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How Does Your City Stack Up?

For those who’ve ever mulled moving to another city but were unsure if they could foot the bill for a new view, Wahrheit Ventures has a way to do the math. The company’s recently rolled-out mobile app, City vs City, crunches cost-of-living numbers by comparing gross incomes needed to afford the same standard in 253 different U.S. cities.

First, the process: The Wahrheit research team established a subject city and ZIP code and plugged in realistic spending habits for that location. After tackling that task, they tweaked the after-tax spending and savings until the gross income amounted to $100,000. They set the baseline for a married couple living in a two-bedroom house within the 33rd most costly ZIP as determined by median home price in the metro Denver area.

So which cities have the highest cost of living?

Manhattan tops the list, with a gross income of $303,600 needed to enjoy the same lifestyle that $100,000 would net in Denver. Coming in at No. 2 is San Francisco where you’d need $209,000 in after-tax income to live a similar lifestyle as Denver.

Rounding out the top 10 rankers: Silicon Valley, $181,900; Brooklyn, $173,000; the Coastal area of Los Angeles, $168,100; Boston, $155,800; California’s East Bay, $149,300; Honolulu, $147,900; Nassau County (New York), $147,000; and Central Los Angeles, $143,400.

As for the next batch of cities requiring the most cha-ching, cha-ching: Washington, D.C. comes in at No. 11 with $141,400 gross income needed, followed by Westchester (New York City), $138,800, Monterey Bay (California), $137,700; Boston’s West Suburbs, $133,400; California’s Wine Country, $131,300; Long Island (New York), $130,400; Seattle, $128,700; Orange County South (California), $127,800; Central San Diego, $127,600; and Carlsbad-Temecula (California), $127,300.

If you think you’re noticing a trend here, you’re correct. The top 20 cost-of-living cities hail from just five places: California, New York, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C.

Click here for the full list of the 253 U.S. cities ranked by cost of living.

About Author: Alison Rich

Alison Rich has a long-time tenure in the writing and editing realm, touting an impressive body of work that has been featured in local and national consumer and trade publications spanning industries and audiences. She has worked for DS News and MReport magazines—both in print and online—since they launched.
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