthest.

1. El Paso, Texas

El paso texas.
Image Credit: Bwancho and iStock

Everything is bigger in Texas–including wallets. Moving up to number one in 2024, workers can expect a salary of $100,000 to equal about $88,840 after tax deductions and an approximately 12% lower cost of living adjustment in El Paso. With no state or local income taxes and a significant discount on the cost of living, residents of El Paso enjoy the highest purchasing power of large US cities. 

2. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City skyline scissortail Park.
Image Credit:Travis Lloyd and iStock

Oklahoma City comes in at number two, with a cost of living 15% lower than the national average. Workers take home approximately $87,585 after adjusting for taxes and cost of living, and residents enjoy housing costs 32% lower than the national average, according to RentCafe.

3. Memphis, Tennessee

memphis tennessee downtown.
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Dropping from number one to three, residents of Memphis can still expect their $100K salary to go further with a take-home pay of approximately $86,960 of their $100K salary. Known as the “Home of the Blues,” Memphis boasts a population of 628,127, a cost of living 10% lower than the national average. 

4. Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi marina.
Image Credit: RoschetzkyIstockPhoto and iStock

Corpus Christi is holding on to the number 4 spot. A $100,000 annual salary is worth about $86,383 here along the Gulf Coast of Texas. Residents enjoy a 9% cost of living savings compared to the national average and lower food, housing, goods and services, and healthcare costs. However, utilities may cost more.

5. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio Texas riverwalk at dusk.
Image Credit: Sean Pavone and iStock

Moving up to number five, San Antonio six-figure earners take home approximately $85,625 after accounting for taxes and the cost of living. Living expenses in San Antonio, TX, fall 2% below the Texas average and 9% below the national average. Sweetening the deal even more, housing costs are 20% less than the average across the U.S., and utility expenses are roughly 15% lower.

6. Lubbock, Texas

woman smiling texas desert.
Image Credit: PeopleImages and iStock

The fourth city from Texas to make the list at number six is Lubbock, with a take-home pay of about $85,065. Home to 260,993 residents, Lubbock boasts lower housing, utilities, food, healthcare, transportation, and goods and services costs than the national average.

7. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa Oklahoma.
Image Credit: Susan Vineyard and iStock

New to the list in 2024 is Tulsa, with residents earning about $84,507 after taxes and cost of living adjustments. The cost of living is about 12% lower than the national average. Residents enjoy 26% lower housing costs and lower utilities and food costs. 

8. Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville Florida skyline.
Image Credit: Susanne Neumann and iStock

Jacksonville joins the list in 2024. Workers making six figures look to bring home about.$83,878 after taxes and cost of living adjustments. Jacksonville has approximately a 7% lower than the national average cost of living. On average, residents have lower housing, transportation, and healthcare costs. Many probably won’t notice the 2% lower cost of food, but it’s still better than nothing.

9. Houston, Texas

couple bike riding downtown houston texas.
Image Credit: Nate Hovee and iStock

Houston is a lively city with lots to do for the family and it makes the list of top 10 cities to stretch a $100K salary. In Houston, as a no-state taxes, a six-figure salary take-home pay will be about $82,986 after taxes and cost of living adjustments. Houston is known for its more affordable housing. However, residents should be mindful of the temperature and the potential for higher utility costs.

10. St. Louis, Missouri

downtown st louis skyline with arc gateway to the west.
Image Credit: Sean Pavone and iStock

St. Louis, with an average take-home pay of about $82,614, closes the list at number 10. The gateway to the West boasts cheaper housing and miscellaneous goods and services. 

Cost of living Source: RentCafe

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Theresa Bedford is a travel and lifestyle writer with an obsession to simplify life and travel more. She writes about simple living, money, travel destinations, family-friendly activities, and more. Her work has been featured on the Associated Press wire, MSN.com, GoBankingRates, Wealth of Geeks, Savorteur, and more.

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