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The Cost of Living Is Quickly Rising in These 20 US Cities, Study Finds

Joel Anderson

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Cost of Living Is Quickly Rising in These 20 US Cities

Living in a city can be expensive, with everything from rent to the average grocery bill eating up your savings and possibly preventing you from saving up for that first down payment. And, if that weren’t enough, those costs are going up faster in some cities.

In its latest study, GOBankingRates examined the cost of living in 50 major U.S. cities and found which ones experienced the biggest jumps in the cost of living from 2017 to 2018.

The study looked at the amount needed to pay for necessities such as food, rent, utilities, transportation and healthcare, as well as the amount one should budget toward savings and discretionary spending. These costs were then consolidated into a “live comfortably” income to determine the places in America that are getting more expensive.

20. Houston

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $13,182.28
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 23.45 percent

Houston is the fourth-largest city in America and one of the places where it’s hard to buy a home, according to a previous study. The $69,405 annual income needed to live comfortably places the city in the middle of the pack, but that amount is up 23.45 percent compared to last year. So, Houston residents might be finding that their dollar isn’t stretching as far in 2018.

19. Detroit

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $9,938.88
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 23.57 percent

Of the cities in this study, Detroit actually had a lower increase from last year in whole-dollar amounts than many other major cities. And, it’s one of the cheapest cities for renters. However, the percentage increase still lands it among the 20 cities where costs are increasing the most.

18. Phoenix

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $12,603.84
Percentage Increase to Cost to Live Comfortably: 23.69 percent

The cost of healthcare in Arizona is much higher than the rest of the country, with the average annual costs exceeding $6,000. That said, the fourth-lowest annual grocery costs mean that, although costs are rising rapidly, the $65,000 a year or so you’ll need to live comfortably in Phoenix isn’t excessive for a big city.

17. Indianapolis

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $11,298.72
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 23.97 percent

The Crossroads of America is also home to one of the cities where costs are rising the fastest, with a comfortable lifestyle costing an additional $11,000-plus in 2018.

16. Denver

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $15,000.56
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 23.98 percent

Denver’s cost for a comfortable lifestyle jumped just over $15,000 in 2018, the sixth-largest year-over-year increase among all of the cities in the study. Fortunately, for residents of the Mile High City, Denver is one of the cities where incomes are rising the fastest.

15. El Paso, Texas

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $9,756.80
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 24.15 percent

El Paso is among the 20 cities where costs are rising the fastest, but it also boasts the lowest cost to live comfortably at just over $50,000 a year. Still, the increase makes El Paso one of the cities where retirees are struggling to get buy.

14. Anaheim, Calif.

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $17,478.04
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 25.24 percent

Anaheim might be home to Disneyland, but anyone living there might not want to label it “the happiest place on Earth.” That’s because the $86,721 annual income needed to live comfortably ranked as the No. 10 highest amount in this study. The cost is due, in part, to the high average rent and the annual cost of transportation, each of which placed among the 10-highest in the study.

13. Jacksonville, Fla.

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $13,356.40
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 25.72 percent

Jacksonville might be in the middle of the pack in terms of income needed to live comfortably, but the year-over-year increase is among the highest in any of the cities in this study.

12. Albuquerque, N.M.

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $10,939.04
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 25.77 percent

Costs are climbing in Albuquerque, but they’re also rising from a low floor. Even after climbing over $10,000, the cost to live comfortably in Albuquerque — $53,384 — is still below the national median income of $55,322. That could be part of why the city is among the best cities to live if you’re making minimum wage.

11. Mesa, Ariz.

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $12,643.84
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 25.81 percent

Mesa residents enjoy the third-lowest annual utility costs of any city in this study, but that comes with the fact that, as Arizona residents, they’re also shouldering the fourth-highest healthcare costs.

10. San Antonio

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $12,349.68
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 26.76 percent

San Antonio has the lowest average annual grocery costs of any city in this study. And, while its cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment is right in the middle, it still ranked among the best big cities for renters due to its high livability score.

Click to See: The Best Big Cities for Renters

9. Wichita, Kan.

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $11,700.52
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 26.81 percent

Even with the increases that helped propel it onto this list, Wichita’s residents are paying less to rent a one-bedroom apartment than the inhabitants of nearly every other city on this list.  The city has the second-lowest average annual rent — only El Paso residents pay less — at just over $7,000 a year. The renter’s market plays a big part as to why Wichita is one of the worst cities to own investment property.

8. Sacramento, Calif.

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $15,293.16
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 26.93 percent

The cost to live in California is generally very high, and that’s part of why Sacramento residents need to earn over $72,000 a year to live a comfortable life. That’s driven by the ninth-highest annual transportation costs.

7. Virginia Beach, Va.

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $14,918.80
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 28.34 percent

Virginia Beach has the second-highest average annual utility costs of any city in this study, contributing to the additional $14,000-plus needed to live there in 2018.

6. Fort Worth, Texas

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $15,609.76
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 29.44 percent

Fort Worth residents saw a $15,000-plus jump to live comfortably in 2018 than they did in 2017, making it one of the six cities in this study that increased at or above that threshold. One of the worst cities to make minimum wage, Fort Worth residents need to make over $68,000 annually to live comfortably.

5. Arlington, Texas

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $14,172.48
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 30.53 percent

Arlington is the first city in this ranking to break the 30 percent threshold for the increase in its cost of living for 2018. Despite reasonable rents and cheap groceries, Arlington is still one of the worst places to live if you’re trying to save money.

4. Fresno, Calif.

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $13,968.32
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 31.29 percent

Fresno has the second-highest average annual transportation costs but the fourth-lowest average annual rent of the 20 cities listed here. This is part of why it’s among the cities with cheap rent but a high cost of living.

3. Columbus, Ohio

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $14,120.68
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 31.48 percent

The total cost of living in Columbus isn’t extremely high, with less than $60,000 in annual salary necessary to live comfortably. That said, it’s on the rise, up 31.48 percent in 2018 — the third-highest of any city surveyed.

2. Austin, Texas

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $18,531.88
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 33.92 percent

Austin saw its cost of living jump by over a third in 2018, and its year-over-year increase of $18,531.88 is the highest among all of the cities in the study.

1. Colorado Springs, Colo.

Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: $17,596.64
Percentage Increase in Cost to Live Comfortably: 35.61 percent

Colorado Springs saw the greatest proportional increase in costs for 2018, jumping a whopping 35.61 percent from last year. Of course, the city might have had some room to increase without really putting the hurt on its residents: Even with the gains, it’s among the cities where your paycheck stretches the furthest.

 

The Cost of Living Is Quickly Rising in These Cities

Perhaps unsurprisingly, six of the top 10 cities where the cost of living is rising the fastest are located in the two most populous states — California and Texas.

However, three of the most notoriously expensive cities in California — San Francisco (11.70 percent), San Jose (14.09 percent) and Los Angeles (14.74 percent) — all experienced relatively mild increases compared to some of the top cities on this list. In fact, of the 10 cities that require the most amount of income needed to live comfortably, only one — Anaheim, Calif. (25.24 percent) — experienced an increase of more than 20 percent.

Click through to see the 31 cities where you can afford to live off less than $50,000.

More on the Cost of Living 

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Methodology: GOBankingRates found the top 20 cities where cost of living is rising the fastest by observing the increase in the amount of income required to “live comfortably,” a concept used in GBR studies that combines the money needed to pay for necessities — including food, rent, utilities, transportation and healthcare — with the amount one should budget toward discretionary spending and savings. Median rental prices for one-bedroom apartments were sourced from Zillow.