These Are The Most Unaffordable Cities in America for the Working Class

There have been many reports about the middle class and its struggle for survival. It seems as if the divide between the haves and have-nots continues to grow every year. However, the working class also has its own unique struggles. In fact, they are deeply impacted when it comes to choosing an affordable place to live. They have fewer options when it comes to housing due to less income. For many members of the working class, their lack of resources prevents them from living in neighborhoods where the middle class might be able to live comfortably.

Using data from Howmuch.net, we analyzed cities where the working class is barely scraping by. The researchers at Howmuch.net took factors into consideration such as housing, living, and transportation costs in each city. They subtracted the average amount for these costs from what a typical working-class family would make in each location. Their results showed how much a working-class household would have left over at the end of the year after paying all their basic expenses. We also used data from Sperling’s Best Places to get additional information on the cost of living in each of these cities.

Here are 15 cities where the working class is hit the hardest, according to research from Howmuch.net and Sperling’s Best Places.

15. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans

New Orleans’ working class has an average shortfall of $22,000. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-22,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 96.40

A typical working-class household in New Orleans, Louisiana, would have a shortfall of $22,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in New Orleans tends to have an annual household income of $76,368 and typically has a surplus of $746. Sperling’s Best Places gave New Orleans a cost of living rating of 96.40, which is lower than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in New Orleans averages about $811 per month, which is close to the United States average of $825.

Next: Fremont, California

14. Fremont, California

Fremont, California

The high cost of living takes a toll. | yhelfman/iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-23,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 231.30

A typical working-class household in Fremont, California, would have a shortfall of $23,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in Fremont tends to have an annual household income of $105,140 and typically has a surplus of $6,541. Sperling’s Best Places gave Fremont a cost of living rating of 231.30, which is more than double the US average of 100.

Housing plays a big role when it comes to the high cost of living in Fremont. If you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment here, expect to pay an average of $1,643 per month. That’s $818 more than the United States average of $825.

Next: Minneapolis, Minnesota

13. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis downtown skyline at sunset

Minneapolis downtown skyline at sunset | RudyBalasko/iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-23,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 109.40

A typical working-class household in Minneapolis, Minnesota, would have a shortfall of $23,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in Minneapolis tends to have an annual household income of $93,743 and typically has a surplus of $1,990. Sperling’s Best Places gave Minneapolis a cost of living rating of 109.40, which is higher than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Minneapolis averages about $810 per month, which is close to the United States average of $825.

Next: Austin, Texas

12. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas Lady Bird Lake

The cost of living is higher than the country average. | RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-25,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 117.40

A typical working-class household in Austin, Texas, would have a shortfall of $25,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in Austin tends to have an annual household income of $93,135 and typically has a surplus of $376.82. Sperling’s Best Places gave Austin a cost of living rating of 117.40, which is higher than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Austin averages about $955 per month, $130 higher than the United States average of $825.

Next: Seattle, Washington

11. Seattle, Washington

Seattle Cityscape

Rent is $172 above average. | welcomia/iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-26,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 176.50

A typical working-class household in Seattle, Washington, would have a shortfall of $26,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in Seattle tends to have an annual household income of $96,772 and typically has a surplus of $11,695. Sperling’s Best Places gave Seattle a cost of living rating of 176.50, which is about 76 points higher than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle averages about $997 per month, $172 higher than the United States average of $825.

Next: Portland, Oregon

10. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Portland has a poverty rate of 15.8%. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-28,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 104.50

A typical working-class household in Portland, Oregon, would have a shortfall of $28,000 at the end of the year. Portland has a median household income of $60,892 and a poverty rate of 15.8%. Sperling’s Best Places gave Portland a cost of living rating of 104.50, which is higher than the U.S. average of 100.

Housing is the biggest factor when it comes to the high cost of living in Portland. If you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment here, expect to pay an average of $1,004 a month. That’s $179 more per month than the United States average of $825.

Next: Madison, Wisconsin

9. Madison, Wisconsin

Patrons enjoy one of Madison's best locations

Rent is slightly lower than average. | youngryand/iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-32,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 109.60

A typical working-class household in Madison, Wisconsin, would have a shortfall of $32,000 at the end of the year. Madison has a median household income of $54,896 and a poverty rate of 19%. Sperling’s Best Places gave Madison a cost of living rating of 109.60, which is higher than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Madison averages about $806 per month, $19 lower than the United States average of $825.

Next: Miami, Florida

8. Miami, Florida

Miami, Florida skyline

Working class families have an average of $32,000 in shortfall. | Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-32,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 122.80

A typical working-class household in Miami, Florida, would have a shortfall of $32,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in Miami tends to have an annual household income of $81,849 and typically has a shortfall of $5,668. Sperling’s Best Places gave Miami a cost of living rating of 122.80, which is higher than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Miami averages about $904 per month, $79 higher than the United States average of $825.

Next: San Diego, California

7. San Diego, California

San Diego Navy

They have a higher cost of living than average. | U.S. Navy/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-34,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 166

A typical working-class household in San Diego, California, would have a shortfall of $34,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in San Diego tends to have an annual household income of $97,897 and typically has a shortfall of $9,554. Sperling’s Best Places gave San Diego a cost of living rating of 166, which is 66 points higher than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Diego averages about $1,254 per month, $425 higher than the United States average of $825.

Next: Oakland, California

6. Oakland, California

Oakland, California

Slightly less expensive than its neighbor, San Francisco | trekandshoot/iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-35,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 179.30

A typical working-class household in Oakland, California, would have a shortfall of $35,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in Oakland tends to have an annual household income of $105,140 and typically has a surplus of $19,598. Sperling’s Best Places gave Oakland a cost of living rating of 179.30, which is higher than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland averages about $1,167 per month, $342 more than the United States average of $825.

Next: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

The average rent is $53 more than average. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-37,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 99.50

A typical working-class household in Philadelphia would have a shortfall of $37,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in Philadelphia tends to have a household income of $97,724 a year and typically has a shortfall of roughly $6,725. Sperling’s Best Places gave Philadelphia a cost of living rating of 99.50, which is lower than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia averages about $878 per month, $53 more than the United States average of $825.

Next: Washington, D.C.

4. Washington, D.C.

Washington DC in Spring

The capital is expensive for working families. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-50,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 158.50

A typical working-class household in Washington, D.C., would have a shortfall of $50,000 at the end of the year. The Washington, D.C. metro area has a median household income of $93,294 and a poverty rate of 8.26%. Sperling’s Best Places gave Washington, D.C. a cost of living rating of 158.50, which is 58 points higher than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Washington, D.C., averages about $1,196 per month, $371 more than the United States average of $825.

Next: Boston, Massachusetts

 3. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston subway

The typical working class shortfall would be $61,000. | Darren McCollester/Newsmakers

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-61,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 169.90

A typical working-class household in Boston would have a shortfall of $61,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in Boston tends to have a household income of $127,419 a year and typically has a shortfall of roughly $23,144. Sperling’s Best Places gave Boston a cost of living rating of 169.90, which is higher than the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Boston averages about $1,395 per month, $570 more than the United States average of $825.

Next: San Francisco, California

2. San Francisco, California

Cable car in San Francisco County

The high cost of living takes its toll. | batuhanozdel/iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-83,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 272.60

A typical working-class household in San Francisco, California, would have a shortfall of $83,000 at the end of the year. A middle-class couple in San Francisco tends to have an annual household income of $105,140 and typically has a shortfall of roughly $63,867. Sperling’s Best Places gave San Francisco a cost of living rating of 272.60, which is more than double the U.S. average of 100. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco averages about $1,649 per month, $824 more than the United States average of $825.

Next: New York, New York

 1. New York, New York

New York, New York

A one-bedroom apartment costs way above average. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Money left over at the end of the year: $-91,000
  • Sperling’s Cost of Living Index (U.S. average = 100): 180

Not surprisingly, New York is the toughest place for the working class to make ends meet. A typical working-class household in New York would have a shortfall of $91,000 at the end of the year. A middle class couple in New York tends to  have a household income of $112,800 a year and typically has a shortfall of roughly $57,186.

Housing is the biggest factor when it comes to the high cost of living in New York. If you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment in New York City, expect to pay an average of $1,397. That’s a far cry from the United States average of $825. Sperling’s Best Places gave New York City a cost of living rating of 180, which is 80 points higher than the U.S. average of 100.

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