Top 10 Standard Of Living Cities In The U.S.

Here's a 2011 USNWR table of interest:

Below are the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest adjusted median household incomes, as computed from 2009 median household income and cost of living data.

Metro Area COLI 2009 Median Household Income 2009 Adjusted Median Income 
Des Moines, Iowa 90.6 $56,576 $62,446
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. 138.6 85,168 61,449
Worcester, Mass. 103.7 63,360 61,099
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas 89.3 54,146 60,634
Ogden-Clearfield, Utah* 100 60,208 60,208
Colorado Springs, Colo. 92.3 55,176 59,779
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas 92.1 54,539 59,217
Madison, Wisc.* 96.2 56,709 58,949
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. 94.2 55,464 58,879
Raleigh-Cary, N.C. 101.3 59,316 58,555

The weather isn't great in Des Moines, but the scenery isn't quite as flat as I expected from Illinois. (Here's the Waveland golf course, for instance.)

D.C. is expensive, but the people who live there seem to be good decision makers about making money. It's almost like they know things we don't know, as if they have inside information.

Most of the rest of the list are the Dirt Gap usual suspects.

And here are the ten lowest standard of living metropolitan areas:
Metro Area COLI 2009 Median Household Income 2009 Adjusted Median Income 
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas 87.2 30,460 34,931
New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. 177.8 62,887 35,370
Modesto, Calif.* 136.6 48,716 35,663
Fresno, Calif. 120.1 45,661 38,019
El Paso, Texas 89.7 36,146 40,297
Honolulu, Hawaii 166.3 67,744 40,736
Springfield, Mass.* 119.8 49,177 41,049
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. 141.6 58,525 41,331
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. 109.8 45,946 41,845
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre, Pa.* 98.1 41,823 42,633

Now, I would argue that Honolulu, New York, Miami, and L.A., have other things going for them that aren't measured in these statistics (e.g., nice weather or attractive women). But what do McAllen, Modesto, and Fresno have going for them? Cheap chalupas?

The Worcester, MA v. Springfield, MA conundrum is a little strange. They are both very old manufacturing cities. Worcester is 48 miles west of downtown Boston, while Springfield is 91 miles west, so Worcester might be an exurb now with big city salaries, while Springfield is too far to commute to the Boston area, while Hartford 27 miles to the south is decaying. But I don't really know much about Massachusetts. Springfield is 1/3rd Puerto Rican, which doesn't help median income stats.