As someone who has lived in a large city for my entire life, I am definitely no stranger to the high cost of city living. From higher taxes to the cost of transportation, living in a large metropolis can be downright expensive. While there are many conveniences that inner city residents can take advantage of, there are even more expenses looming overhead. Here is a look at how I am dealing with the high cost of living in a large city, and why I'm considering a move to a more rural area.
City Wage Tax
In Philadelphia, there is a city wage tax that applies to all citizens who work within the Philadelphia City Limits. This tax applies whether you are a Philadelphia resident or not. In 2012, the Philadelphia wage tax for residents stood at 3.93%, while non-residents paid a tax of 3.5%. This tax is added in addition to state and federal taxes that are taken from my paycheck. When you add it all up, it can be quite a heavy burden to work in the city.
Another heavy cost that comes with living and working in a large city is parking costs. Since I work in a heavily populated area of the city, if I were to drive to work, I would need to put my car in a garage. Garage costs in the area where I work can range from $10 a day to as high as $25. With costs as high as that, I cannot afford to drive to work every day, and often need to take public transportation.
Ever-Rising Bridge Tolls
The Philadelphia area has a number of major bridges that require you to pay a toll to cross. Recently bridge tolls have increased, making it even more expensive to get in and out of city. Three of the major bridges in the Philadelphia area include the Ben Franklin Bridge, the Walt Whitman Bridge, and the Commodore Barry Bridge; all had fare hikes in 2011, now requiring a $5 toll.
High Rental Costs
The costs to rent an apartment in the city of Philadelphia is also significantly higher than in more rural areas because you are essentially paying for the neighborhood you are living in. You can expect high rent in areas such as Center City, Old City, Queen Village, and the like, because there are so many attractions in those areas.
High Auto Insurance Rates
Philadelphia has notoriously high car insurance rates, and was listed the second most expensive city in America for insurance costs in a February 2012 article posted by Yahoo! In less populated areas with better accident and theft track records, the car insurance rate would be much less.
While every zip code has their own brand of expenses, life in the inner city is definitely getting costly. For now, I am making it work, but if things continue down this path, I may find that my budget simply cannot keep up with the rising costs of inner city living.
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