How much is a $100K salary worth in the DC region?

Hitting a six-figure salary is quite achievement for many people. When you consider the high cost of living and inflation, it doesn’t go as far as you think — at least not in the D.C. area.

According to a report released by SmartAsset, 51% of U.S. employees making at least a $100,000 per year reported living paycheck-to-paycheck in December 2022 — that’s a 7% jump compared to the year prior.

The report by SmartAsset ranks U.S. cities by the real-world value of a $100,000 salary after taxes and considers cost of living adjustments for that area.

The biggest disparity between cities when ranking paycheck value is the cost of living. The cost of living includes “the price of housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneous goods and services,” according to the report.

For our area, Arlington, Virginia, comes in at number 66 (out of 76 listed) where the purchasing power of that salary is roughly $49,989.

In D.C., which is ranked near the bottom at 73, that value drops to about $44,000.

By comparison, the city of Memphis, Tennessee, was ranked number one, with the real-world value of a $100K salary being about $86,000.

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Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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