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Report: Houston earns top-10 rank among best U.S. cities for workers making $100K

Six-figure earners live well in Houston. Photo via Getty Images

In Houston, $100,000 per year goes much farther than many other Texas cities. A new study by personal finance website ranked Houston No. 7 on its list of the best cities for six-figure earners in the U.S.

The annual net pay after taxes for a six-figure earner in Houston comes out to $78,089, according to the study. When factoring in major expenses like rent, groceries, healthcare, utilities, transportation costs, and miscellaneous expenses, that adds up to $43,105.46 per year, which leaves just under $35,000 leftover. Houston's continuing inflation troubles surely aren't helping, either.

Here's how GOBankingRates breaks down Houston's expenses:

  • Annual rent: $19,215.67
  • Annual groceries: $5,594.64
  • Annual healthcare: $5,563.35
  • Annual utilities: $4,389.79
  • Annual transportation costs: $7,364.29
  • Annual miscellaneous costs: $977.72
Houston appears one spot lower than its No. 6-rank in a similar 2023 study by SmartAsset. That study said Houstonians' six-figure salary was reduced to $74,515 after taxes, but was technically worth $81,350 when adjusted for the cost of living.

Houston wasn't the only Texas city to earn a spot in the top 10 where a six-figure salary goes the farthest. Higher up on the list is El Paso (No. 2) and San Antonio (No. 3).

After taxes and annual expenses, six-figure earners in El Paso have $37,685 left over, which is over $2,700 more than what a Houstonian would have with the same salary. In San Antonio, residents making $100,000 per year average about $41,008 in annual expenses, which leaves $37,081 in their pockets after paying all the bills.

For the second year in a row, the U.S. city where a $100,000 salary goes the furthest is Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis residents have nearly $40,000 leftover after taxes and annual expenses on a $100,000 salary, the study says. Like Texas, Tennessee also doesn't impose an income tax on its residents.

The top 10 U.S. cities where a $100,000 salary goes the farthest are:

  • No. 1 – Memphis, Tennessee
  • No. 2 – El Paso, Texas
  • No. 3 – San Antonio, Texas
  • No. 4 – Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • No. 5 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • No. 6 – Wichita, Kansas
  • No. 7 – Houston
  • No. 8 – Tucson, Arizona
  • No. 9 – Jacksonville, Florida
  • No. 10 – Indianapolis, Indiana

In the study's analysis of the top 10 most expensive cities for six-figure earners, New York City took the crown as the city where residents are left "in the red" by the end of the year. Following close behind is San Francisco, California (No. 2); San Jose, California (No. 3); San Diego, California (No. 4); Boston, Massachusetts (No. 5); Oakland, California (No. 6); Los Angeles, California (No. 7); Washington, D.C. (No. 8); Miami, Florida (No. 9); and Long Beach, California (No. 10).

The report analyzed the average expense costs in 50 of the most populous American cities, and subtracted those costs from each city's annual net annual pay after taxes on a $100,000 salary. Rankings were determined based on the amount of annual income leftover. Data was pulled from the U.S. Census American Community Survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, the Zillow Observed Rental Index, and more.The report and its methodology can be found on


This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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