The Minimum Salary You Need To Be Happy in the Biggest Cities

Alexandria Bova

Can money truly buy happiness? Turns out that it certainly can, according to a Purdue University study, which examined how much money people need to be happy and whether or not happiness rises as one’s income level increases. But there’s a catch.

The study argued that the optimal amount of money it takes to be happy varies worldwide. “That might be surprising as what we see on TV and what advertisers tell us we need would indicate that there is no ceiling when it comes to how much money is needed for happiness, but we now see there are some thresholds,” said Andrew T. Jebb, a doctoral student and the lead author of the Purdue University study, in a press release.

The research specifically sought to pinpoint the amount where money no longer changes your level of emotional well-being and “life evaluation.” Emotional well-being was measured according to a person’s day-to-day emotions, including happy, excited, sad and angry. Life evaluation was defined in terms of overall life satisfaction and was “likely more influenced by higher goals and comparisons to others.”

Using the Purdue study’s findings, GOBankingRates predicted how much money you would need to make to be happy in 50 of the biggest cities in America. The Purdue researchers determined that, globally, individuals would need an income of $60,000-$75,000 for emotional well-being and an income of $95,000 for life evaluation. The ideal income for life satisfaction in North America is $105,000, which was used as a benchmark for the “salary needed to be happy” category listed in this study.

Last updated: Nov. 8, 2019

Albuquerque, New Mexico

  • Salary you need to be happy$103,215
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $93,385
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $58,980-$73,725

Arlington, Texas

  • Salary you need to be happy: $114,345
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $103,455
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $65,340-$81,675

Atlanta

  • Salary you need to be happy: $121,170
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $109,630
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $69,240-$86,550

Austin, Texas

  • Salary you need to be happy: $136,500
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $123,500
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $78,000-$97,500

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Boston

  • Salary you need to be happy: $190,680
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $172,520
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $108,960-$136,200

Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Salary you need to be happy: $112,035
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $101,365
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $64,020-$80,025

Chicago

  • Salary you need to be happy: $123,690
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $111,910
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $70,680-$88,350

Cleveland

  • Salary you need to be happy: $80,955
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $73,245
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $46,260-$57,825

Colorado Springs, Colorado

  • Salary you need to be happy: $118,545
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $107,255
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $67,740-$84,675

Columbus, Ohio

  • Salary you need to be happy: $94,920
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $85,880
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $54,240-$67,800

Dallas

  • Salary you need to be happy: $113,085
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $102,315
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $64,620-$80,775

Denver

  • Salary you need to be happy: $151,410
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $136,990
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $86,520-$108,150

El Paso, Texas

  • Salary you need to be happy: $91,560
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $82,840
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $52,320-$65,400

Fort Worth, Texas

  • Salary you need to be happy: $112,665
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $101,935
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $64,380-$80,475

Fresno, California

  • Salary you need to be happy: $113,190
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $102,410
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $64,680-$80,850

Honolulu

  • Salary you need to be happy: $211,155
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $191,045
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $120,660-$150,825

Houston

  • Salary you need to be happy: $110,040
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $99,560
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $62,880-$78,600

Indianapolis

  • Salary you need to be happy: $92,295
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $83,505
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $52,740-$65,925

Jacksonville, Florida

  • Salary you need to be happy: $104,475
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $94,525
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $59,700-$74,625

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Kansas City, Missouri

  • Salary you need to be happy: $96,495
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $87,305
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $55,140-$68,925

Las Vegas

  • Salary you need to be happy: $126,105
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $114,095
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $72,060-$90,075

Long Beach, California

  • Salary you need to be happy: $188,055
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $170,145
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $107,460-$134,325

Los Angeles

  • Salary you need to be happy: $204,855
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $185,345
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $117,060-$146,325

Louisville, Kentucky

  • Salary you need to be happy: $101,115
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $91,485
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $57,780-$72,225

Memphis, Tennessee

  • Salary you need to be happy: $88,515
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $80,085
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $50,580-$63,225

Mesa, Arizona

  • Salary you need to be happy: $119,280
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $107,920
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $68,160-$85,200

Miami

  • Salary you need to be happy: $143,955
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $130,245
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $82,260-$102,825

Milwaukee

  • Salary you need to be happy: $94,500
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $85,500
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $54,000-$67,500

Minneapolis

  • Salary you need to be happy: $122,220
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $110,580
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $69,840-$87,300

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Nashville, Tennessee

  • Salary you need to be happy: $115,920
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $104,880
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $66,240-$82,800

New Orleans

  • Salary you need to be happy: $112,875
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $102,125
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $64,500-$80,625

New York

  • Salary you need to be happy: $219,765
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $198,835
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $125,580-$156,975

Oakland, California

  • Salary you need to be happy: $211,260
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $191,140
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $120,720-$150,900

Oklahoma City

  • Salary you need to be happy: $96,075
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $86,925
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $54,900-$68,625

Omaha, Nebraska

  • Salary you need to be happy: $99,645
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $90,155
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $56,940-$71,175

Orlando, Florida

  • Salary you need to be happy: $118,020
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $106,780
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $67,440-$84,300

Philadelphia

  • Salary you need to be happy: $116,340
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $105,260
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $66,480-$83,100

Phoenix

  • Salary you need to be happy: $119,070
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $107,730
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $68,040-$85,050

Portland, Oregon

  • Salary you need to be happy: $155,190
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $140,410
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $88,680-$110,850

Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Salary you need to be happy: $116,550
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $105,450
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $66,600-$83,250

Sacramento, California

  • Salary you need to be happy: $133,875
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $121,125
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $76,500-$95,625

San Antonio

  • Salary you need to be happy: $101,535
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $91,865
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $58,020-$72,525

San Diego

  • Salary you need to be happy: $186,375
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $168,625
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $106,500-$133,125

San Francisco

  • Salary you need to be happy: $319,935
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $289,465
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $182,820-$228,525

San Jose, California

  • Salary you need to be happy: $273,000
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $247,000
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $156,000-$195,000

Seattle

  • Salary you need to be happy: $214,200
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $193,800
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $122,400-$153,000

Tucson, Arizona

  • Salary you need to be happy: $104,370
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $94,430
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $59,640-$74,550

Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Salary you need to be happy: $94,080
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $85,120
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $53,760-$67,200

Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • Salary you need to be happy: $121,380
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $109,820
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $69,360-$86,700

Washington, D.C.

  • Salary you need to be happy: $182,595
  • Salary you need for life evaluation: $165,205
  • Salary you need for emotional well-being: $104,340-$130,425

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the cost-of-living-adjusted minimum salary needed to be “happy” based on various income satiation levels, identified by Purdue University researchers. Global income satiation levels are as follows: $60,000-$75,000 for “emotional well-being” and $95,000 for “life evaluation.” In North America, the income satiation level is $105,000 for life evaluation, according to Purdue, and this benchmark was used to determine the “salary you need to be happy” in the study. GOBankingRates factored in each city’s cost-of-living index, sourced from Sperling’s Best Places. Research was conducted and is accurate as of Oct. 24, 2019.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Minimum Salary You Need To Be Happy in the Biggest Cities