Earning

Top 10 metro areas where millennials earn the biggest paychecks

Lance Lambert@newslambert
Twenty/20

One of the best ways to make more money is one you might have overlooked: It might be worth your while to move to a city that offers higher wages.

The median household income for people ages 25 to 44 is just under $66,000. But in a few of the highest-paying markets, that median can be a six-figure salary.

Young workers aren't averse to relocating: Millennials have moved on average once every 2.2 years of their adult life, according to a survey from home improvement job platform Porch. Almost two in three expect to move to either a different state or to a different city in their home state at some point in the next decade.

Here are America's top 10 highest paying metropolitan areas, based on our analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data of median household income for people aged 25 to 44. That includes most millennials, who are aged 21 to 38.

Metros where millennials make the most money

  1. San Jose, California
  2. San Francisco, California
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. Bridgeport, Connecticut
  7. Baltimore, Maryland
  8. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  9. Oxnard, California
  10. New York, New York

High salaries usually come with a high cost of living

While these metros pay really well, the cost of living there can be sky-high. San Jose offers the highest pay in America, but it also has the highest median list price for a big metro, at $1.1 million, according to Realtor.com. That's more than three times the national median of $315,000.

The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Jose is $2,650, while the national median is $1,485, according to Zillow.

"Ask yourself if you can afford to live in the places, because they are also some of the most expensive in the entire country," says Beth Hendler-Grunt, president of Next Great Step, an early career counseling firm based in New Jersey.

Tech jobs push up wages

Many of these cities are the top tech hubs in America. Uber and Twitter, among others, call San Francisco (No. 2) home. Seattle (No. 5) has Amazon. And San Jose (No. 1) is home to Silicon Valley.

"Make sure you have the skill set that is needed" to thrive in one of these cities, Hendler-Grunt says. To get the biggest financial return in the place you're moving to, it helps to have the desired skills. So computer engineers are best suited for those tech hubs. while New York makes perfect sense for someone in finance, advertising, or media. Same goes for government, think tank, lobbying, or nonprofit work in Washington D.C.

Graphic preview
Big paydays
Cities where young people make the most money tend to be in coastal areas with many tech jobs.
Median household income, people aged 25 to 44
Median household income, people age 25 to 44
Note: Data is for 2017. People aged 37 and over when the data was collected are considered part of Generation X.
kiersten schmidt/grow Census Bureau

There are some affordable high-paying cities

Yes, most of the top-ranked cities are expensive places to live. But there are a few exceptions. Workers in No. 8-ranked Minneapolis actually make a tad more than folks in the New York metro, which stretches into New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The median priced home in New York cost $549,100, compared to $372,700 in Minneapolis, according to Realtor.com.

Minneapolis benefits from being home to Fortune 500 companies like Target, Best Buy, and UnitedHealth Group — the fifth largest public company in America. And the Twin Cities metro area still retains some of that Midwestern affordability.

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