It's not surprising to learn that the cost of living in major cities is high. The weather and job market determine where people choose to live, and it isn't always easy to tell where the price tag will fall. Using a living wage calculator can help you calculate the cost of living in your city.
When you consider the cost of living in a particular city, you should also take into account what you spend on taxes. State and local taxes can have a serious effect on your budget, and they can also play a role in determining your quality of life. You'll want to work with a personal finance expert to determine how much you're paying in taxes and find ways to reduce them.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has a Family Budget Calculator that helps families determine how much they should earn to cover the costs of living in 611 metro areas. This tool compares housing, food, child care, and other expenses. For example, it estimates how much you'd need to make to pay for a two-bedroom apartment in Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn. Similarly, it calculates how much you'd need to spend on a family of four in New York.
Other factors that play a part in the cost of living in a particular city include the economy, unemployment rate, and taxation. You'll be surprised at how different the costs are in some regions compared to others. If you can't afford the housing and transportation of your city, you may want to consider moving to a more affordable area. While you're at it, you can also save money on dining out and entertainment.
In the most expensive cities, housing is a major driver. Depending on where you live, a two-bedroom apartment can cost as little as $1,614 a month in California and up to $5,874 in New York. That's not cheap, especially when you consider the cost of housing in California and NYC is more than twice the national average.
Another reason for the high cost of living in major cities is taxes. Some states levy high income taxes. Others don't have sales taxes. Additionally, you can expect to pay more for health care and other necessities. Many cities have a higher rate of uninsured residents.
One of the cost-of-living tests is the Council for Community and Economic Research's (CCER) Cost of Living Index. The index is a comparison of the prices of goods and services from various locations. For instance, Hawaii has one of the highest cost-of-living indexes in the country. Meanwhile, Hawaii has the cheapest poverty rate in the country.
Other factors that can help determine a city's cost of living are the availability of jobs and amenities. A bustling manufacturing sector, and the famous movie industry, can all help drive up the cost of living in Los Angeles.
However, a city's cost of living may be more a function of the tax system than its overall cost. Thankfully, some of these states have tax-friendly measures to make the financial decision a bit easier.