Researchers calculated the most affordable cities in America by using the 50/30/20 ratio, in which half of a person’s income covers necessities, 30% goes toward discretionary items and 20% is for savings
Springfield, Missouri ranked first in the nation on affordability with a minimum income of $33,175.60 needed to live well in that state – thanks, in part, to a low median rent of $495 a month, according to a new report
El Paso, Texas ranked second on the list, with a needed income of just $34,692.56 – or $2,891.05 per month
Many Americans struggle to make ends meet, but for those willing to live outside of the nation’s largest cities it is possible to find a simpler way of life.
A new report by GoBankingRates has crunched the numbers to identify the top cities where it’s possible to live – comfortably – on less than $50,000 a year.
Researchers calculated their results by using the 50/30/20 ratio, in which half of a person’s income covers necessities, 30 percent goes toward discretionary items and 20 percent is for savings.
Experts and the personal finance site factored in the cost of rent, groceries, utilities, transportation and health care under the ‘necessities’ category and then doubled the cost for every city to obtain the total income needed for each.
Using that calculation, Springfield, Missouri ranked first in the nation on affordability, thanks in part to a low median rent of $495 a month.
The city requires an income of $33,175.60 – or $2,764.63 a month. However the median household income in Springfield is $29,563 – below the state average of $37,934.
With a population of 167,000, Springfield is the third-largest city in Missouri. It has a small town feel yet offers enough social and cultural options to feel like a city.
El Paso, Texas ranked second on the list, with a needed income of just $34,692.56 – or $2,891.05 per month. The border city has the second-lowest median rent on the list, at $595 a month, as well as low grocery and utility costs.
With a population of 683,600, the city has a lot to offer, including proximity to Mexico and the Rio Grande. It’s also been ranked one of America’s safest cities several times.
The median income is $44,416 – well above the amount needed to live a comfortable life.
Detroit ranked third on the list with a necessary income of $34,808.64, or $2,900.72 a month. Detroit has a population of 673,000 and a median income of $26,249.
With a median rent of $600, the city is one of the more affordable places to live in America. Health care costs are also low, average about $230 a month.
Fresno, California came in fourth, with a necessary annual income of $37,465.52 – or $3,122.17 a month.
California typically has a high cost of living, so Fresno’s addition to the list is somewhat of a surprise. It has a median income of $41,455 and a population of 527,438.
Rounding out the top five is Lexington, Kentucky, with a needed income of $37,729.04, or $3,144.09 a month.
With a median rent of $750, living costs are relatively low in the city of 322,000 people. The median income in Lexington is $53,178 – well above the amount needed to live the good life.
Next on the list was Albuquerque, New Mexico, which requires an income of $38,086.08 to live comfortably – or $3,172.43 a month.
The city has the lowest average monthly health insurance premium on the list – $224 – and a low median monthly rent of $749.
Albuquerque has a population of 558,545 and a median income of $47,413.
In seventh place was Cincinnati, with a needed annual income of $39,036.80 a year, or $3,253.07 a month. The city has a population of 301,301 and a median income of $38,539.
Wichita, Kansas came in eight place, with a bare minimum annual income of $39,387.20, or $3,282.27 a month. The city of 390,600 people has a median rent of $679 and a median income of $44,477.
Tulsa, Oklahoma ranked ninth on the list, with a needed annual income of $40,075.04 – or $3,339.59. The city has a population of 401,800 and a median income of $47,005.
Finally, Indianapolis rounds out the top 10, with a necessary annual income of $40,726.80, or $3,393.90 per month. The city of 872,700 people has a median rent of $775 and a low average cost of groceries at $335 a month. Median income is $59,566.