Every child gets a childhood but that doesn’t mean that all childhood’s are created equal — especially when it comes to the parent’s bank account. If you grew up in the rural Midwest then your family likely could have enjoyed a large house on a modest budget. If you grew up in any of the following 12 cities then your experience was much different. We decided to pull together 12 of the most expensive places to live and raise a family in the entire United States.
If you want to raise a kid in Washington, D.C. then you might want to get really good at stock investment or some other sort of big money online trading. Washington, D.C. is one of the most expensive places in the country in order to raise a full family. Economic estimates suggest that if you have a family of four you will need to be earning upwards of $106,000 per year just to squeak by. Oh, yeah, and in order to work full time with a young child you will have to pay for child care. Child care in Washington can run you up to $30,000 per year. Yikes.
Chicago is the Windy City and one of the few cold places on our entire list. Chicago is enormously expensive to live in with apartment prices running you nearly $2,000 for a simple studio. High value housing, gentrified neighborhoods, and major sporting teams make it hard to find the perfect slice of affordable pie here. Chicago ranks in the top 10 in the Expatistan Cost of Living Index which gives you a good idea as to the price you’ll actually have to pay to settle into the city. If you don’t mind living outside of the hustle and bustle then there are a host of beautiful suburbs that can offer you slower paced living at a more refined price.
If the City of Miami was enough to convince LeBron James to come to the Heat then that says all you need to know about this party city. Miami, for all its glitz and glamor, struggles in a few key areas. Right now the average income for a person in Miami is at an astonishing low of $31,000 and with home prices averaging nearly $460,000 this means that nobody is saving money here. Still, there is no state income tax and the sales tax here is relatively low so you do have some perks. Neighborhoods change like a flip of the coin throughout Miami so there are some affordable options out there if you really need to be in the city. Still, we think that there are better and prettier places of value out there.
Oakland is the forgotten brother to places like San Francisco but that doesn’t mean it is any more affordable. To be honest, rent in Oakland has been dramatically increasing for the better part of the past two years or so. Right now it’ll cost you nearly $4,700 per month to rent an apartment here. You’ll end up spending an outrageous amount of your money on housing here due to the fact that the average income is still low — just $52,900 per year for citizens of the city. So the rapidly rising housing costs mixed in with the lack of upward movement for jobs and pay is going to be a problem for Oakland in the long term.
In some places it makes sense for rent to be super high and Honolulu is one of those locations. Hawaii has to be one of the more envious locations for parents to raise their children. Honolulu has expensive housing but the real ding to your bank account comes in the form of the little things: food, gas, and other necessities. Living on an island can be a challenge but it is definitely worth it if you can make it work out. Studies suggest earning upwards of $94,000 before trying to raise a family here.
Los Angeles, California.
L.A. is a city of dreams where a few flourish while the rest gamely plunge on in mediocrity. L.A. is filled with transient people that are coming and going and this has led to a shake up in the housing market. Rent in Los Angeles is borderline laughable due to how expensive it is with a studio running you over $3,000 per month depending on the area. High unemployment and tough taxes contribute to keeping Los Angeles a hard place for families to raise. You’ll find more affordability the farther you get from L.A.
New York City, New York.
The Big Apple. We’ll dance around the surrounding suburbs later on in this list but for now all eyes are on New York City. New York City is as beautiful as it is expensive. The median income needed to support a family here is around $98,000 and that consists of two parents and two children. However, if you want to live in style then you will need to earn significantly more before trying to call this place your home.
San Francisco, California.
San Francisco has everything going for it except for affordability. San Francisco is the City by the Bay. It is known as a gleaming jewel on the West Coast that is comprised of forward thinking, well educated, and attractive people. To live in San Francisco you are going to have to give up a ton of comforts if you wish to raise a family. The average rent for an apartment in the city is nearly $4,700 per month while the average income per person is nearly $80,000. The tech industry is booming so if you can find a way in that could get your family a precious spot in the city.
We’re about to hit a real run of big cities so before we do that let’s talk about Stamford-Norwalk in Connecticut. This ritzy bare area requires you to earn nearly $98,000 per year just to get by. The primary reason for this huge earning threshold is that you are paying an extraordinary amount just to rent or buy a home. High taxes combine with housing costs to make it tough to get a family up and running.
Westchester County, New York.
New York has a whole lot to offer people, even those that opt to live outside of the epic megacity that is New York City. New York City is one of the most popular and idolized cities on the planet thanks to its immersion of culture, commerce, and compact living. However, if you were to get out of the city and head to Westchester County you would likely find your cost of living increasing! To raise a family in Westchester County you will want to be earning over $100,000 per year. The big reason for this high threshold is the mind numbingly high tax rate in the county.
Nassau-Suffolk, New York.
These people may have escaped the city proper to raise their family but it certainly didn’t save them any cash. Heading to Nassau-Suffolk pretty much makes it feel impossible to live without a big job padding your account – like options trading or some other form of online investing. In any event, living in this region will require you to earn over $103,000 per year just to barely squeeze by with the bare minimum. Tax, rent, and high prices for childcare make this a tough but beautiful place to raise a family. If you can pull the cash together then definitely make it happen..
Seattle is a city on the up and up thanks to a booming alternative culture, relevant sport teams, and a growing tourism industry. Still, there are some reasons that will keep you from moving your whole family into the city in the near future. For starters you’ll be looking at around $2,500 for a small (900 sq/ft) apartment in a decent area. The rates you pay for an actual home large enough to raise a couple of children will leave you gasping a little bit. However, it may be the right time to get in and start shopping for a home. As the city continues to grow we figure prices will continue to rise up as well.