In my experience, it does.
I keep hearing about how salaries are lower where I live but that it’s OK because the cost of living is lower as well. I cry bullshit on that.
Granted, I’ve only lived in 3 different areas in my life, so this isn’t a huge sampling, but of the three, only one thing has really been different: housing costs.
I don’t get a discount on food because I live in an area where the salaries are lower. In fact, food where I live now (rural MI) is in many cases more expensive than when I lived in an urban area with more competition between grocery stores.
I don’t get a discount on gas. The pump price is the same here as everywhere else.
When I buy a car, they don’t give me the “Rural MI” discount. The MSRP is the same here as it is in California.
If I go on a trip, I pay the same amount as everyone else. In fact, I pay more for flights - not living near a major airport means flights cost more.
Housing costs are slightly cheaper. But not in the same percentage as salaries. FYI I make ~50% of what I did when I lived in a larger area. Housing, on the other hand, is more like 75-85%.
So is it ever anything other than housing costs?