America's Finest City comes at a price for San Diegans - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

America's Finest City comes at a price for San Diegans

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A study released Thursday by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce quantified the so-called "San Diego discount," in which area residents generally receiver lower salaries while facing higher costs than peers in similar cities.

Among 10 cities studied by the chamber, San Diego ranked ninth in how far residents can stretch their median income to pay for housing, taxes and other necessities. The area's median income of nearly $51,500 ranked sixth.

The San Diego discount legend says that residents will put up with lower salaries and higher costs in order to enjoy the mild climate, beaches and scenic beauty.

"The measure of a region's affordability goes beyond just housing," said Jerry Sanders, chamber president and CEO.

"It's important to look at the whole picture of how far a person's income will go to support living in a certain area," Sanders said. "San Diego excels in many areas, but this dashboard reveals that overall affordability is an area that's holding back our economic potential."

Raleigh, North Carolina, has a lower average income than San Diego, but because the cost of living there is much lower, that income actually goes 45 percent further than in San Diego, according to the chamber. In San Francisco, where housing and other costs are substantially higher, it is actually more affordable than San Diego because incomes are higher.

The study released today was the second of three "dashboards" the chamber is compiling. The first, released last month, looked at the business and tax climate. The last will examine the local standard of living and is scheduled for release later this month.

Chamber officials plan to incorporate the data into a regional jobs strategy expected to come out in January.

The affordability dashboard showed that, compared with similar cities, local salaries for high-wage positions like management, computer and mathematical, architecture and engineering, and business and financial operations ranked relatively low.

San Diegans also faced the second highest income taxes and third highest property taxes among the study's metropolitan areas, which also included Austin, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.

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