The Census Bureau says the nation’s median household income is now $57,617. The bureau’s annual Consumer Expenditure Survey says we average $57,311 a year in spending. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of wiggle room.
That same report says wages are not keeping up with the cost of living. So as those costs rise around the country, the number of places a person can live affordably is dropping.
Major cities are still more expensive to live in than smaller ones but in most cities — large or small — we just aren’t making enough to cover costs.
Forbes Magazine took Census Bureau data and took a look at cities around the country and came up with 13 cities where you can still live fairly cheaply. Four of them — Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tucson, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada and Fresno, California — are PIA Western Alliance state cities.
One caution the magazine offers is that along with low cost of living comes a higher cost through crime. NeighborhoodScout says property crimes are rampant in most of these cities. Albuquerque and Tuscon are among them and report between 57 and 70 instances per 1,000 residents.
When it comes to violent crime, Detroit — the second cheapest to live city on the list — has 20 crimes per 1,000 which is one of the highest rates in the nation.
Las Vegas does much better. Property crimes there are down to 29.78 crimes per 1,000 residents.
Here is the list and the PIA Western Alliance state cities are in bold:
1. El Paso, Texas
• Cost of necessities: $25,075
• Income needed to live comfortably: $50,150
• Median income: $43,322
El Paso is military driven. Fort Bliss is one of the largest military complexes in the U.S.
2. Detroit, Michigan
• Cost of necessities: $26,050
• Income needed to live comfortably: $52,100
• Median income: $26,249
Not only does Detroit have a large auto production industry but it has a large number of biotechnology, nanotechnology and information technology companies.
3. Albuquerque, New Mexico
• Cost of necessities: $26,692
• Income needed to live comfortably: $55,384
• Median income: $48,127
Technology is a driver of Albuquerque’s economy. Several high tech firms and government entities are logged in the city. Many of the high tech companies contract with the federal government. Sandia National Laboratories is there as is Kirkland Air Force Base.
4. Wichita, Kansas
• Cost of necessities: $27,672
• Income needed to live comfortably: $55,345
• Median income: $46,775
Cessna, Beechcraft and other aviation companies have large workforces in Wichita.
5. Tucson, Arizona
• Cost of necessities: $27,689
• Income needed to live comfortably: $55,379
• Median income: $37,973
Tucson is a military city. The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center, Fort Huachuca and the University of Arizona are the major employers.
.6. Las Vegas, Nevada
• Cost of necessities: $28,304
• Income needed to live comfortably: $56,609
• Median income: $50,822
Gambling is the main industry in Sin City. It goes along with entertainment and shopping.
7. Louisville, Kentucky
• Cost of necessities: $28,643
• Income needed to live comfortably: $57,285
• Median income: $46,881
Louisville has the Kentucky Derby and is a major medical science center. Heart surgery and cancer research and treatment are economic focal points.
8. Memphis, Tennessee
• Cost of necessities: $28,716
• Income needed to live comfortably: $57,433
• Median income: $36,975
Cultural contributions abound in Memphis. It is also the home of FedEx, AutoZone and International Paper.
9. Tulsa, Oklahoma
• Cost of necessities: $28,993
• Income needed to live comfortably: $57,986
• Median income: $43,045
Oil used to be king. No more. The city has worked to diversify the economy and now houses industries associated with aerospace, technology and finance.
10. Indianapolis, Indiana
• Cost of necessities: $29,213
• Income needed to live comfortably: $58,426
• Median income: $43,101
Known mostly for its famous auto race, Indianapolis has diversified into education, health care and finance. It also has a large number of auto-oriented museums and galleries.
11. San Antonio, Texas
• Cost of necessities: $29,252
• Income needed to live comfortably: $58,504
• Median income: $48,183
Tourism is a major industry but the city also has a high military presence as well as eight universities.
12. Fresno, California
• Cost of necessities: $29,308
• Income needed to live comfortably: $58,616
• Median income: $41,842
Fresno’s main industry continues to be large-scale agriculture production.
13. Columbus, Ohio
• Cost of necessities: $29,487
• Income needed to live comfortably: $58,973
• Median income: $47,156
Columbus doesn’t have much industry but start-up businesses are easy to get going.
Source link: Forbes