How Far a 50K Salary Would Get You in 30 American Cities

Written by Carly Hallman

Wondering, “What can I afford with $50,000 a year?” We’ve taken a closer look at the basic expenses of 30 American cities to see where you’d be able to live comfortably on a fairly average yearly salary.

How far 50k Salary Gets you in 30 American Cities

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How Far a 50k Salary Would Get You in 30 American Cities Transcript

The Average Costs of Necessary Expenses Vs. Minimum Wage and Average Income in the Most Populated Cities of the US

City Louisville, KY Baltimore, MD Las Vegas, NV Oklahoma City, OK Portland, OR Nashville, TN Boston, MA Memphis, TN Washington, D.C.
Food $2986 $2986 $3564 $2986 $3564 $2986 $3467 $2986 $2986
Medical $2298 $2507 $2242 $2195 $2030 $2237 $2688 $2237 $2506
Housing $6565 $10836 $7560 $6762 $11352 $8231 $13333 $7504 $17078
Transportation $4236 $4236 $3860 $4236 $3860 $4236 $3609 $4236 $4236
Other $2656 $2656 $2803 $2656 $2803 $2656 $2656 $2656 $2656
Annual Income Taxes $3496 $4406 $2794 $3367 $4975 $2838 $3593 $2737 $5700
Total income needed $22237 $27627 $22823 $22202 $28584 $23186 $29346 $22356 $35162
Minimum Wage Salary $15080 ($7.25/hr) $19240 ($9.25/hr) $17,160 ($8.25/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $21320 ($10.25/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $22,880 ($11/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $26,000 ($12.50/hr)
Living Wage Salary $22235 ($10.69/hr) $27622 ($13.28/hr) $22817

($10.97/hr)

$22193 ($10.67/hr) $28579 ($13.74/hr) $23192 ($11.15/hr) $29348 ($14.11/hr) $22360 ($10.75/hr) $35152 ($16.90/hr)
Average Salary $48821 $56177 $47968 $47965 $55438 $51263 $70983 $47264 $71007
Detroit, MI El Paso, TX Denver, CO Seattle, WA Charlotte, NC Fort Worth, TX Columbus, OH Indianapolis, IN San Fransisco, CA
Food $3050 $2986 $3564 $3564 $2986 $2986 $3050 $3050 $3564
Medical $2243 $2203 $2395 $1984 $2195 $2203 $2361 $2297 $2150
Housing $6961 $6553 $10128 $12226 $8190 $8179 $6924 $7035 $19566
Transportation $4173 $4236 $3860 $3860 $4236 $4236 $4173 $4173 $3860
Other $2877 $2656 $2803 $2803 $2656 $2656 $2877 $2877 $2803
Annual Income Taxes $3506 $2599 $4186 $3409 $3961 $2826 $2965 $3337 $4999
Total income needed $22810 $21233 $26937 $27846 $24224 $23086 $22350 $22769 $36942
Minimum Wage Salary $19240 ($9.25/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $21216 ($10.20/hr) $23920 ($11.50/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $17,264 ($8.30/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $22,880 ($11/hr)
Living Wage Salary $22817 ($10.97/hr) $21236 ($10.21/hr) $26936 ($12.95/hr) $27851 ($13.39/hr) $24232 ($11.65/hr) $23088.00 ($11.10/hr) $22360 ($10.75/hr) $22776 ($10.95/hr) $36941($17.76/hr)
Average Salary $58,931 $40539 $60550 $69154 $54,707 $50,882 $51,612 $51,256 $85,917
Jacksonville, FL Austin, TX San Jose, CA Dallas, TX San Diego, CA San Antonio, TX Phoenix, AZ Philadelphia, PA Houston, TX
Food $2986 $2986 $3564 $2986 $3564 $2986 $3564 $3467 $2986
Medical $2583 $2203 $2150 $2203 $2150 $2203 $2291 $2349 $2203
Housing $7372 $9588 $17909 $8179 $14544 $7426 $7488 $10140 $8446
Transportation $4236 $4236 $3860 $4236 $3860 $4236 $3860 $3609 $4236
Other $2656 $2656 $2803 $2656 $2803 $2656 $2803 $2656 $2656
Annual Income Taxes $2767 $3023 $4768 $2826 $4299 $2721 $3338 $3100 $2864
Total income needed $22600 $24692 $35054 $23086 $31220 $22228 $23,343 $25321 $23390
Minimum Wage Salary $17,160 ($8.25/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $22,880 ($11/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $22,880 ($11/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $21840 ($10.50/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr) $15080 ($7.25/hr)
Living Wage Salary $22609 ($10.87/hr) $24689 ($11.87/hr) $35048 ($16.85/hr) $23088.00 ($11.10/hr) $31220 ($15.01/hr) $22235 ($10.69/hr) $23337 ($11.22/hr) $25313 ($12.17/hr) $23400 ($11.25/hr)
Average Salary $47035 $58567 $84225 $60015 $60992 $53855 $5300 $59827 $59581
Chicago, IL Los Angeles, CA NewYork, NY
Food $3050 $3564 $3467
Medical $2501 $2150 $2367
Housing $10487 $12623 $14,542
Transportation $4173 $3860 $3609
Other $2877 $2803 $2656
Annual Income Taxes $4049 $4031 $5004
Total income needed 27137 29031 $31645
Minimum Wage Salary $17160 ($8.25/hr) $22880 ($11/hr) $21632 ($10.40/hr)
Living Wage Salary $29036 ($13.96/hr) $29036 ($13.96/hr) $31636 ($15.21/hr)
Average Salary $62746 $62564 $68992

Sources:

Is $50K a Good Salary?

Let’s look at the facts: In the United States, the median household income is $57,617, which often includes multiple household members’ incomes as well as side gigs. Considering that 47% of the country makes less than $50,000 per household, you’re already in the upper crust. And that’s for household data! The median personal income in the U.S. is quite different, about $31,099. So if you’re asking, “Is $50,000 a year a good salary?” in comparison to other Americans, the answer is yes. If you’re asking, “Is $50,000 a good salary?” because you want to know if it’s a reasonable wage to live off of comfortably, that answer is a bit more complicated.

What Can I Afford With $50,000 a Year?

The answer depends on where you live. For the top 30 most populated cities in the U.S., you need between $20K and $35K a year to cover basic expenses, including food, medical costs, housing, transportation, taxes, and other expenses. This is according to MIT’s Living Wage Index, which calculates what a fair wage would look like in various American cities. In many places, there’s a massive gap between the minimum wage and living wage. For those who want a slightly more affluent lifestyle — a nicer apartment, brunches on weekends — expect to need a cushion of $5K to $10K more per year.

How Much Rent Can I Afford on a $50K Salary?

Housing costs vary an extreme amount based on your location. If you’re asking, “How much house can I afford?” a $50,000 salary may only be able to get you a closet in San Francisco. The rule of thumb for rent is that many people can afford a $1,250 apartment with a $50K salary, but it can’t go far above that. If you specifically want to know, “What house can I afford on $50K a year?” it depends on your down payment, but the price generally would be somewhere around $200K. Getting something in that price range in Manhattan could be pretty difficult! We took a look at how much house $500K gets you in different cities previously, and those results may be a bit disheartening.


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