A view of Washington’s Tidal Basin. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

For those trying to stretch their dollars, the Washington metro area ranks as the worst in the nation for a household earning six figures because of the region’s high cost of living.

D.C. and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs ranked No. 381 — out of 381 metro areas — in a report by Magnify Money called “The Best and Worst Cities to Live on Six Figures,” which looked at metro areas across the country where a family earns roughly $100,000 and still has a tough time making ends meet, given expenses.

Here’s a glance at the high-cost areas where households earning six figures could have the most difficult time making ends meet:


The study looked at a household with two adult incomes, one child and a gross annual income of $100,000, or about $8,333 per month. And it assumed a “reasonable budget for monthly expenses,” taking into account after-tax income to devise the rankings.

The report made big assumptions, including that households have some student debt, families save about 5 percent in personal savings and that they go out on occasion each month. The budget also includes such costs as housing, food, transportation and the whopper: child care.

Here’s another snapshot comparing households earning $100,000 in D.C. to Johnson City, Tenn., which came in first place because of its lower costs:


Some of the “key findings” in the study include:

  • D.C. area residents are about $315 in the red when it comes to income versus expenses, according to the study. It notes that it is “shockingly easy” for a household of people earning $100,000 to “live beyond their means” in the DMV, which it calls a “high-cost metro area.”
  • The biggest expenses for D.C.-area households are housing and child care, which consume 60 percent of the household budget, the report said.

  • Want the most bang for your buck? Go to Tennessee. Three of the top places for those making six figures are there.
  • The area with the most expensive spots is California. Nine out of the top 20 worst metro areas for those making six-figures are in California, including San Francisco and San Jose.

Here’s a look at the 10 best places to make ends meet with an annual household income of $100,000: