It’s no surprise that people bring home a higher income in the Northeast every year than their counterparts in the South.

New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia are among the top 10 states where people earn the most. Residents bring home an average of $69,000 a year in D.C., while next-door neighbor Maryland is number one on the salary leader board with employees bringing home an average income of just over $74,000 a year. But before you get all excited about the East Coast's supposed wealth, remember that you also spend more of your paycheck just to live here.
The opposite is true in Florida, which falls toward the lower third of the pay scale. The average salary there is about $49,000 per year, making it less expensive than living in the North. Siri Terjesen, an associate professor at American University, in Washington, D.C., points out that the cost of living in, say, Tampa, is 41 percent cheaper than in D.C. The salaries in Tampa are also 12.8 percent less, she says, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That means that you actually get a little more bang for your buck in a city like Tampa as compared to Washington, D.C.,” Terjesen says.
And even though D.C. ranks high on the list of top-paying states, there are some occupations where it pays to work elsewhere. For instance, Terjsen says a surgeon in Akron, Ohio, makes about $249,300 -- roughly $7,000 more than a surgeon in D.C. According to statistics released by the Census Bureau on Thursday, Sept. 14, the median income in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area surged 9 percent from 2015 to $96,677 in 2016. The Bay Area now out-earns the Washington, D.C., metro area, which held the top spot among the country's 25 largest metro areas in the previous year.

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