Did you know it takes a salary of $90,244 to buy a home and “live comfortably” in Los Angeles? This, according to data compiled by Finder.com, which defines comfortable living as “the ability to purchase an average home (presuming a 20% deposit has been saved), the ability to cover average per-person expenditure and the ability to pay off annual non-mortgage related household debt.” This “comfortable” number varies depending on the source (Cheat Sheet, for example, adjusts income level based on $75,000 as the magic salary number) and doesn’t factor in a host of other issues that affect income, such as race, gender, education level, etc. But what is abundantly clear is that for many Americans, the rent or mortgage is too damn high. What’s the cost of living in your city, and what do you believe you need to live comfortably?
For the last several years, the city by the bay has ranked as the most expensive place to live in America. An average home in Frisco costs approximately $1.12 million, which means you’d have to make a salary of $180,600. The median cost of renting an apartment is $3,880 per month. The median price of a one bedroom apartment increased 57% during the span of four years (2011-2015). San Francisco is an expensive place to live any way you slice it.
Anyone looking for an apartment in New York City knows how difficult and costly that process is. According to Finder, if you’re looking to purchase a home and live comfortably in the Big Apple, you need to bring in $84,791 a year. Needless to say, this is an implausible reality for many, considering the economic disparity that exists.
The nation’s capital has significantly less Black residents today due in large part to redevelopment. So as long-time residents get pushed out to make way for a younger, Whiter population, they’re having a hard time earning $85,517 a year to afford median house prices, in addition to non-housing fees.
Chi-Town ranked well outside of the top 10 cities on Finder’s list, meaning the cost of living and living comfortably ($57,038) is much less expensive than fellow big cities like D.C. and New York.
Baltimore has an unemployment rate of 8.4% and a poverty rate of roughly 25%, which means that a significant portion of its residents are nowhere near living “comfortably,” or earning $54,913 a year, as Finder suggests.
Many Black folks, chiefly retirees and recent college grads, have moved to the South in recent years to purchase more affordable homes and face a cheaper cost of living, particularly in North Carolina where living comfortably means earning a salary of $52,583.
Columbus, Ohio is ranked 42 out of 78 cities on Finder’s living comfortably list, one step behind Raleigh. The ideal comfort zone salary for residents living here is $52,373.
To afford a $142,000 home in Houston, you need to bring in $50,568 a year.
According to Forbes, the cost of living in the ATL is 1.7% below the national average. That means people can put a little more money towards living comfortably, as long as they’re earning a salary of $51,551, according to Finder.
The poverty rate in Kansas City, Mo. is roughly 16%, which means that living “comfortably” and earning a salary of $50,308 is well beyond the means of thousands of individuals and families.