An annual salary of $100,000 sounds like quite a lot of money, particularly when the average U.S. salary is $53,490 per year. However, it is relative depending on your purchasing power. While San Francisco, for example, offers its residents a thriving arts and culture scene, glorious climate, an outdoor lifestyle, and world class restaurants, living in this California city comes with a significant price tag. Typical rents exceed $4,500, the average price of homes is $1.3 million, and to live comfortably, it is said you would need to earn $230,000, making it one of the least desirable places to live on a $100K salary. 

LEARN MORE: Here is the income needed to live comfortably in Phoenix

DEEPER DIVE: The 150 least desirable places to live on $100K salary

So would living in some of America’s most aspirational locations stack up if you were on a six-figure salary? Or would you prefer to live somewhere cheaper where, even if it offered less lifestyle options, you could get more bang for your buck? It’s a question real time coupon and deals discovery site, CouponBirds, sought to answer, by surveying 3,000 respondents (via QuestionPro) and asking them a hypothetical question: 

Which of America’s 150 most expensive cities would you least like to live in, if earning a salary of $100,000?
Palm Beach, Florida, emerged as the least desirable city to live in when earning ‘just’ $100k. It appears that you have to have a Trump-style income to live here (his home, Mar Y Lago, is here), but $100k just won’t cut it, thanks to its exclusive location, the high cost of real estate, high cost of goods and services, and high property taxes. It has more than the average share of luxury condos and homes, as well as plenty of upscale restaurants and retail outlets. And because the city has invested well in public services and amenities, to keep it looking pristine, the cost of living is higher here too. Suddenly that new salary doesn’t seem as impressive…

The second least desirable city was wonderful Wailea in Hawaii. Set on the dreamy island of Maui, it’s where tourists and retirees alike flock for sunshine, sunsets, and giant tiki cocktails. Two factors make it particularly pricey – firstly, everything has to be imported, which makes goods and services more expensive, and secondly there is a limited supply of housing available. In addition, the cost of utilities, transportation and other necessities are generally higher in Hawaii than anywhere else in the US.

In 13th position came Cave Creek in Arizona. The town is situated in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert and offers breathtaking natural beauty, a mild climate, and a laid-back lifestyle. However, the cost of housing in Cave Creek is significantly higher than the national average, and the town has a high median household income. Additionally, the cost of healthcare, groceries, transportation, and utilities are all above the national average. With its upscale shops, fine dining restaurants, and exclusive golf clubs, Cave Creek attracts wealthy residents and visitors, contributing to its reputation as an expensive place to live.

Paradise Valley was voted in at 71st position of most undesirable places to live on six-figures. One reason for the high cost of living in Paradise Valley is the demand for luxury homes. The town is known for its upscale, gated communities, with properties featuring amenities such as tennis courts, golf courses, and mountain views. As a result, the median home value in Paradise Valley is around $2 million, which is significantly higher than the national average.

And Scottsdale came in 73rd among least desirable places to live on $100K salary. Scottsdale is a popular tourist destination and a desirable place to live, with beautiful desert scenery, warm weather, and plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities.