In One Chart: Here’s how much you need to make to be in the top half of earners in each U.S. city

A six-figure paycheck probably sounds like a lot of money to most people struggling to make ends meet across the U.S., but in the Bay Area, with its high-paying tech jobs and brutal cost of living, you’d have to make $110,040 to crack the top 50% of earners, according to U.S. Census figures.

In New Orleans and Memphis, you don’t even need to make $50,000 to move into the upper half.

So, how do your earnings stack up? Check out this “exploding pie” chart from cost-estimating website HowMuch.net:



HowMuch.net’s Raul Amoros used an oft-cited Princeton study to offer some perspective on these figures. He pointed out that, according to the researchers, $75,000 is the level, on average, of peak of money-induced fulfillment.

After that, the impact of rising income happiness levels off.

“The bad news is that only six cities surpass the threshold of $75,000 for maximizing personal happiness,” Amoros wrote. “Every other metro area falls somewhere below — sometimes not even half as much — as their more prosperous counterparts.”

Needless to say, that number varies dramatically depending on where you live. The man or woman earning $75,000 a year while trying to support a family in San Francisco probably has a different income figure in mind.

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