Saturday , 18 November 2017


Where the U.S. Working Class Can (and Can’t) Afford To Live

This post provides a visualization of data* from our new True Cost of Living Tool to illustrate how the living conditions of the working class stack up across the country. It’s kind of a big deal because it lets you drill down to a specific city and search through layers of relevant information to understand exactly how much money it takes to live in any given area.

This article is an edited ([ ]) and revised (…) synopsis by munKNEE.com of an article by Raul of howmuch.net to ensure a faster & easier read. It may be re-posted as long as it includes a hyperlink back to this revised version to avoid copyright infringement.

  • Each bubble represents a city.
  • The color corresponds to the amount of money a typical working-class family would have left over at the end of the year after paying for their living costs, like housing, food and transportation.
  • The darker the shade of red, the worse off you are.
  • The darker the shade of green, the better off you are.
  • The size of the bubble also fits on a sliding scale—large and dark red means the city is totally unaffordable.
  • Bigger dark green bubbles likewise indicate a city where the working class can get by.

The map tells us several things about the working class in America:

  • Of the ten most populous cities in the country, the only place where you can enjoy a decent standard of living without taking on debt is San Antonio.
  • Out of the top 50 largest cities, only 12 are considered affordable.
  • Newark, NJ, Chesapeake, VA and Jacksonville, FL are the only coastal locations where a worker can support his or her family.
  • There are exactly zero affordable cities on the West Coast.
  • Matter of fact, inexpensive locales tend to be far away from the coasts and can be found in the interior of the country. This is especially true in the southwest in states like Arizona and Texas.

Here are the top 5 cities for working class folks to live with the net surplus remaining after living expenses:

  1. Fort Worth, TX ($10,447)
  2. Newark, NJ (($10,154)
  3. Glendale, AZ ($10,120)
  4. Gilbert, AZ ($9,760)
  5. Mesa, AZ ($7,780)

The worst places for working class folks to live shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention to the affordable housing crises in New York and California.

Here are the five worst cities:

  1. New York, NY (-$91,184)
  2. San Francisco, CA (-$83,272)
  3. Boston, MA (-$61,900)
  4. Washington, DC (-$50,535)
  5. Philadelphia, PA (-$37,850)

You read that correctly. The typical working-class family would need an additional $91K+ per year in New York City just to break even on a reasonable standard of living.

Do you think a working-class family can comfortably live in your city? You might be surprised by the results. Enter your information in our True Cost of Living (TCL) Tool to find out.

*(We stitched together a variety of different reputable sources, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics for income levels, the National Bureau of Economic Research for tax data, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the cost of food. Basically, you can check our work.)

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