With unemployment rates soaring, the days when you could be assured of finding a job in your preferred location are long gone. In these times of economic uncertainty, you may be forced to relocate, either to chase a new employment opportunity, or to reduce your living expenses. Before you do however, you’ll need to carefully weigh the balance between your earning potential and the cost of living in the city or region you are thinking of relocating to. The high cost of living in some states, particularly those on the east and west coasts is largely offset by the fact that there are more high-paying jobs. Of course there are other factors to consider when trying to improve your quality of life, like the weather and the ratio of cities to rural areas. But whether you can earn a solid living is probably the first thing you’ll need to know. The following map shows income trends by state and highlights some of the most and least affordable cities in the US based on some of the largest budget items for individuals and families.