Study shows that paychecks go further in Atlanta than in almost any other large metro. 
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Does your paycheck go further in Atlanta?

What matters isn’t the number on the paycheck, it’s how far it will stretch.

That is, when it comes to the actual purchasing power of your average metro paycheck, Atlanta does very well: Among large metros, we are number two.

An average paycheck goes further only in Detroit. 

That assessment depends on a comparison of the amount that people are paid and the cost of living. That means, some places with smaller paychecks let its workers buy an awful lot more than places where the pay looks better.

On paper.

For example, Atlanta’s average salary translates to $80,271 once its costs are figured in. New York, where workers on average are paid about 9 percent more, has an effective salary of just $69,295 a year, according to a study by Jed Kolko, chief economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, a project of Indeed, the online jobs site. 

Mix in the more modestly-sized metros and the best bang for the buck is in Birmingham, where a paycheck slightly smaller than Atlanta buys more, he calculated: Birmingham’s adjusted paycheck is $86,196.

The weakest paychecks are in Honolulu, where the average salary has an actual buying power of a mere $59,882, Kolko said.

After that, the cities toughest to make ends meet are Tucson, Miami, New York and Thousand Oaks, Calif., about 35 miles east of Los Angeles.


Where salaries go the furthest, among big metros: 

  1. Detroit
  2.  Atlanta
  3. Dallas
  4. San Francisco
  5. Chicago
  6. Phoenix
  7. Boston
  8. Seattle
  9. Riverside
  10. Houston 

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More economic news:

Metro Atlanta loses jobs in July 

Georgia jobless rate ticks down despite weak hiring  Jobless rate up in metro Atlanta

Mercedes offers job training as answer to worker shortage

Atlanta retail jobs under attack 

AJC Business reporter Michael E. Kanell keeps you updated on the latest news about jobs, housing and consumer issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on, including these stories:  

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In other Business news:

Looking to add some zeros to your paycheck? Some of the highest-paying companies are here in Georgia A.T. Kearney global management consulting firm has a clientele of over 2/3 of the Fortune Global 500 Median base salary: $143,620 In addition to a high salary, find the workplace benefits of Google right here in Midtown Atlanta Median base salary: $123,331 Known for developing and networking products, Juniper Networks has an office in Alpharetta Median base salary: $135,000 Global management consulting f

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