Here is an interesting article over at Forbes about how far a paycheck stretches. As is typical for a study like this, they look at cost of living as well as wages. I think it just looks at metro areas (they don't say if they're using MSAs or not), so there's not comparison between metro/urban and more rural areas.
If you live in a metro area, how does it stack up? The Cincinnati area comes in at 7th on the list. When I moved up here 3 years ago, it was lateral from a pay perspective. When you factored in differences between housing costs, insurance costs, taxes and the like, our cost of living went down a bit. In other words, we could afford more house on what we were paying previously.
This puts a little rigor to the oft-held notion that even "rich" people are broke on the coasts. The one that surprised me though was where Silicon Valley ranked.
(Edited to add: Here's the link to more detailed information on the study, with pictures)
Update: According to the methodology discussion, they are using MSAs, and they looked at the top 51.