In recent years the cost of living has skyrocketed throughout the United States.
A map infographic created by How Much (below) shows just how much it costs to live in different cities around the U.S. – and how that compares to someone of the working class.
The criteria they used to define “working class” included a family of 2 adults and 2 children.
The jobs used for income estimates were home appliance repairers, and manicurists and pedicurists. Rent was determined for a home of 1500 square feet. Food budgets were considered a “low-cost food plan.”
On the map, each of the bubbles represents a city – and color corresponds to the amount of money a working-class family would have left over at the end of the year after things like
- And transportation costs.
Red bubbles are for areas where the cost of living would exceed the income generated by a working-class American. Green bubbles are the places where they would be able to make it through the year without debt.
The data for the map was gathered using the “True Cost of Living Tool” on the How Much website – which uses sources like
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for income levels,
- The National Bureau of Economic Research, for tax data,
- And the National Department of Agriculture, for the cost of food.
Most Affordable vs. Most Expensive Cities in the U.S.
According to How Much, the top five cities that were affordable for working-class Americans were:
- Forth Worth, TX
- Newark, NJ
- Glendale, AZ
- Gilbert, AZ
- Mesa, AZ
Compared to the cities that were the most expensive, which included:
- New York, NY
- San Francisco, CA
- Boston, MA
- Washington, DC
- Philadelphia, PA
In the most affordable city – Fort Worth, TX – the defined-as-above working-class American would have roughly $10,447 left over at the end of the year.
In the most expensive city – New York, NY – the working-class American would be in debt roughly $103,424 just to meet the cost of living.
While not all the places in the red were so extreme, any place in red is where a working-class American would have to go in debt to afford to live.
Hurting or Helping the Working Class?
With politicians often campaigning on claims of improving the lives of working class Americans, there is serious debate over the best ways to accomplish that goal.
Most efforts are focused on creating jobs, raising the minimum wage, tax cuts, subsidized housing, and those for-or-against universal healthcare. Some even suggest universal basic income to improve the working class.
The Daily Business News has often reported on these issues and why many of these efforts – like raising the minimum wage, universal healthcare and basic income – upon examination of data, will not be sustainable ways to improve the lives of Americans.
On the other hand, the MHProNews has also pointed out when solutions like job creation and tax cuts would likely benefit the economy in the long run. It did so under both Democratic President John F. Kennedy, and Republican President Ronald Reagan.
How the Manufactured Housing Industry Can Make a Difference
Using the “True Cost of Living” tool from How Much, housing costs – including rent and utilities – makes up the majority of the cost of living in almost every instance.
The cost of living could be lowered with reduced housing costs. This would make more expensive areas become more affordable for the working-class American.
It is because manufactured housing offers quality housing at a fraction of the cost of a site-built home – that cities like Des Moines, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois, and companies like Google are using manufactured and modular building methods to cut costs.
Affordable housing options would benefit millions of working-class citizens all over the country. Manufactured housing offers an alternative path to the “American Dream” that is constantly overlooked. ## (News, Analysis.)
(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)
Submitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.