10 Cities Where You’ll Be Broke With a $50,000 Salary

Aerial view of Chicago, one of several cities with an outrageously high cost of living

Aerial view of Chicago, one of several cities with an outrageously high cost of living | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Americans are being pushed out of several cities in the United States for a simple reason: The cost of living is on the rise. Gentrification, income inequality, and slow wage growth are all factors in the equation, and for millions of people, it means having to move out of their homes to find cheaper alternatives. This is on full display in places like the Bay Area, where the tech boom has driven home prices and the cost of living through the roof — while many of the area’s natives have been left behind.

But that’s just one example. The same thing is happening in many other cities as well. The Census Bureau’s data says that the average American household earns roughly $53,000 per year, which is enough to live comfortably in many parts of the country. But in certain cities? An average income means barely scraping by.

Cost of living and an average income

While there are people who earn an average income (and below) and manage to make it work in every city, there are some towns where the numbers of those folks are dwindling every year. Every time costs jump up — be it due to rent increases, food costs, gas prices, etc. — more and more people are sent looking for less expensive dwellings. And it’s no more pronounced than in 10 specific American cities.

Using data from the Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2016, researched and compiled by The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, we’re highlighting 10 American cities where an average income simply won’t cut it anymore. The entire project looks at the most expensive cities in the world — 133 in all. Among the top 49 were 10 American cities, which we highlight on the following pages.