“Go where the jobs are” may be considered sound business and financial advice in the current economy, but what if “where those jobs are” costs more than twice the national average to live? In the New York City area, the average pay for full-time civilian workers is 28.51/hour, nearly $6/hour above the national average of $22.71. That might sound nice, but when you take into account that the cost of living in Manhattan is more than twice the national average (216 percent), things aren’t looking so pretty. On the flip side, Indianapolis has a cost of living that’s much lower than the national average (87 percent), but the average wage is equally low at $19.80/hour, meaning you’re only spending less because you’re making less.
So where are the best places to live where you can actually spend less and make more? We set out to find the cities across the country where the math adds up—and discovered that plenty do exist.
Here are seven U.S. cities where your hard-earned dollars go the furthest.
RELATED: 12 Markets Where It’s Better to Rent
NOTE: Cost of living figures are from the Census Bureau’s 2010 Cost of Living Index, the most recent data available. Wage info is from the National Compensation Survey, the most recent data available, and includes full-time civilian (or non-military) wages only (wage statistics are hourly, but the survey includes salaried employees, whose rates are converted to hourly for consistency).