When you think of a rich city, do you think of a place with a ton of million dollar homes? Maybe a place with a lot of culture, job opportunities, or beauty? Many of the richest cities are in high-demand for these very reasons.
But, while some cities may be rich –that is, they have a lot of high earners — the cost of living in these places is really high as well. Your geographic location plays a large role in your cost of living — housing costs, utilities, food prices, and even how much you pay the sitter. So, things kind of balance out in a way.
Using information from FindtheBest, we created a list of the 10 richest cities in America. The list includes cities with a population greater than 500,000 that have the highest percentage of households earning at least $150,000 per year.
We’ve also included information on the corresponding salary a person needs to live comfortably in each of these cities. The salary a person needs to be comfortable in each city is based on studies finding the magic salary number — $75,000 — as the salary amount at which comfort is achieved.
We’ve adjusted this $75,000 upwards or downwards based on living costs in each city, using a cost of living calculator and comparing each city to Phoenix, Ariz. — a city with a moderate cost of living and a median income that’s close to the nationwide benchmark.
The richest cities
These are the 10 richest cities, and the salary a person would need to live comfortably in each of them:
1. San Francisco — You’d need $124,561 to live comfortably in SF.
2. San Jose — You’d need around $115,515 here.
3. Washington, D.C. — $108,092 would be a comfortable salary in the nation’s capital.
4. Seattle — $93,634 would be ideal here.
5. San Diego — You could be comfortable with a salary of $101,984.
6. Boston — $106,082 is what you’d need to be financially comfortable in this northern city.
7. New York City — To live comfortably, you’d need $131,365 in Brooklyn, $169,639 in Manhattan, and $116,907 in Queens.
8. Los Angeles — $102,061 would have you sitting pretty in LA.
9. Denver — $82,036 would be an ideal salary here.
10. Austin — Surprisingly, in spite of the high percentage of people earning over $150,000, you’d only need $72,912 to be comfortable in this Texas city.
These days, it’s expensive to live anywhere. Nationwide, the median list price per square foot on homes is $120, a grocery bill can cost over $1,000 per month, and a trip to the movies can cost $40 or $50 if you grab a few snacks. Costs are high for everyone, but if you live in some of these “rich cities” with higher living costs and you’re not earning big bucks, this makes for an even greater challenge.