Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Big Cities Are More Affordable than You Think

When comparing the cost of living in various cities, housing dominates the discussion. That's because housing is our biggest expense. In 2012, the average American household spent $16,000 on shelter and utilities—32 percent of the household budget.

But according to an analysis of HUD data by the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) of New York City, reported on in Better Cities and Towns, there is a second variable that should be included in the affordability equation: transportation, which is the the second biggest household expense. In 2012, the average household spent $9,000 on transportation—17 percent of the household budget.

Walkable cities with public transportation can be more affordable than sprawling cities where residents must devote a hefty portion of their budget to vehicles and gasoline. It turns out, New York City is affordable after all. The average New York City household spends only $5,752 annually on transportation—well below the national average. Long thought to be one of the most expensive places to live, the combined cost of housing and transportation in New York City is lower than in 13 of 22 cities examined by the CBC, including Miami, Atlanta, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin, and Jacksonville.

Source: Better Cities and Towns, Why San Francisco, New York and DC May Be More Affordable than You Thought

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