Millions of Americans live in far-flung suburbs and rural areas, thanks to the automobile, but that freedom comes at a cost. Rural households must devote a substantial 22.8 percent of their household budget to transportation. For urban households, the figure is a mere 16.5 percent.
Percent of household spending devoted to transportation
Urban households: 16.5%
Rural households: 22.8%
But there's a flip side to that equation. By living in remote locations, rural residents spend less on housing. In 2015, rural households devoted 26.8 percent of their spending to housing compared with a larger 33.4 percent for urban households.
Percent of household spending devoted to housing
Urban households: 33.4%
Rural households: 26.8%
Combined, rural households devote 49.6 percent of their average annual expenditures to housing and transportation. For urban residents, the figure is an almost identical 49.9 percent.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Urban and Rural Household Spending in 2015