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A $100k salary in Arlington feels more like $50k, new study suggests

Hundred dollar bills / money (Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash)

Arlington ranks near the top of many lists, but it’s near the bottom of a new one looking at purchasing power.

The county is No. 66 out of 76 on a list of “Where $100,000 Goes Furthest.” The bottom four cities on the list are New York, Honolulu, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., compared to the top-ranked cities of Memphis, El Paso, Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi.

The 2023 study by financial website SmartAsset “looked at what a $100,000 income is worth after taxes and a cost-of-living adjustment.”

“A six-figure salary is an important milestone for many people, but after taxes and amid rampant inflation, it’s not what it used to be,” a PR rep for the site said in an email. “With this in mind, SmartAsset set out to uncover what $100,000 truly feels like in America’s largest cities. To calculate this, our data team analyzed after-tax income in 76 of the largest U.S. cities and adjusted those figures for the cost of living in each place.”

“Our findings show $100,000 in Arlington amounts to roughly $50,000 after adjusting for taxes and cost of living,” the rep noted to ARLnow.

In bottom-ranked New York City, that $100,000 amounted to an adjusted-for-cost-of-living $35,791. The same $100,000 salary in Memphis amounted to $86,444 in adjusted take-home pay, according to SmartAsset’s calculus.

The cost-of-living calculations take into account the local cost of “housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneous goods and services” as of fall 2022, the site notes.

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