The Surprising U.S. Cities Where Your Salary Goes the Furthest

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Salaries in major metropolises like New York and Los Angeles may be higher, but your paycheck will go a lot farther in a small or mid-sized city. A new analysis by Indeed Hiring Lab lists the cities with the highest salaries, after they’ve been adjusted for cost of living—in other words, where residents get the most bang for their buck, City Lab reports.

The breakdown is based on job listings and salaries posted on Indeed's website from July 2017 to June 2018, as well as 2016 cost of living data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The analysis looked at 185 cities with a population of at least 250,000 people.

Coming in first place with an adjusted salary of $80,880 (compared to an unadjusted salary of $67,778) are the Texan cities of Brownsville and Harlingen. They're located about 23 miles apart, but together they make up a Census Bureau-designated region of about 335,200 people. (For a few of the slots on the top 10 list, a larger geographic region encompassing two or three cities, and sometimes two or three states, was identified).

Courtesy of Indeed, here are the top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest adjusted salaries:

1. Brownsville-Harlingen (Texas)
2. Kingsport-Bristol (Tennessee, Virginia)
3. Huntington-Ashland (West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio)
4. Merced (California)
5. Spartanburg (South Carolina)
6. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton (North Carolina)
7. Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula (Mississippi)
8. Toledo (Ohio)
9. Birmingham-Hoover (Alabama)
10. South Bend-Mishawaka (Indiana, Michigan)

However, there's one caveat: These 10 cities aren't necessarily the ones with the best job opportunities. "Places where adjusted salaries are higher often serve up other challenges," Indeed writes in its report. "They tend to have higher unemployment today and are projected to have slower job growth."

Perhaps of greater interest, Indeed did another calculation of the cities with the highest adjusted salaries and above-average opportunities. The geographic region of Duluth (Minnesota, Wisconsin) came out on top with an adjusted salary of $75,910, compared to an unadjusted salary of $68,547.

Here are the top 10 cities for both adjusted salary and jobs:

1. Duluth (Minnesota, Wisconsin)
2. Wilmington (North Carolina)
3. Lubbock (Texas)
4. San Antonio-New Braunfels (Texas)
5. St. Louis (Missouri, Illinois)
6. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade (California)
7. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway (Arkansas)
8. Salem (Oregon)
9. Kalamazoo-Portage (Michigan)
10. Gainesville (Florida)

[h/t City Lab]