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Top 10 Standard Of Living Cities In The U.S.
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June 09, 2013, 04:33 PM
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Here`s a 2011 USNWR table of interest:

Below are the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest adjusted median household incomes, as computed from 2009 median household income and cost of living data.

Metro AreaCOLI2009 Median Household Income2009 Adjusted Median Income 
Des Moines, Iowa90.6$56,576$62,446
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.138.685,16861,449
Worcester, Mass.103.763,36061,099
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas89.354,14660,634
Ogden-Clearfield, Utah*10060,20860,208
Colorado Springs, Colo.92.355,17659,779
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas92.154,53959,217
Madison, Wisc.*96.256,70958,949
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.94.255,46458,879
Raleigh-Cary, N.C.101.359,31658,555

The weather isn`t great in Des Moines, but the scenery isn`t quite as flat as I expected from Illinois. (Here`s the Waveland golf course, for instance.)

D.C. is expensive, but the people who live there seem to be good decision makers about making money. It`s almost like they know things we don`t know, as if they have inside information.

Most of the rest of the list are the Dirt Gap usual suspects.

And here are the ten lowest standard of living metropolitan areas:
Metro AreaCOLI2009 Median Household Income2009 Adjusted Median Income 
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas87.230,46034,931
New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.177.862,88735,370
Modesto, Calif.*136.648,71635,663
Fresno, Calif.120.145,66138,019
El Paso, Texas89.736,14640,297
Honolulu, Hawaii166.367,74440,736
Springfield, Mass.*119.849,17741,049
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.141.658,52541,331
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla.109.845,94641,845
Scranton—Wilkes-Barre, Pa.*98.141,82342,633

Now, I would argue that Honolulu, New York, Miami, and L.A., have other things going for them that aren`t measured in these statistics (e.g., nice weather or attractive women). But what do McAllen, Modesto, and Fresno have going for them? Cheap chalupas?

The Worcester, MA v. Springfield, MA conundrum is a little strange. They are both very old manufacturing cities. Worcester is 48 miles west of downtown Boston, while Springfield is 91 miles west, so Worcester might be an exurb now with big city salaries, while Springfield is too far to commute to the Boston area, while Hartford 27 miles to the south is decaying. But I don`t really know much about Massachusetts. Springfield is 1/3rd Puerto Rican, which doesn`t help median income stats.