Philly Makes List of Places Where You Can Earn Six Figures and Still Be Broke

A new study ranks the country’s 100 largest metro areas to determine the best and worst places to make $100,000.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA downtown city skyline. Sean Pavone | iStock

A six-figure income definitely doesn’t work the same in every city, and a new study from price comparison and financial education website MagnifyMoney reveals the best and worst places to live on six figures.

The financial site ranked the country’s largest 100 metro areas based on the amount of disposable income six-figure earning families have after paying bills each month. If you’re a family making a combined gross income of $100,000 in Philadelphia, you’re far from living in the best city to earn six-figures, but you’re not in the worst place either. In the study, Philadelphia ranks as the 29th worst metro area to live on six figures.

To make the ranking, researchers created a hypothetical couple with one child that earns a combined gross income of $100,000. They then estimated monthly expenses, and tax obligations to determine what the family’s disposable income would be in various metro areas based on the average lifestyle of a six-figure earner in the corresponding metro area.

In Philadelphia, the hypothetical family would have $1,020 in disposable income remaining each month after paying bills. Not bad, but for comparison, in the best metro area to earn six figures — McAllen, Texas — the hypothetical family has $2,267 in disposable income each month.

The top 12 best metro areas and monthly disposable income after bills are:

  1. McAllen, Texas ($2,267)
  2. El Paso, Texas ($2,135)
  3. Chattanooga, Tennessee (2,048)
  4. Memphis, Tennessee ($1,970)
  5. Knoxville, Tennessee ($1,928)
  6. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida ($1,850)
  7. Jackson, Mississippi ($1,848)
  8. Youngstown, Pennsylvania ($1,817)
  9. Daytona Beach, Florida ($1,783)
  10. Toledo, Ohio, ($1,772)
  11. New Orleans, Louisiana ($1,758)
  12. San Antonio, Texas ($1,754)

The study notes that states without state income tax, like Texas, Tennessee and Florida, make the top of the list for best places to make six figures.

On the other end of the ranking, the places where you can earn six figures and still be broke show that Philadelphia is in decent standing.

The absolute worst place to make six figures is San Jose, California — the seat of Silicon Valley — where a joint income of $100,000 with a preschool-aged child means a couple would have to run up their credit cards $454 a month just to make monthly bills on the basics, according to the study.

And in the next five worst metro areas — Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Minneapolis; and Boston — couples also have to spend more than they earn each month.

Here are the top 12 worst places to make six figures and their monthly disposable income after bills:

  1. San Jose, California ($-454)
  2. Washington, D.C. ($-360)
  3. San Francisco, California ($-160)
  4. Bridgeport, Connecticut ($-98)
  5. Minneapolis, Minnesota ($-53)
  6. Boston, Massachusetts ($-31)
  7. Oxnard, California ($138)
  8. Honolulu, Hawaii ($140)
  9. Hartford, Connecticut ($479)
  10. New York ($505)
  11. Baltimore ($512)
  12. Portland ($538)

View the complete study here.