Photographer: Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg

Forget Paris, France. You're Better Off in Paris, Texas

U.S. namesakes outperform European cities in income, employment and rental affordability

From "An American in Paris" to "Roman Holiday," European capitals hold a special place in the heart of Americans. It's where writers found their muse — Tennessee Williams in Rome, Ernest Hemingway in Paris and Henry Miller in Athens. The living was easy. Now, not so much.

Aspiring expats should check out "Paris, Texas," by German film-maker Wim Wenders, and ask if in today's economic climate the U.S. versions of Paris, Rome and Athens might just not make more sense. Compare and contrast the median household incomes, unemployment and median monthly rent in the storied cities with their less glamorous American namesakes, and make up your mind if a room with a view is worth it.

Your earning potential is best in Rome, upstate New York. Expect your paycheck to be about half in the Eternal City; la vita won't be so dolce there. The pattern holds for the other Paris and Athens. 

Now, where can you find gainful employment? Not in Athens, Greece, where almost 28 percent of the city is unemployed. Athens, Georgia gives you much better job prospects. Paris and Rome would be lucky to boast the joblessness in their Texan and New York counterparts. 

Lastly, rents. Here the city of Plato and Socrates has an advantage. A one-bedroom in the center of the city goes for less than 300 bucks. But if you want a view of the Eiffel Tower, it comes at a much heftier price.

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