For Most American Families, It Pays to Live in the Suburbs

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Living in a city rather than a suburb can be a costly decision for U.S. families, a new study finds.

It’s typically cheaper for your family to reside in the suburbs than it is to live in the city, according to Zillow and’s 2017 cost of living report.

The report found that on average, city-dwelling families spend a whopping $9,073 more on basic housing and child care costs than their neighbors in the suburbs.

The cost variance is even more pronounced in places like New York, Chicago and Dallas, where city dwellers spend upward of $71,237 more a year — or about $6,000 extra a month — on their basic expenses, including property taxes, mortgage payments and child care.

However, there are exceptions to the rule that city living is more expensive than suburban life. For example, the report finds that in Baltimore and Philadelphia, suburban-dwelling families can pay $14,000 more annually to live outside of the bustling cities.

The cost of living for families varies significantly depending on where in the U.S. you reside. A separate study from the Economic Policy Institute found that the most expensive city for raising a family is Washington, D.C. A family of four there spends $106,493 annually just to cover their basic needs. As we have reported:

It’s important to note that those figures represent the cost of merely getting by, not the cost of securing a middle-class lifestyle, which typically comes with “rainy day” funds, college savings and retirement accounts.

For more on the topic, check out “10 Cities Where Your Income Is Worth More.”

Are you curious about how much money it takes to meet your family’s basic needs where you live? You can use the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator to get an estimate of the cost of housing, child care, transportation, food, health care, taxes and other necessities in your specific area.

For more on how much U.S. families are forking over to pay their bills, check out “What It Really Takes Just to Get By in America.”

Do you prefer living in the city or the suburbs? Sound off below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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