Study Reveals Striking Income Needed for Singles to Live Comfortably in Major U.S. Cities

Feature and Cover Study Reveals Striking Income Needed for Singles to Live Comfortably in Major U S Cities

Living comfortably as a single person in major U.S. metropolitan areas demands a substantial median income, averaging at $93,933, as per a recent analysis by SmartAsset. The term “comfortable” is defined within a 50/30/20 budget framework, which allocates 50% of monthly income to necessities such as housing and utilities, 30% for discretionary spending, and 20% for savings or investments. This analysis is based on extrapolations from the MIT Living Wage Calculator.

For the 25 U.S. cities with the highest cost of living, SmartAsset delineates the income requisite for comfortable living:

  1. New York City: $138,570
  2. San Jose, California: $136,739
  3. Irvine, California: $126,797
  4. Santa Ana, California: $126,797
  5. Boston: $124,966
  6. San Diego: $122,803
  7. Chula Vista, California: $122,803
  8. San Francisco: $119,558
  9. Seattle: $119,392
  10. Oakland, California: $118,768
  11. Arlington, Virginia: $117,686
  12. Newark, New Jersey: $116,646
  13. Jersey City, New Jersey: $116,646
  14. Long Beach, California: $114,691
  15. Anaheim, California: $114,691
  16. Honolulu: $111,904
  17. Los Angeles: $110,781
  18. Aurora, Colorado: $110,115
  19. Portland, Oregon: $110,032
  20. Riverside, California: $109,408
  21. Atlanta: $107,453
  22. Sacramento, California: $104,790
  23. Raleigh, North Carolina: $102,752
  24. Gilbert, Arizona: $102,752
  25. Glendale, Arizona: $102,752

New York City tops the list with a requirement of $138,570 for a single person to live comfortably, while Houston ranks the lowest among major U.S. cities examined, necessitating $75,088.

The analysis reveals that major coastal cities, including Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston, demand incomes exceeding $110,000 for single individuals to live comfortably. These cities are known for their high living costs, particularly in housing, as reported by The Council for Community and Economic Research.

California’s housing shortage exacerbates the situation, contributing to 11 of its cities being among the most expensive places to live, thus necessitating higher salaries. While employers in high-cost cities often offer above-average salaries to attract and retain talent, housing expenses can challenge the maintenance of a 50/30/20 budget.

In New York City, for instance, a third of residents allocate half their income to rent, according to the Community Service Society. Residents often adjust other aspects of their budgets, such as foregoing homeownership or reducing discretionary spending, to cope with high housing costs.

Living alone in large cities incurs what can be termed a significant “singles tax,” as individuals face elevated costs for necessities like food, shelter, and transportation.

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