Supporting a family in America on a single income is becoming more and more difficult. Fortunately, there are some cities and states where costs remain low enough that a household with a single income can still live comfortably. With transportation and housing costs generally far below the national average, many cities in Texas remain havens for single-income households.
To determine which cities in Texas were the most affordable for single-income households, GOBankingRates sourced data from a number of sources. To qualify, cities first had to rank in the 50 most popular in Texas, as determined by the American Consumer Survey in the US Census.
Next, the cost of living in each city, as published by Sperling’s Best Places, was compared with data from the 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics national expenditure averages. Housing data was sourced from the Zillow Home Value index and the Federal Reserve Economic Data of St. Louis. Cities were ultimately ranked in reverse order based on total annual expenditures, from largest to smallest.
- Total Annual Expenditures: $36,328
Salaries in Longview are at about the middle of the road when it comes to the top 10 cities, at $53,854. Costs in basic categories like groceries, transportation, healthcare and utilities are all below the national average, but a relatively high median home price of $212,697 keeps the city from climbing higher in the rankings.
- Total Annual Expenditures: $36,181
Waco has the highest median home price of any city in the top 10, preventing it from ranking any higher due to its higher housing costs. However, with the exception of healthcare, which ticks in at just 1% above the national average, Waco has below-average expenses in all other key areas, from groceries and utilities to transportation. This garners Waco a spot in the top-10 list even though it sports the lowest median income of the bunch, at just $42,687.
- Total Annual Expenditures: $36,028
If not for healthcare costs running 16% above the national average, Lubbock could have scored higher in the ranking. Grocery expenses in the city are 8.1% below average, while transportation comes in 26.9% below national averages.
- Total Annual Expenditures: $35,664
Edinburg residents enjoy below-average expenses across all major daily living categories, with groceries, transportation and utilities all running about 9% to 12% below national averages. Even healthcare is 2.3% cheaper than the rest of the country, a rarity in most Texas cities.
6. San Angelo
- Total Annual Expenditures: $35,551
San Angelo has the highest median household income of any city ranking in the top 10, giving its residents extra breathing room when it comes to covering their expenses. The city could have ranked higher except that its healthcare expenses are 21.1% above the national average. The cost of utilities also runs a bit hot, coming in at 6.5% above the national average.
- Total Annual Expenditures: $34,947
Residents of Abilene have to shoulder higher-than-average expenses in healthcare and utilities, which run 16.6% and 5.5% above national averages. However, Abilene has incredibly low transportation costs — 31.5% below national norms.
- Total Annual Expenditures: $34,804
Average salaries in Amarillo are the second-highest in the top-10 ranking, at $55,174. This helps cover the added cost of healthcare in the city, which runs 1.6% above the national average. Other expenses remain low, however — especially transportation, which costs 25.1% less than in the rest of the country.
3. Wichita Falls
- Total Annual Expenditures: $33,585
Wichita Falls has the highest healthcare expenses of any city in the top 10. At an average annual cost of $7,044, Wichita Falls residents pay 29.2% more in healthcare on average than the rest of the nation. Utilities also run 10.1% over the national average. However, transportation costs are the lowest of any city in the top 10, at a whopping 34.2% below the national average. Combined with relatively low housing costs, Wichita Falls scores well enough to grab a No. 3 ranking.
- Total Annual Expenditures: $33,529
Brownsville could have snagged the top spot in this study except for the fact that its median wages remain relatively low; the $43,174 is the second-lowest in the top 10, making it harder for families to cover all of their expenses.
- Total Annual Expenditures: $32,225
One of the reasons that Beaumont took the top spot in this survey was that it has the lowest median home price of any city in the top 10, at just $142,703. In fact, that median home value is the lowest of any of the 50 cities surveyed in Texas. The city also has many lower-than-average expenses across the board, from healthcare and utilities to groceries and transportation.
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Methodology: In order to find the most affordable places in Texas for single-income families, GOBankingRates started by compiling a list of the 50 most popular Texas cities, sourced from the American Consumer Survey in the U.S. Census. GOBankingRates then sourced the cost-of-living indexes from Sperling’s Best Places for each city on the list. These indexes were multiplied by the national average in each category, as sourced from the 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics national expenditure averages. Housing data was sourced from Zillow Home Value Index data and the Federal Reserve Economic Data of St. Louis to find the national mortgage rate for 30-year mortgages. GOBankingRates was then able to calculate a yearly mortgage for each city, allowing all expenditure categories to be totaled and show the annual cost of living in each city. All information is up to date as of June 6, 2023.