The 25 US cities where a middle-class American salary goes furthest

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Midwest cities and capital cities are some of the best places to live in on the typical American salary — Des Moines, Iowa, is both. f11photo/Shutterstock
  • The median household in America earns $US55,000 a year, which can go far depending on where you live.
  • SmartAsset recently released a list of the best places to live on a $US55,000 salary.
  • Some of the best places to live on the typical American salary are located in the Midwest or are capital cities.

How far your paycheck can really go is often dependent on your geography.

A $US55,000 salary – what the median American family earns, according to SmartAsset, citing US Census Bureau data from the 2016 American Community Survey 5-year estimates – may not get you very far in a big city with a high cost of living like New York or San Francisco. But it could stretch for miles elsewhere.

SmartAsset recently released a list of the best places to live on $US55,000 a year. To determine this list, it found the cities with a median household income range of $US50,000 to $US60,000 – 126 cities, to be exact. It then ranked each city based on nine metrics with equal ranking, which it then averaged. This was the foundation for the final score.

Turns out, some of the best places to live on the typical American salary are located in the Midwest – four of the top 10 cities are located in this region. Capital cities also take up four of the top 10 spots; they have strong economies thanks to state government employment opportunities, according to SmartAsset.

Below, see the top 25 places to live in the US on the typical American salary.


25. Springdale, Arkansas

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Median household income: $US51,152Per cent of income spent on housing: 18.2%Average commute time: 20.1 minutes


24. New Braunfels, Texas

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Median household income: $US58,814Per cent of income spent on housing: 24.4%Average commute time: 23.6 minutes


23. St. George, Utah

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Median household income: $US54,210Per cent of income spent on housing: 21.2%Average commute time: 16.8 minutes


22. Parma, Ohio

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Median household income: $US54,588Per cent of income spent on housing: 18.5%Average commute time: 24.6 minutes


21. Metairie, Louisiana

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Median household income: $US58,947Per cent of income spent on housing: 20.9%Average commute time: 21.7 minutes


20. Portland, Maine

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Median household income: $US56,326Per cent of income spent on housing: 25.8%Average commute time: 18.9 minutes


19. Sparks, Nevada

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Median household income: $US58,961Per cent of income spent on housing: 25.2%Average commute time: 13 minutes


17 (TIE). Eau Claire, Wisconsin

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Median household income: $US52,355Per cent of income spent on housing: 18.7%Average commute time: 16 minutes


17 (TIE). Lexington, Kentucky

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Median household income: $US56,137Per cent of income spent on housing: 20.2%Average commute time: 20.8 minutes


16. Amarillo, Texas

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Median household income: $US51,263Per cent of income spent on housing: 19%Average commute time: 18.3 minutes


15. Reno, Nevada

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Median household income: $US57,125Per cent of income spent on housing: 22.1%Average commute time: 20.4 minutes


14. Asheville, North Carolina

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Median household income: $US50,184Per cent of income spent on housing: 23.6%Average commute time: 17.8 minutes


13. Des Moines, Iowa

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Median household income: $US51,355Per cent of income spent on housing: 19.8%Average commute time: 18.7 minutes


12. Wyoming, Michigan

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Median household income: $US56,774Per cent of income spent on housing: 18.6%Average commute time: 21.8 minutes


11. Sioux City, Iowa

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Median household income: $US53,332Per cent of income spent on housing: 16.3%Average commute time: 16.5 minutes


10. Omaha, Nebraska

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Median household income: $US56,406Per cent of income spent on housing: 21.6%Average commute time: 18.3 minutes


8 (TIE). Boise City, Idaho

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Median household income: $US55,943Per cent of income spent on housing: 20.7%Average commute time: 18.9 minutes


8 (TIE). Little Rock, Arkansas

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Median household income: $US57,534Per cent of income spent on housing: 20.2%Average commute time: 18.3 minutes


7. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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Median household income: $US56,096Per cent of income spent on housing: 19.1%Average commute time: 17.4 minutes


6. Cheektowaga, New York

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Median household income: $US53,502Per cent of income spent on housing: 18.4%Average commute time: 19.5 minutes


5. Lincoln, Nebraska

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Median household income: $US56,160Per cent of income spent on housing: 20.2%Average commute time: 19 minutes


4. Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Median household income: $US57,022Per cent of income spent on housing: 22.4%Average commute time: 18.7 minutes


3. Appleton, Wisconsin

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Median household income: $US58,374Per cent of income spent on housing: 19.8%Average commute time: 18.6 minutes


2. Billings, Montana

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Median household income: $US57,527Per cent of income spent on housing: 20.8%Average commute time: 15.2 minutes


1. Fargo, North Dakota

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Median household income: $US59,542Per cent of income spent on housing: 18.8%Average commute time: 14.9 minutes