Los Angeles is a city of billionaires with priceless views and immigrants who barely have enough to eat. Sometimes if feels like there's not a lot in between. We're a microcosm of an America that is increasingly a nation of haves and have-nots.
To hammer that point home, take a look at the August issue of Esquire magazine (not online), which crunches U.S. Census numbers and economic data to come up with figures to answer the question, "What does it take to make it?"
You can probably guess which metropolis came in first place. It wasn't New York. It wasn't San Francisco.
No, according to Esquire's data, L.A. has the highest price of success:
$350,000 (a year) is the magic number. New York and San Francisco tied for second at $300,000. All of the above, by the way, would put you in the top 1 percent of income earners nationwide.
You want to live like a king for the least amount of money? Albuquerque is your town: $80,000 annually will get you there.
Esquire says it looked at what it takes to live well in 24 American cities. So what does 350 large buy you in Los Angeles?
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According to the magazine this is ...
... enough money for a family of four to live very well: nice house, vacations, private schools if need be, better-than-average cars, entertainment, etc.
Guess a lot of us aren't really living well then, are we? Or, perhaps, our weather and pretty people make L.A. living the good life at any cost?