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This is how much Americans need to ‘live comfortably’ in the US

(NewsNation) — Inflation has impacted everything in the lives of Americans, from the cost of groceries to living experiences.

While some people’s salaries have increased, the inflation spikes have made it increasingly more challenging for people to live “comfortably” in the nation’s largest cities, according to a new study.

Using data from the latest MIT Living Wage Calculator and the 50/30/20 budgeting method, Smart Asset calculated the after-tax salary a single person without kids would need to earn to “live comfortably” in 25 of the largest cities in the U.S.

The 50/30/20 budgeting method separates one’s budget into three categories: basic living expenses, discretionary spending and saving or paying off debt.

The budgeting method calls for 50% of someone’s salary to be used to pay for basic living expenses, for example, rent and bills; 30% would be used for personal spending and 20% would be put into a savings account or used to pay down debt.

The data used in the study analyzed the cost of living in each city as of 2022. 

In California, in cities like Los Angeles, Berkeley and San Diego, a single person must make more than $76,000 to “live comfortably,” the data shows. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California, which is how it was grouped together in the study, finished sixth on the list.

In the Chicagoland area, a resident without children would need to make a minimum of $65,500 after taxes to “live comfortably,” according to the study. The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois area, which is how it was grouped together in the study, finished below the midway point, listed at 15th on the list.

In New York, a single resident must make $78,524 to “live comfortably,” the data shows. The New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania area finished fourth on the list.

In Philadelphia,

Salary Needed to Live Comfortably in the 10 Largest Metro Areas:
City After-tax salary needed to live comfortably
1. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA $84,026
2. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA $79,324
3. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH $78,752
4. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA $78,524
5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $77,634
6. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $76,710
7. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV $76,194
8. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA $74,086
9. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO $70,892
10. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL $67,740

Smart Asset

In contrast, residents in Philadelphia need to make $61,678 after taxes to “live comfortably.”

People in St. Louis, Detroit and San Antonio needed to make between $57,000 to $60,000 after taxes to afford a comfortable life. Those were considered the top three places where a high salary wasn’t needed to “live comfortably,” according to Smart Asset.

5 Places That Require the Lowest Salaries:
City After-tax salary needed to live comfortably
St. Louis, Missouri $57,446
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan $58,358
San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas $59,270
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Camden, New Jersey Wilmington, Delaware $61,678
Charlotte – Concord- Gastonia, North Carolina $62,110
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas $62,260

Smart Asset

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