Cities in Every State Where Your Paycheck Stretches the Furthest

GabrielPevide / Getty Images
GabrielPevide / Getty Images

In a world where it feels like however much you earn is never enough, plenty of Americans will spend most of their lives dreaming about financial stability. This has come to the front of mind for even more people, with the coronavirus pandemic leaving a huge swath of the U.S. dependent on unemployment insurance.

See: Best Places To Live on a $50K Salary in Every State
Learn More: The Cost To Own a 3-Bedroom Home in Every State

The circumstances of this lockdown also help illustrate an important financial lesson: it's not just what you make -- where you live matters a lot, too. Because, while you might never be earning as much as you'd like, reducing your basic cost of necessities can function like getting a raise. Securing a roof over your head and enough for your family to eat can cost significantly more (or less) than in communities a town or two over.

To help make your existing lifestyle cost less, GOBankingRates gathered data for the five biggest cities in each state and found the one where the combination of good wages and low cost of living allows you to stretch your paycheck the farthest.

From Alabama to Wyoming: The Cost of Living Across America

A cost-of-living index score from Sperling's Best Places was used to help with this assessment. This score, using 100 as the baseline, compares the cost of living in a respective city to the national average; so, for example, a cost-of-living index score of 110 would mean the city has costs 10% higher than the national average.

All of the data was then scored to determine which locale has the ideal combination of higher earnings and lower costs.

So, if you're looking for a way to make that paycheck last longer, take a long look at which city in your state provides the most opportunities to earn more and spend less.

Last updated: Aug. 24, 2021

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Shutterstock.com

Alabama: Huntsville

  • Median household income: $53,840

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,253

  • Median rent: $804

  • Cost-of-living index: 86

Watch Out: The Cost of Living Is Quickly Rising in These 20 US Cities

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Shutterstock.com

Alaska: Knik-Fairview

  • Median household income: $88,644

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,799

  • Median rent: $1,406

  • Cost-of-living index: 121.6

Read: These Are the 50 Best Cities for Renters

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Arizona: Chandler

  • Median household income: $80,716

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,633

  • Median rent: $1,246

  • Cost-of-living index: 113

Check Out: How Far a $100K Salary Goes in America's 50 Largest Cities

RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com
RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com

Arkansas: Springdale

  • Median household income: $50,192

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,130

  • Median rent: $762

  • Cost-of-living index: 86

Spondylolithesis / Getty Images
Spondylolithesis / Getty Images

California: Fresno

  • Median household income: $47,189

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,518

  • Median rent: $969

  • Cost-of-living index: 102.6

Read: 35 Surprising Cities With Low Costs of Living

Richard Bittles / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Richard Bittles / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Colorado: Colorado Springs

  • Median household income: $61,324

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,504

  • Median rent: $1,072

  • Cost-of-living index: 104.5

Daniel Case / Wikimedia Commons
Daniel Case / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut: Waterbury

  • Median household income: $41,617

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,598

  • Median rent: $959

  • Cost-of-living index: 93.8

Acroterion / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3
Acroterion / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3

Delaware: Middletown

  • Median household income: $89,354

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,710

  • Median rent: $1,202

  • Cost-of-living index: 123.1

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Florida: Jacksonville

  • Median household income: $52,576

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,341

  • Median rent: $1,029

  • Cost-of-living index: 93.5

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Georgia: Columbus

  • Median household income: $45,389

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,262

  • Median rent: $877

  • Cost-of-living index: 74.4

ejs9  / iStock.com
ejs9 / iStock.com

Hawaii: Hilo

  • Median household income: $60,120

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,510

  • Median rent: $1,013

  • Cost-of-living index: 130.3

Look: This Is the Living Wage You Need in All 50 States

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Ric Schafer / Shutterstock.com

Idaho: Idaho Falls

  • Median household income: $50,482

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,116

  • Median rent: $748

  • Cost-of-living index: 87.7

Joe Hendrickson / Shutterstock.com
Joe Hendrickson / Shutterstock.com

Illinois: Naperville

  • Median household income: $118,187

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $2,624

  • Median rent: $1,462

  • Cost-of-living index: 129.6

Golden Ratio Photos / Shutterstock.com
Golden Ratio Photos / Shutterstock.com

Indiana: Carmel

  • Median household income: $116,867

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $2,013

  • Median rent: $1,199

  • Cost-of-living index: 113.9

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Iowa: Cedar Rapids

  • Median household income: $59,152

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,246

  • Median rent: $751

  • Cost-of-living index: 81.6

Ichabod / Wikimedia Commons
Ichabod / Wikimedia Commons

Kansas: Olathe

  • Median household income: $85,318

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,687

  • Median rent: $990

  • Cost-of-living index: 104.2

JNix / Shutterstock.com
JNix / Shutterstock.com

Kentucky: Lexington-Fayette

  • Median household income: $54,918

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,321

  • Median rent: $864

  • Cost-of-living index: 89.1

Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Louisiana: Lafayette

  • Median household income: $50,182

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,401

  • Median rent: $874

  • Cost-of-living index: 87.7

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Maine: Auburn

  • Median household income: $48,924

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,371

  • Median rent: $758

  • Cost-of-living index: 86.5

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Shutterstock.com

Maryland: Columbia

  • Median household income: $105,815

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $2,344

  • Median rent: $1,687

  • Cost-of-living index: 121.6

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Massachusetts: Springfield

  • Median household income: $36,730

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,392

  • Median rent: $847

  • Cost-of-living index: 89.7

Nheyob / Wikimedia Commons
Nheyob / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan: Sterling Heights

  • Median household income: $63,126

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,408

  • Median rent: $1,000

  • Cost-of-living index: 101.4

IMG_191 / Shutterstock.com
IMG_191 / Shutterstock.com

Minnesota: Rochester

  • Median household income: $70,749

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,428

  • Median rent: $942

  • Cost-of-living index: 94.1

Find Out: How Does Your Salary Measure Up To the Average American Income?

Thomas R Machnitzki / Wikimedia Commons
Thomas R Machnitzki / Wikimedia Commons

Mississippi: Southaven

  • Median household income: $61,181

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,203

  • Median rent: $1,025

  • Cost-of-living index: 87.2

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Shutterstock.com

Missouri: Independence

  • Median household income: $48,331

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,136

  • Median rent: $839

  • Cost-of-living index: 84

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Shutterstock.com

Montana: Butte-Silver Bow

  • Median household income: $42,174

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,039

  • Median rent: $619

  • Cost-of-living index: 80.1

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Shutterstock.com

Nebraska: Grand Island

  • Median household income: $52,642

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,201

  • Median rent: $737

  • Cost-of-living index: 85

James Mattil / Shutterstock.com
James Mattil / Shutterstock.com

Nevada: Henderson

  • Median household income: $69,940

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,641

  • Median rent: $1,226

  • Cost-of-living index: 117.7

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

New Hampshire: Rochester

  • Median household income: $58,427

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,598

  • Median rent: $998

  • Cost-of-living index: 93.5

Mr. Matté / Wikimedia Commons
Mr. Matté / Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey: Toms River

  • Median household income: $77,401

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $2,115

  • Median rent: $1,405

  • Cost-of-living index: 105.8

Read: How Far a $100,000 Salary Goes in America’s 50 Largest Cities

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Shutterstock.com

New Mexico: Roswell

  • Median household income: $43,481

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,009

  • Median rent: $772

  • Cost-of-living index: 78.6

Atomazul  / Shutterstock.com
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com

New York: Buffalo

  • Median household income: $35,893

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $967

  • Median rent: $757

  • Cost-of-living index: 79.5

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

North Carolina: Winston-Salem

  • Median household income: $44,311

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,167

  • Median rent: $782

  • Cost-of-living index: 81.3

Solange_Z / Getty Images
Solange_Z / Getty Images

North Dakota: West Fargo

  • Median household income: $81,051

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,631

  • Median rent: $859

  • Cost-of-living index: 94.1

True City Living: The Most Affordable Downtowns To Live In Across America

Davel5957 / Getty Images
Davel5957 / Getty Images

Ohio: Akron

  • Median household income: $37,533

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $987

  • Median rent: $735

  • Cost-of-living index: 69.5

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Oklahoma: Broken Arrow

  • Median household income: $72,686

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,352

  • Median rent: $1,026

  • Cost-of-living index: 90.9

M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia Commons
M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia Commons

Oregon: Hillsboro

  • Median household income: $78,144

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,755

  • Median rent: $1,358

  • Cost-of-living index: 122.1

drnadig / Getty Images/iStockphoto
drnadig / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Pennsylvania: Erie

  • Median household income: $36,882

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $995

  • Median rent: $698

  • Cost-of-living index: 74.6

Not Earning Enough? Tips To Live Comfortably on a Budget

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

Rhode Island: Warwick

  • Median household income: $70,490

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,704

  • Median rent: $1,132

  • Cost-of-living index: 101.5

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Shutterstock.com

South Carolina: Columbia

  • Median household income: $45,663

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,272

  • Median rent: $910

  • Cost-of-living index: 84.3

H2O2 / Wikimedia Commons
H2O2 / Wikimedia Commons

South Dakota: Aberdeen

  • Median household income: $49,471

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,191

  • Median rent: $669

  • Cost-of-living index: 78.6

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tennessee: Clarksville

  • Median household income: $53,007

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,175

  • Median rent: $946

  • Cost-of-living index: 85.6

Related: 10 Best and Worst Things To Do When Looking For a Place To Retire

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Shutterstock.com

Texas: San Antonio

  • Median household income: $50,980

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,351

  • Median rent: $958

  • Cost-of-living index: 89.7

Shannon Lucas / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3
Shannon Lucas / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3

Utah: West Jordan

  • Median household income: $75,481

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,568

  • Median rent: $1,191

  • Cost-of-living index: 115.3

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Vermont: Rutland

  • Median household income: $45,229

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,446

  • Median rent: $776

  • Cost-of-living index: 83.3

JoMo333 / Shutterstock.com
JoMo333 / Shutterstock.com

Virginia: Chesapeake

  • Median household income: $75,790

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,828

  • Median rent: $1,235

  • Cost-of-living index: 106.4

gregobagel  / iStock.com
gregobagel / iStock.com

Washington: Spokane

  • Median household income: $47,822

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,266

  • Median rent: $842

  • Cost-of-living index: 92.3

Also See: 30 Best Cities for Young Professionals

David Byron Keener / Shutterstock.com
David Byron Keener / Shutterstock.com

West Virginia: Wheeling

  • Median household income: $42,489

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $977

  • Median rent: $646

  • Cost-of-living index: 75.9

JamesBrey  / iStock.com
JamesBrey / iStock.com

Wisconsin: Green Bay

  • Median household income: $47,797

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,156

  • Median rent: $701

  • Cost-of-living index: 82.3

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Shutterstock.com

Wyoming: Rock Springs

  • Median household income: $75,441

  • Median monthly homeowner costs: $1,478

  • Median rent: $883

  • Cost-of-living index: 96.2

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates looked at the five biggest cities in each state by population and scored each on four factors to determine where your paycheck will stretch the furthest. Each city was scored on: (1) median annual household income, (2) median monthly homeowner costs, including mortgage, (3) median monthly rent and (4) cost-of-living index score. Population data and factors No. 1-3 were taken from the United States Census Bureau American Community Survey's 2018 five-year estimates, and factor No. 4 was taken from Sperling's Best Places. Factors No. 2 and 3 were weighted at half the other factors. All data was collected on and up to date as of May 29, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Cities in Every State Where Your Paycheck Stretches the Furthest