San Francisco topped the list of priciest cities
Aspiring U.S. city slickers, especially those without high incomes, should consider picturing themselves living in Texas, Kansas or Michigan.
Why? If you make less than $80,000 a year, you won’t be very comfortable in some of the most expensive U.S. cities. That’s according to new research Wednesday about the 50 most populated cities in the U.S., from the personal finance website GoBankingRates.com.
GoBankingRates also looked at how much people actually make in major cities to see where high costs are really challenging for the people who live there. The cities where people struggle the most are Miami, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif. The cities where people can afford to live comfortably easily: Virginia Beach, Va., Arlington, Texas, Colorado Springs, Colo., Albuquerque, N.M. and Austin, Texas.
GoBankingRates also found some bad news for many city dwellers: Almost 40% of the biggest U.S. cities see their citizens earning on average at least $10,000 less than they need to live comfortably.
GoBankingRates evaluated median income by city and compared it to how much money citizens need to cover their essentials, including rent, groceries, utilities, transportation and health care. It used the common “50-30-20” budgeting rule to determine what salary a person would need to live “comfortably” in each of the largest cities. Many personal finance experts suggest you should allot 50% of a budget to necessities including rent, 30% to discretionary items and 20% to saving.
If you want to live in San Francisco, the city the survey found as the most pricey, you’d better be making at least $110,357 a year, it found. San Jose followed at $87,153 per year, with New York close behind at $86,446 per year.
A separate survey from the real-estate and property data company Attom Data Solutions found that average renters in the Marin County/San Francisco metro area will spend over 77% of their salaries to pay rent in 2017. The median amount renters spend across the country is 38.6%, Attom found, although the traditional benchmark personal finance experts recommend spending is 30%.
You’ll need the least amount of money to live in El Paso, Texas: $40,393 per year. For young people looking to make at least that much, some of the best jobs are social science research assistants, coaches and scouts, adult education and literacy teachers, environmental science protection technicians and forensic science technicians, separate research from personal finance site Credit.com found.)
Detroit was also one of the least expensive large cities, requiring an annual income of $42,161 to live comfortably. The city’s downtown has seen growth since the recession, and home values in the city’s Midtown neighborhood have increased 5% since 2008, but home prices on average in the city have remained flat in recent years, according to data from the housing site Zillow.
Although wages have recovered since the recession, many Americans still struggle with debt. Housing-related debt is down nearly $1 trillion since its peak in 2008, but auto loan balances are $367 billion higher, and student loans are $671 billion higher.