Special Report

Metro Areas Where Families Pay the Least for Housing

Methodology

To determine the metro areas with the lowest housing costs for a family of four, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Economic Policy Institute’s 2022 Family Budget Calculator.

In the Family Budget Calculator, the EPI estimates the housing costs for families to maintain a modest yet adequate standard of living. The budgets are created for 10 family types for U.S. counties and metro areas. A family of four is defined by the EPI as a married couple living with their two children, and the two children are assumed to be a four-year-old and an eight-year-old.

We used the 384 metropolitan statistical areas as delineated by the United States Office of Management and Budget and used by the Census Bureau as our definition of metro areas.

Metros were ranked based on the EPI’s annual housing cost estimates. Ties were broken by using five-year estimates of median gross rent from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey, with lower rents ranked higher. 

Additional information on median family income, homeownership rate, and median home value are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. Because the Census Bureau did not release one-year estimates for 2020 due to data collection issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, all ACS data are five-year estimates.

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