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Richard Rider

Why other states’ tech cities will gradually eat our lunch

Want to see why people are fleeing CA for less expensive states — even some folks with full-time quality CA jobs?  This website is a good way of comparing cities’ COL across the nation.

Below I’ve compared a tech job paying $100K in San Diego with what is needed to be better off in tech-oriented Austin, Texas — where the COL is higher than almost all of the rest of the Lone Star State.

If you can make more than $66,739 in Austin, you’ll experience a superior standard of living than if you make $100K in San Diego.  Salaries in Austin are only 9.2% less than San Diego. Hence from a monetary standpoint, Texas beckons.

I might add that this comparison probably UNDERSTATES the effect of the CA state income tax — for upper middle income and the well-to-do.  Conversely it probably somewhat OVERstates the CA state income tax effect for people making less than about $80K per family.  That’s because such an analysis probably can’t deal with the progressive nature of state income tax rates — doubtless opting for an AVERAGE effect.

Comparison of cities of San Diego, CA and Austin, TX


Cost-of-Living Wizard
Results for your new location
net change in
disposable income
Cost of Living at Home Typical Salary at Work
Current Location San Diego, CA (Edit) San Diego, CA (Edit)
New Location Austin, TX (Edit) Austin, TX (Edit)
Percent Change in $ -33.3% -9.2%
Explanation The cost of living in Austin, TX is 33.3% lower than in San Diego,
CA . Therefore, you would have to earn a salary of $66,739 to maintain your current standard of living.
Employers in Austin, TX typically pay 9.2% less than employers in San Diego, CA. Therefore, if you take the same type of job in the same type of company in Austin, TX you are likely to earn $90,832.