Then, please take a look at detail of ACCRA Cost of Living Index (COLI)http://www.houstontx.gov/
Therefore, I pay special attentions to housing cost by checking out website such as:
Then 2nd largest factors you should look at the tax. If you make $100K+, you have to pay approx. 10% on state tax in high cost states such as California and New York. And, on top of it, because of progressive tax system, you end up paying more on federal income tax if you move to high cost (but high salary state such as CA/NY.
Lastly, I find below link very useful on studying COL.
- Kiplinger's ranking of cost of living by 367 metropolitan area. You can also compare with creative class workforce, median household income and income growth.
- Portfolio's 2010 Quality of Life: Major Markets. You can study the cities by 20 different criterias!