It Cost Over $300,000 for a Family of 4 to Live in These Cities

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in the United States in 2022 was $74,580, down 2.3% from the previous year. However, the figure is misleading because the amount people have to live on varies from state to state and city to city.

The state where median household income is the highest is Maryland, at $98,461. The lowest is Mississippi, at $52,985. Even the highest income must be higher to live comfortably in several cities, particularly for a family. (See the poorest town in each state.)

A new study from SmartAsset shows what it costs to live in 99 major cities. The analysis is based on a formula and a two-household income. That income is a necessity for a middle-class family residing in the most expensive of these metropolitan areas. The formula is 50% of the salaries for basic costs, which include housing, groceries, and transportation; 30% for items like entertainment and hobbies; and 20% to cover debt, saving, or investing.

For a family of four across the 99 metros, the income needed to support a family of four is $235,00, assuming two adults and two children. The figure rises to over $300,000 in six cities.

The two most expensive cities in America are the nation’s high-tech capitals. In San Francisco, the figure is $339,123, and for San Jose it is $334,547. The cost in nearby Oakland is $316,243.

Two of the cities are in the Northeast. Boston requires an income of $319,738, and the nation’s largest metro, New York City, requires an income of $318,406. Finally, the District of Columbia suburb of Arlington requires an income of $318,573.


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