Once cost of living is factored in, an ample paycheck doesn't always translate to a fabulous lifestyle.
That truism was corroborated when Forbes released a study by demographer Joel Kotkin ranking "The Cities Where A Paycheck Stretches The Furthest." Once the 51 largest metropolitan statistical areas were rearranged according to annual income by cost of living, three Texas cities ranked in the top 10.
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown took the No. 1 spot on that list. Once the average annual wage ($59,838 in 2011) has been adjusted for low consumer prices and services, utilities, transportation costs and housing prices, it's worth $66,933 — the highest in the nation.
Once the 51 largest metropolitan statistical areas were rearranged according to annual income by cost of living, three Texas cities ranked in the top 10.
Kotkin writes, "The ratio of the median home price to median annual household income in Houston is only 2.9, remarkably low for such a dynamic urban region." Especially compared to San Francisco, where an abode can cost 6.7 times the median local income.
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington also fared well on the list, claiming No. 5 with a $55,564 annual wage (adjusted from $53,453). The DFW Metroplex saw the greatest population influx nationwide in 2011, with a net 40,000 migrants, perhaps due to increased job opportunities.
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos ranked No. 8, with an adjusted annual wage of $54,393 (compared to the average annual wage of $50,422). Forbes touted Austin's four percent population growth in past year.
Kotkin notes that San Antonio, currently falling in at No. 36 on the list, will gain ground as long as its average income continues to increase and living remains affordable.
Despite an exorbitant cost of living, but thanks to a higher-than-average median wage, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara ranked No. 2 on the list, followed by Detroit and Memphis. See the full list on Kotkin's website.