For millions of Americans living in bustling cities, sharing the rent with roommates has become a necessary burden when it comes to affording an apartment.
However, for those aspiring to find their own place, relocation might be the key.
A recent study has assessed the best and worst cities in America for affording a studio apartment, and the results are striking.
New York City: The Most Challenging Place to Live Alone
New York City has earned the dubious distinction of being the most challenging city in which to afford a solo apartment.
With sky-high rents and average wages, the Big Apple requires residents to earn an astonishing $140,000 annually to comfortably afford a studio apartment.
Joining New York City on the list of the least affordable solo apartment locations are neighboring Jersey City and Miami, Florida, both of which share this distinction due to their high rental costs in relation to median wages.
The Midwest: A Haven for Affordable Solo Living
Contrastingly, the Midwest emerges as the winner in this study, with cities like St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Detroit offering the best value for money when it comes to solo living.
These cities provide a more reasonable cost of living compared to their coastal counterparts.
Rising Cost of Living in Major Cities
It’s no secret that the cost of living in major cities has skyrocketed in recent years.
According to financial services company Moody’s, the average portion of income spent on rent reached 30 percent last year, the highest it’s been in 25 years.
The study used median rent prices from the real estate platform Zumper and pay data from the American Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the affordability of America’s 100 largest cities.
Those spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent are considered ‘rent burdened,’ while anything less is considered a comfortable ‘affordable studio wage,’ based on median studio rental prices across the country in July 2023.
Understanding the Ratio
To assess the affordability, the study calculated the ratio of the median salary in each city to the salary needed to comfortably afford rent on a studio apartment.
Cities with a ratio over one are considered challenging for solo living, while those with a ratio under one indicate residents have some extra disposable income.
The Struggles of the Worst Solo Cities
The top ten worst cities for solo living include Boston, Miami, and Washington DC, where residents must earn significantly more than the national average to live alone.
Among the 100 cities studied, 57 required salaries exceeding the national average.
This includes Charlotte, North Carolina, which experienced rapid growth in 2022 but also witnessed rising living costs, resulting in a ratio of 0.72.
Affordable Solo Living in Unexpected Places
On the opposite end of the spectrum, renters in Lincoln, Nebraska, need to earn just $29,240 to afford their own place.
With median wages in the city being $15,690 higher, it ranks as the most affordable city in the study.
Other affordable cities include Wichita, Kansas, and Des Moines, Iowa, with ratios of 1.45 and 1.43, respectively.
Alternative Options in Expensive Cities
While cities like Los Angeles and New York City struggle with their high rents and cost of living, there are affordable options nearby.
In upstate New York, for example, it costs over $100,000 less to comfortably afford a studio apartment in the city of Rochester.
Similarly, residents of Bakersfield, located around two hours from LA, enjoy some of the lowest affordable studio wages on the West Coast at $42,000.
In conclusion, the choice of where to live alone in America greatly depends on one’s financial situation and priorities, with the Midwest offering more affordable options compared to the high costs of major coastal cities like New York City, Jersey City, and Miami.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn