Standard of Living Salary Comparison in Cities

Big cities typically cost more to live in than small cities.
Big cities typically cost more to live in than small cities. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Different cities offer a different cost and standard of living. Your salary is directly affected by your city's standard of living; expensive cities might offer more things to do but will cost you more to live in as opposed to less expensive cities. It is important to compare the standard of living from one city to the next to determine whether the advantages of living in one place versus another are worth the differences in the living costs.

New York City

New York City is the most expensive U.S. city to live in. A luxury two-bedroom unfurnished apartment rents for about $4,000 a month as of publication, and most other everyday items like groceries are more expensive in New York City than anywhere else. The median salary for people in New York City is $50,820, according to The New York Job Source website. Average salaries for jobs there are typically higher than national averages for the same jobs to account for the more expensive cost of living.


Chicago offers many of the same features and attractions as New York City, but the standard of living in Chicago is not as expensive. It is the fourth most expensive city in the U.S., according to Business Insider. A luxury two-bedroom apartment in Chicago rents for about $2,500 a month as of publication, almost half of a New York apartment. The Simply Hired website indicates the average salary in Chicago is $37,658, and the median income is $41,015.

Spokane, Washington

According to Forbes, Spokane is one of the least expensive cities in the U.S. to live in. The average income in Spokane in 2009 was $38,939, according to the City Data website. The average home price in 2009 was $189,121 and the average monthly rent cost was $709. The city has a population of about 462,700.

Modesto, California

Modesto, California is another one of the cheapest cities to live in, according to Forbes. It has a population of about 510,700, and is located inland east of San Francisco. The city provides a cheaper alternative to living in other expensive California cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles. According to the City Data website, the average income in Modesto was $46,316 in 2009. The average home price was $350,840 and the average rent was $966.

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