November 28, 2022

Product managerTrismegist san / Shutterstock.com

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on How to Home.

Over the last two years, U.S. workers have contended with one of the most unusual economic environments in memory.

On one hand, persistent tightness in the labor market has provided greater opportunity and wage growth for many workers. The unemployment rate today sits at just 3.7%, but the economy nonetheless continues to add hundreds of thousands of jobs each month.

In efforts to recruit and retain workers in this environment, many employers have been boosting wages, especially for lower-earning workers.

But the highest levels of inflation in decades have eaten into workers’ gains. Year-over-year increases in the Consumer Price Index have topped 5% for every month since May 2021, peaking at 9.1% in June 2022. And many of the categories where costs have risen fastest are necessities that take up a large portion of household budgets, like shelter and groceries.

To determine the affordable metropolitan areas with the most six-figure jobs, researchers at HowtoHome.com calculated places with the greatest share of employees in occupations where the median wage is over $100,000 and the cost of living is below the national average using data from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Read more about our methodology at the end.

Here are the affordable U.S. metropolitan areas with the most six-figure jobs.

15. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

Tampa waterfront homes with boats.Peter Titmuss / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 4.6%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 59,620
Total employees across all occupations: 1,289,900
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $119,365
Cost of living (compared to average): -0.9%

14. Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon UniversityJay Yuan / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 4.8%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 49,550
Total employees across all occupations: 1,043,000
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $122,515
Cost of living (compared to average): -4.3%

13. Kansas City, MO-KS

Topeka, KansasJacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 5.1%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 52,030
Total employees across all occupations: 1,016,160
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $122,480
Cost of living (compared to average): -5.3%

12. Rochester, NY

Autumn leaves in Rochester, New YorkNewSaetiew / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 5.2%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 24,310
Total employees across all occupations: 471,020
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $126,099
Cost of living (compared to average): -1.7%

11. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

Cleveland, OhioRudy Balasko / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 5.2%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 49,820
Total employees across all occupations: 963,990
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $124,335
Cost of living (compared to average): -7.0%

10. Columbus, OH

Columbus Ohiof11photo / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 5.3%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 54,330
Total employees across all occupations: 1,022,310
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $123,782
Cost of living (compared to average): -5.8%

9. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

Cincinnati OhioBryan Busovicki / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 5.7%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 58,680
Total employees across all occupations: 1,023,830
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $124,417
Cost of living (compared to average): -6.5%

8. Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City, Utahf11photo / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 6.1%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 45,530
Total employees across all occupations: 743,170
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $124,524
Cost of living (compared to average): -2.3%

7. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI

Milwaukee, WisconsinRudy Balasko / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 6.5%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 50,910
Total employees across all occupations: 786,640
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $121,877
Cost of living (compared to average): -4.1%

6. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN

Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 7.3%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 71,600
Total employees across all occupations: 976,900
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $127,707
Cost of living (compared to average): -3.0%

5. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

Atlanta, Georgia, Piedmont Park skyline autumnSean Pavone / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 7.7%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 200,060
Total employees across all occupations: 2,587,890
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $120,481
Cost of living (compared to average): -1.8%

4. Richmond, VA

Richmond, CaliforniaSundry Photography / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 8.0%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 49,400
Total employees across all occupations: 617,020
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $125,655
Cost of living (compared to average): -4.6%

3. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

Wayne County MichiganSean Pavone / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 8.7%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 156,000
Total employees across all occupations: 1,801,530
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $120,756
Cost of living (compared to average): -2.9%

2. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

Charlotte North CarolinaKevin Ruck / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 11.7%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 141,090
Total employees across all occupations: 1,209,890
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $124,459
Cost of living (compared to average): -5.4%

1. Raleigh-Cary, NC

Raleigh, North CarolinaSharkshock / Shutterstock.comShare of employees in $100K+ occupations: 11.8%
Total employees in $100K+ occupations: 74,860
Total employees across all occupations: 633,260
Average wage for employees in $100K+ occupations: $122,832
Cost of living (compared to average): -4.3%

Methodology

Man analyzing data on a laptopfizkes / Shutterstock.com

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Regional Price Parities.

To determine the affordable metropolitan areas with the most six-figure jobs, researchers at HowtoHome.com calculated a location’s share of employees in occupations where the median wage is over $100,000 and the cost of living is below the national average.

In the event of a tie, the location with the greater total number of employees in occupations where the median wage is over $100,000 was ranked higher. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included.