Home Money Consciousness 15 US Cities Where People Can Earn Six Figures & Still Be Broke
Money Consciousness

15 US Cities Where People Can Earn Six Figures & Still Be Broke

SimiJanuary 30, 2018
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8. Honolulu, Hawaii

On the island of Oahu, this city is not only the capital of Hawaii, but it is also the largest city in the state. It secured its name in history books when it became the target of the Japanese attack on the 7th of December 1941. The attack happened in the early hours of the morning and was on the base Pearl Harbor very close to the city. It was named the 2nd safest city in the United States in 2015 and it had high liveability rankings.

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Each year, tourism contributes $10 billion to the Hawaiian economy. Millions of people flock to the volcanic islands for a beach holiday which is like none other. They do not all stay in Honolulu but the majority of them pass through here at some point. This means that the biggest airport in Hawaii is in Honolulu.

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This means that many of the large Hawaiian airlines have their headquarters are in this city. These include Aloha Air Cargo, Island Air, and Hawaiian Airlines. Military research, manufacturing, development, and defense all still play a rather large role in the economy of the city. Its location in the Pacific Ocean has also made it a center for trade which is being done from East to West and vice versa.

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The average household income after taxes sits at $6,098. While 95% of this is spent on living expenses which sum up at $5,796. This is reflected in the overall cost of living rating for Urban Honolulu which is 199.80. As with previous cities, this is largely due to the housing which scores at 342. Other relatively large contributors to this elevated cost of living are the price of groceries and utilities. Groceries have a score of 152 and utilities come in at 165. All the other categories fall well above the national average of 100.  

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7. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii

These form another Metropolitan Statistical Area in America. According to the census done in July 2016, this area had a population of 165,474. Kahului is on the island of Maui. It is home to the main airport of the island, Kahului Airport. The city is not a tourist destination, but it does have some attractions. These include Maui Arts and Culture Centre, Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum, and the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary. Some of the larger employees in Kahului are Macy’s, Walmart, Maui Electric Company, and Aloha Air Cargo.

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Wailuku is also on the island of Maui and is found West of Kahului. This city was once a tourist destination at the beginning of the 20th century. This is not the status quo in the present-day and the city does not even have hotels anymore. Notable employees here include Maui County, Pacific Whale Foundation, Maui Ocean Centre, Kaiser Permanente, Towne Island Homes, The Maui News, and the Maui Memorial Medical Centre.

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With a population of 11,704, Lahaina is the most populated place in West Maui. It is the site of 2 major beach resorts Ka’anapali and Kapalua. This used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, during the years from 1820 to 1845. This means that Lahaina boasts countless ancient sites. Apart from tourism, some of the larger employees here include Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, the Old Lahaina Luau, Longhi’s, Safeway, and People Who Clean.

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The average monthly income in the metropolitan statistical area after taxes is $6,098. Monthly expenses come in at $5,796. This means that households that earn upwards of six figures will still spend 95% of their income just to cover basic living costs. This translates to a cost of living score of 181 in Kahului, 179 in Wailuku, and 209.50 in Lahaina.

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6. California-Lexington Park, Maryland

These two cities make up an MD Metro Area in Maryland. The population is 109,614 and they have a poverty rate of 7.85%. Lexington Park is in St. Marys county and in 2010 had a population of 11,626. The Patuxent Naval Air Station is based in Lexington Park which has made it one of the fastest-growing micropolitan areas in the United States. Since 2000 it has grown by 14.6%. The military base contributes $3 billion to the economy of Maryland, which adds up to 75% of the economy of the total state. This same base also employs over 20 000 people in Lexington Park. The general landscape surrounding the area is mostly countryside and farmland. Property prices have dropped in recent years, coming down from $337,501 in 2007 to $ 252,100 in 2014.

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California in the states of Maryland was named after the state of California and has experienced continued growth due to the overflow from neighboring Lexington Park. The Patuxent Naval Air Station also employs workers from California, these are both in defense and technological positions. Since 2000 the population of California has grown by 27.4% to a number of 11,857.

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When looking at houses with an income over six figures annually, monthly income after taxes would be $6,014. With monthly expenses being $5,727, households living in this micropolitan area would on average spend 95% of their income on living expenses.

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The overall cost of living score for Lexington Park is 112.10. This value is only slightly higher than the national average of 100. The most notable category that sits above the national average is housing which sits at 131. This is followed by groceries at 111.2, utilities at 105, miscellaneous at 102, and transport at 101. Health is the only one which is below 100. California has similar scores and has an overall score of 113.90.

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5. New York/Jersey City:

These can also be considered the New York Metropolitan Area and it’s the most populated in the United States. The population of 20.2 million people in this area span over the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The economy in this Metropolitan area is the biggest in the country and even ranks on a national scale. The GMP was $1.6 trillion in 2015, if this value was considered to be a GDP then it would be the 9th highest in the world.

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New York City is by far the most populated city in the entire United States. The population measured at over 8.5 million people in 2016. This city has an enormous and incredibly diverse economy. Countless Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters and over the years, New York has made a name for itself as a center for trade, finance, business, art, technology, and many others. The city of Newark is the most populated in New Jersey. It had a population of 277,140 in 2010 and has long been a center for the railway, air, and shipping. White-collar jobs dominate the economy and the employees of these amount to about 100,000.

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Jersey City is the 77th largest city in the United States and is also the fastest-growing municipality in the state of New Jersey. In 2016, it was estimated that the population of Jersey City came up to 264,152. This city boasts at least 100,00 jobs both in the public and private sector.

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Considering the strength of the economy of this metropolitan area, it is no wonder that there are a fair number of households who earn upwards of 6 figures. This money is only just enough to cover the cost of living. If the income of a household is $6,370 each month after tax and the same household’s monthly expenses amount to $6,101, then these households would be spending 96% of their income to keep the household running. Only 4% of this sizeable salary is actually leftover at the end of each month.

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4. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

This is also known as the San Francisco Metropolitan area and is the 11th most populated area in America. Once the GDP of 2015 was adjusted for inflation, it was ranked as the 4th highest metropolitan in the United States.

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San Francisco is actually called The City and County of San Francisco and is a hub in terms of commerce, culture, and finance in the region that is Northern California. Nationally, it is the 13th most populated city and comes in number 4 when looking at the state of California. As of 2016, the population was estimated to be 870,887. Tourism, finance, and technology make up the bulk of the economy in San Francisco.

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Alameda county houses the city of Oakland, which is the most populated in said county. This port city on the West Coast is also the 8th most populated city in the state of California. At least 99% of the goods that are heading into California via shipping containers, enter the state via the port here. The 3rd largest city in Alameda county is Hayward. The population of this city amounted to 149,392 in 2014. Prior to the 1980s, the economy in Hayward was mostly based on its salt production and canning industry. Presently, the economy is dominated by retail and manufacturing.

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A six-figure household in this metropolitan area would have $6,291 in terms of income each month, this value is post taxation. Monthly household expenses amount to $6,023. These values show that a household here would spend 96% of their income on basic monthly expenses. San Francisco scores 272.60 on the cost of living scale, Oakland has 179.30, and Hayward 169.20. All of these are substantially higher than the national average of 100.

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3. San Jose-Santa Clara, California

These 3 cities combined make up a Metropolitan Statistical Area in California which had a population of just under 2 million in April 2010. This area has shown a population growth of 7.7% in the years between 2010 and 2016. The GDP per capita for this statistical area amounted to $127,595 in 2016.

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The City of San Jose is overall the 3rd most populated city in California and is also the biggest city in Northern California. This city has its home in Santa Clara County which ranks as one of the most cities nationally and statewide. San Jose is home to Silicon Valley which inevitably has accelerated its economy to dazzling heights. Sunnyvale is also in Santa Clara County and has a population of 140,095, making it the seventh-most populated city located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sunnyvale also forms part of Silicon Valley. Along with aerospace and defense companies, there are also other huge technology companies that have headquarters here.

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Santa Clara is Southeast of San Francisco and is also located in Santa Clara County. Its population is the 9th biggest in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a size of 116,468 people. Silicon Valley Power is located in Santa Clara. The electricity rate in this city is considerably lower than the rest of Northern California due to the 147 megawatts of electricity that this company produces and supplies.

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Being such an affluent county, there are obviously countless households that are afforded a six-figure income. They are however not afforded the lifestyle which one would assume. Assuming the monthly income after taxes is $6,291 for each household. If expenses for the same household are $6,212 each month then even a 6-figure income household will spend 99% of their income on living expenses.

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2. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut

This Metropolitan Statistical Area also includes the Greater Bridgeport area. Fairfield county is completely encompassed in this area and has a population of just under a million people as of 2015. There are 23 towns included in this statistical area.

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Bridgeport is the biggest city in the state and has a population of 151,276 according to a census done in 2017. This 5th most populated city in New England is only 60 miles away from Manhattan. The dominating industrial sector in Bridgeport began its decline in the middle of the 20th century. The economy is now more service orientated. Education, healthcare, and finance are currently the cornerstones of this city’s economy.

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Stamford is another city if Fairfield county and is even close to Manhattan, located only 30 miles from the world-renowned borough. It is the 7th biggest city in New England and also forms part of the Greater New York Metropolitan Statistical Area. Stamford is home to a few Fortune 500 companies, as of 2017, there are 4 of these. Settled in 1649, Norwalk is now the 6th most populated city in the state of Connecticut. Famous companies like Priceline Group, Xerox, Pepperidge Farm, and Frontier Communications all have their home right in Norwalk.

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Being part of the Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the Big Apple along with Wall Street, the area obviously is home to a fair amount of 6 figure earning households. The last point had these same households spending 99% of their income on living expenses. The leap made from that percentage is incredibly substantial. If monthly income after taxes is $6,297 and monthly expenses are $ 6,436, then shockingly these households cannot even afford the cost of living. They would need to spend money they do not have simply to cover their cost of living.

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1. Washington DC Metro:

This is the Washington Metropolitan area and includes part of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. It boasts some of the richest and most educated citizens in the entire United States. It is the 6th biggest Metropolitan in America and houses over 6 million people. The capital district of Washington D.C. was officially formed when the Residence Act was signed in July 1790. This district is under exclusive jurisdiction and thus does not actually form part of a state. Legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government are all based here. There are also 176 international embassies here along with countless historical monuments. In 2010, the Gross State Product of this district sat at $101.3 billion.

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Business service and professional jobs together make up the diverse economy in Washington. In the Washington Metropolitan area, the 2nd biggest city is Arlington which is found in Arlington County. On the bank of the Potomac River, Washington D.C is but across the way from Arlington.  This city has some of the lowest unemployment rates in the state of Virginia. The economy is quite diverse, but there is a large portion of the workforce which is employed by the federal government.

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Alexandria is on the same side of the Potomac River as Washington D.C and is only 7 miles to the south of the home of the American Government. The government influence is quite strong in the workforce and economy of this independent city. A large amount of the employees works for the federal government and its related services, in the military or at private companies that are contracted by the federal government.

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Being such a highly educated region and also the home of the government of the United States, it is to be expected that many households earn above the 6-figure income bracket. But, along with this high earning potential comes an even higher cost of living. Using the same methods as previously used, any six-figure-earning household would need to spend 105% of their earnings on living expenses.

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