# Cities Where the Average Salary Isn’t Enough To Get By

Some cities will leave way more cash in your wallet than others.The old adage about the three most important things in real estate — location, location, location — speaks to how there’s more to where you live than just geography. From the size of your paycheck to how much your groceries will cost, your location can heavily influence many important aspects of your life.

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In some cases, your home city might provide you with a lot more disposable income to save or invest after paying all of your bills. In other cases, where you live is possibly one of the main reasons why it feels like you’re fighting a losing battle with your budget every month.

That’s why GOBankingRates conducted a study to find out where residents are getting a deal on the cost of living and where Americans are regularly forced to dig themselves out of a financial hole.

To see the regional differences in how much of the typical paycheck is left over after covering costs, the study took the 50 of the most populated U.S. cities according to the United States Census Bureau and compared the average salary with the annual cost of necessities like housing, groceries, healthcare, utilities and transportation. Residents in Miami, Florida had the greatest deficit, while residents of Arlington, Texas had the greatest surplus.

*Last updated: July 20, 2021*

## 1. Miami, Florida

**Median income for a single person:**$28,884**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$1,303**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$15,638**Annual grocery cost:**$3,557**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,510.36**Annual utility cost:**$3,039.77**Annual transportation cost:**$5,482.33**Total annual cost of necessities:**$31,227

**Income left over after necessities:** -$2,343**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** -8.11%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $62,455

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## 2. Detroit, Michigan

**Median income for a single person:**$222,275**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$663**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$7,950**Annual grocery cost:**$2,950.35**Annual healthcare cost:**$2,995.18**Annual utility cost:**$2,855.15**Annual transportation cost:**$6,764.70**Total annual cost of necessities:**$23,515

**Income left over after necessities:** $1,240**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** -5.57%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $47,031

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## 3. New Orleans, Louisiana

**Median income for a single person:**$27,939**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$946**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$11,350**Annual grocery cost:**$3,288.48**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,027**Annual utility cost:**$2,778.76**Annual transportation cost:**$5,027.05**Total annual cost of necessities:**$25,471

**Income left over after necessities:** $2,468**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 8.83%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $50,943

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## 4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

**Median income for a single person:**$32,433**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$1,004**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$12,046**Annual grocery cost:**$3,397.88**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,496.15**Annual utility cost:**$3,428.09**Annual transportation cost:**$5,383.69**Total annual cost of necessities:**$27,752

**Income left over after necessities:** $4,681**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 14.43%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $55,504

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## 5. Memphis, Tennessee

**Median income for a single person:**$29,232**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$864**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$10,372**Annual grocery cost:**$3,092.90**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,496.15**Annual utility cost:**$3,065.23**Annual transportation cost:**$3,585.33**Total annual cost of necessities:**$23,612

**Income left over after necessities:** $5,620**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 19.23%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $47,223

## 6. Fresno, California

**Median income for a single person:**$31,995**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$1,021**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$12,246**Annual grocery cost:**$3,288.48**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,219.02**Annual utility cost:**$3,577.69**Annual transportation cost:**$3,858.50**Total annual cost of necessities:**$26,190

**Income left over after necessities:** $5,805**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 18.14%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $44,351

## 7. El Paso, Texas

**Median income for a single person:**$28,568**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$789**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$9,468**Annual grocery cost:**$3,049.80**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,080.45**Annual utility cost:**$3,090.69**Annual transportation cost:**$3,486.69**Total annual cost of necessities:**$22,176

**Income left over after necessities:** $6,392**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 22.38%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $44,351

## 8. Tucson, Arizona

**Median income for a single person:**$30,462**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$853**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$10,238**Annual grocery cost:**$3,165.83**Annual healthcare cost:**$2,895.70**Annual utility cost:**$3,163.90**Annual transportation cost:**$3,665**Total annual cost of necessities:**$23,128

**Income left over after necessities:** $7,334**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 24.07%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $46,257

## 9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

**Median income for a single person:**$31,298**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$763**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$9,152**Annual grocery cost:**$3,079.64**Annual healthcare cost:**3,688.01**Annual utility cost:**$3,221.20**Annual transportation cost:**$3,873.67**Total annual cost of necessities:**$23,015

**Income left over after necessities:** $8,283**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 26.47%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $46,029

## 10. New York, New York

**Median income for a single person:**$48,091**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$1,613**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$19,360**Annual grocery cost:**$3,865.29**Annual healthcare cost:**$4,000.68**Annual utility cost:**$4,790.42**Annual transportation cost:**$6,870.93**Total annual cost of necessities:**$38,887

**Income left over after necessities:** $9,204**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 19.14%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $77,775

## 11. Las Vegas, Nevada

**Median income for a single person:**$36,222**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$961**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$11,530**Annual grocery cost:**$3,391.25**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,279.42**Annual utility cost:**$3,265.76**Annual transportation cost:**$4,875.29**Total annual cost of necessities:**$26,342

**Income left over after necessities:** $9,880**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 27.28%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $52,683

## 12. Tulsa, Oklahoma

**Median income for a single person:**$33,060**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$747**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$8,964**Annual grocery cost:**$3,145.94**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,890.54**Annual utility cost:**$3,042.95**Annual transportation cost:**$3,403.22**Total annual cost of necessities:**$22,447

**Income left over after necessities:** $10,613**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 32.10%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $44,893

## 13. Baltimore, Maryland

**Median income for a single person:**$37,046**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$976**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$11,710**Annual grocery cost:**$3,248.70**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,183.49**Annual utility cost:**$3,415.36**Annual transportation cost:**$4,719.74**Total annual cost of necessities:**$26,673

**Income left over after necessities:** $10,893**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 28.24%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $55,347

## 14. Mesa, Arizona

**Median income for a single person:**$38,566**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$1,139**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$13,664**Annual grocery cost:**$3,222.18**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,275.87**Annual utility cost:**$3,186.18**Annual transportation cost:**$4,325.16**Total annual cost of necessities:**$27,673

**Income left over after necessities:** $10,893**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 28.24%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $55,347

## 15. Witchita, Kansas

**Median income for a single person:**$32,025**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$639**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$7,668**Annual grocery cost:**$3,149.25**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,627.61**Annual utility cost:**$3,294**Annual transportation cost:**$3,050.38**Total annual cost of necessities:**$20,790

**Income left over after necessities:** $11,235**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 35.08%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $41,579

## 16. Indianapolis, Indiana

**Median income for a single person:**$33,929**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$844**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$10,132**Annual grocery cost:**$3,102.84**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,084**Annual utility cost:**$2,871.07**Annual transportation cost:**$3,444.95**Total annual cost of necessities:**$22,365

**Income left over after necessities:** $11,294**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 33.29%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $45,270

## 17. San Antonio, Texas

**Median income for a single person:**$35,587**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$921**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$11,056**Annual grocery cost:**$3,029.91**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,314.95**Annual utility cost:**$3,020.67**Annual transportation cost:**$3,767.44**Total annual cost of necessities:**$24,189

**Income left over after necessities:** $11,398**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 32.03%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $48,378

## 18. Jacksonville, Florida

**Median income for a single person:**$37,643**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$1,007**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$12,078**Annual grocery cost:**$3,288.48**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,449.96**Annual utility cost:**$3,272.12**Annual transportation cost:**$3,847.12**Total annual cost of necessities:**$25,936

**Income left over after necessities:** $11,707**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 31.10%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $51,871

## 19. Albuquerque, New Mexico

**Median income for a single person:**$34,500**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$851**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$10,210**Annual grocery cost:**$3,182.40**Annual healthcare cost:**$2,881.48**Annual utility cost:**$3,093.88**Annual transportation cost:**$3,915.41**Total annual cost of necessities:**$22,570

**Income left over after necessities:** $11,740**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 34.03%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $45,519

## 20. Louisville, Kentucky

**Median income for a single person:**$34,468**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$786**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$9,430**Annual grocery cost:**$3,215.55**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,055.58**Annual utility cost:**$2,953.82**Annual transportation cost:**$3,915.41**Total annual cost of necessities:**$22,570

**Income left over after necessities:** $11,898**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 34.52%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $45,141

## 21. Los Angeles, California

**Median income for a single person:**$46,419**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$1,542**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$18,506**Annual grocery cost:**$3,450.92**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,176.38**Annual utility cost:**$2,982.47**Annual transportation cost:**$6,217.48**Total annual cost of necessities:**$34,387

**Income left over after necessities:** $12,032**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 25.92%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $68,775

## 22. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

**Median income for a single person:**$37,207**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$821**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$9,848**Annual grocery cost:**$3,139.31**Annual healthcare cost:**$4,164.12**Annual utility cost:**$3,090.69**Annual transportation cost:**$3,623.27**Total annual cost of necessities:**$23,865

**Income left over after necessities:** $13,342**Percentage of income left over after necessities:** 35.86%

**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $47,731

## 23. Kansas City, Missouri

**Median income for a single person:**$38,091**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$937**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$11,246**Annual grocery cost:**$3,208.92**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,357.59**Annual utility cost:**$3,227.56**Annual transportation cost:**$3,365.28**Total annual cost of necessities:**$24,405**Income left over after necessities:**$13,686**Percentage of income left over after necessities:**35.93%**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $48,811

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## 24. Omaha, Nebraska

**Median income for a single person:**$38,176**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$827**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$9,920**Annual grocery cost:**$3,202.29**Annual healthcare cost:**$4,629.56**Annual utility cost:**$3,138.44**Annual transportation cost:**$3,099.70**Total annual cost of necessities:**$23,990**Income left over after necessities:**$14,186**Percentage of income left over after necessities:**37.16%**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $47,980

## 25. Arlington, Texas

**Median income for a single person:**$41,039**Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$1,034**Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment:**$12,410**Annual grocery cost:**$3,252.02**Annual healthcare cost:**$3,531.68**Annual utility cost:**$3,183**Annual transportation cost:**$4,347.92**Total annual cost of necessities:**$26,725**Income left over after necessities:**$14,314**Percentage of income left over after necessities:**37.16%**Salary needed to live “comfortably”**: $53,449

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*Joel Anderson contributed to the reporting for this article. *

*Methodology: GOBankingRates determined cities where the average salary isn’t enough to get by, by looking at 50 of the most populated cities according to the United States Census Bureau along these criteria: (1) Median Non-family Income from 2019 American Community Survey from the United States Census Bureau; (2) average monthly/annual rent for a one bedroom as sourced from ApartmentList’s 2021 data; (3) itemized cost of living index for groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous expenditure, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey 3rd quarter 2019 through 2nd quarter 2020 for a single person, which were adjusted to each city’s local cost of living, sourced from Sperling’s Best Places. Factors (2) and (3) were then combined to give each city a (4) total annual necessities cost, which was then subtracted from each city’s on-family median income to give each city (5) leftover income after necessities. All data was collected and is up to date as of July 12, 2021.*

*The United states Census Bureau defines a nonfamily household as “a householder living alone (a one-person household) or where the householder shares the home exclusively with people to whom he/she is not related.”*

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