Three of the top 10 least affordable cities in America are in Texas: Plano, Dallas, and Austin, a recent report published by Move.org found. North Carolina also tied Texas for having three of the ten most unaffordable cities in the U.S.
The top ten least affordable cities to live in the U.S., according to the report, are Atlanta, Plano, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, Irvine, Raleigh, Dallas, Durham, and Orlando.
The most affordable are Bakersfield, California and Tucson, Arizona, followed by Fresno, Detroit, Cleveland, Stockton, Albuquerque, St. Louis, St. Paul and Newark.
The average minimum wage in the 75 cities analyzed is $10.40 an hour, and the average one-bedroom apartment rent is $1,040 per month. In most big cities, landlords require over 60% of monthly gross minimum wage income, excluding taxes, the report notes.
The analysis warns renters to be “wary of places with a current federal minimum of $7.25 per hour and high rent – they’re likely unaffordable. Unless you have some housemates who can help cover the bills, or you’re going to work multiple jobs, you may want to consider moving to a nearby surrounding city or town with lower costs.”
In order for minimum-wage earners to pay rent for a median-priced, one-bedroom apartment in Plano or Austin, they’d have to work more than 163 hours a month, excluding other costs of living like food.
Atlanta is the worst city to work and live as a minimum wage earner, the report found, noting that minimum wage earners would have to work over 177 hours a month to live in a single-bedroom apartment in Georgia’s capital.
Irvine, California, has the highest average rent of $2,026 a month. Despite its higher minimum wage pay, it’s still too expensive for low-income earners to rent, the report states.
Move.org analyzed the 75 most populous cities in the U.S. using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Economic Policy Institute. It ranked each city by how many hours it would take for a renter to afford the median one-bedroom apartment on minimum wage.
If the state/city’s minimum wage was under the federal minimum, the analysis used a $7.25 minimum wage as a baseline.
The rankings excluded costs like food, insurance, entertainment, and transportation. It also excluded crime data, unemployment rates, access to government services, or other secondary factors.
“Though cost of living and income levels both factor into how livable a city might be,” it states, the rankings “don’t necessarily reflect the overall quality of life for residents.”