The recent tax cut has been in effect for several months now, and the US Congress might, in fact, make it permanent beyond 2025. Republicans would argue that the tax cut should never be allowed to lapse so that businesses can have confidence in their rates. What about average workers? Total take-home pay actually depends to a great degree on where people live.
We created our map by first taking the largest city in each state, and calculating the total tax burden associated with living there according to SmartAsset. We wanted to keep things simple, so we used $100,000 as a baseline annual salary. $100k comes out to $8,333 in monthly net income, from which we subtracted state and local income taxes for each city, if applicable. We also subtracted tax levies that apply equally to everyone, like the federal income tax and FICA. The size and color of each circle correspond to total take-home pay after taxes. This lets you easily see where an upper-middle-class professional salary goes the furthest, and which places have comparably high tax burdens.
Here are the ten cities where workers earning $100,000 a year end up with the lowest take-home pay each month.
1. New York City, NY: $5,574
2. Portland, OR: $5,663
3. Louisville, KY: $5,691
4. Baltimore, MD: $5,701
5. Honolulu, HI: $5,726
6. Philadelphia, PA: $5,746
7. Los Angeles, CA: $5,752
8. Boise, ID: $5,772
9. Wilmington, DE: $5,791
10. Detroit, MI: $5,797
Our map reveals a few key things about the total tax burden facing Americans living in large cities. First of all, there are lots of small circles scattered throughout the Midwest and South, indicating that it’s not just coastal cities with comparably high tax burdens. Granted, the heaviest burden falls to New Yorkers, where workers earning $100,000 a year only keep $5,574 each month, but Louisville, KY isn’t too far off at $5,691. From Boise, ID to Detroit, MI and Little Rock, AR to Billings, MT, many landlocked cities nowhere near the coasts have substantial local taxes.
What’s the best place to live if you’re only interested in keeping as much money as possible? Luckily, there are several cities with zero local and state taxes, and you don’t necessarily have to move to Wyoming or Alaska to find them. Cheyenne, WY or Anchorage, AK are perfectly fine places to live (and quite beautiful), but there are other diverse cities with low taxes too, such as Houston, TX and Seattle, WA. You can keep a full $6,329 in take-home pay each month in the largest cities in 9 states.
Almost everybody loves the idea of keeping more of their own paycheck, even if they don’t realize the difference Trump’s tax cut made. Regardless of what polls say, our map proves that tax rates have more to do with location than what people often realize. Learn more about the geography of taxation in the US, how Trump’s tax plan affected workers (and especially the top 1% of earners).
Data: Table 1.1