18 major US cities where rent and taxes eat up all of a worker's paycheck

  • A majority of Americans are struggling to make ends meet: about 78% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck in 2017.
  • Clever Real Estate created a ranking of the worst major cities to live in based on the amount of money left from people's paychecks after expenses and income taxes.  
  • 18 cities have less leftover money from their biweekly income than the national average, including New York, Philadelphia, and Las Vegas.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Living paycheck to paycheck is not an uncommon phenomenon in the US.

According to 2017 survey results from Career Builder, a job listing and career resource website, 78% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck, which means many are not able to save money for long-term financial goals or social activities.

And a new study shows just how hard it is for many Americans to get ahead. The average American spends roughly $1,272 per paycheck on living expenses — with the majority of expenses coming from housing and utility bills — according to a recent Clever Real Estate report using Bureau of Economic Analysis spending and income data and IRS state tax data. 

Clever Real Estate compiled a ranking of the best and worst metro areas to live in based on how much money residents have leftover from a typical biweekly paycheck. After subtracting expenses and income taxes from biweekly pretax income, the average amount of money leftover among all Americans was $136.39.

In 18 cities, residents have even less than the national average. Interestingly, the average resident of six cities in the study doesn't even have enough money to meet their various expenses, ending up with a negative balance after expenses are subtracted from biweekly income. Among those six cities were McAllen, Texas; New Haven, Connecticut; and Riverside, California.

Although some metro areas like New York City are high-income places, people in those cities tend to decide to live with a roommate to help cut living costs in the face of sky-high rents. Living with a roommate in general has become more common across the US, according to Pew Research Center.

Housing and utilities costs was the second largest expense per person for residents living in high-income cities, behind goods and services costs. Clever Real Estate noted this could be because products are more expensive in these cities, rather than because people are buying more goods and services.

Read on to find out the 18 most unaffordable cities based on the amount of money leftover from their biweekly income. 

18. McAllen, Texas

DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

 

Average biweekly pre-tax income: $1,015.77

Income tax: $234.03

Average biweekly expenses: $1,012.42

Average left over money: -$230.68

 

17. New Haven, Connecticut

f11photo/Shutterstock

 

Average biweekly pre-tax income: $2,178.85

Income tax: $376.70

Average biweekly expenses: $1,958.56

Average left over money: -$156.41

 

 

16. Riverside, California

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $1,557.15

Income tax: $270.63

Average biweekly expenses: $1,398.64

Average left over money: -$112.11

 

 

15. New York, New York

turtix/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $2,949.27

Income tax: $336.91

Average biweekly expenses: $2,721.79

Average left over money: -$109.44

 

 

14. Orlando, Florida

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $1,672.73

Income tax: $267.75

Average biweekly expenses: $1,488.14

Average left over money: -$83.15

 

 

13. San Antonio, Texas

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income:  $1,807.50

Income tax: $234.03

Average biweekly expenses: $1,574.78

Average left over money: -$1.31

 

 

12. Allentown, Pennsylvania

Mihai_Andritoiu/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $2,081.54

Income tax: $219.93

Average biweekly expenses: $1,850.29

Average left over money: $11.31

 

 

11. Columbus, Ohio

f11photo/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $1,967.88

Income tax: $180.46

Average biweekly expenses: $1,768.87

Average left over money: $18.55

 

 

10. Las Vegas, Nevada

George Rose/Getty Images

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $1,811.15

Income tax: $224.64

Average biweekly expenses: $1,560.01

Average left over money: $26.50

 

 

9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

K Hanley CHDPhoto/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $2,192.50

Income tax: $191.91

Average biweekly expenses: $1,972.99

Average left over money: $27.60

 

 

8. Detroit, Michigan

Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $2,041.77

Income tax: $192.98

Average biweekly expenses: $1,802.12

Average left over money: $47.37

 

 

7. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Jay Yuan/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $1,946.88

Income tax: $240.44

Average biweekly expenses: $1,649.64

Average left over money: $56.80

 

 

6. Dayton, Ohio

Ami Parikh/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $1,834.12

Income tax: $180.46

Average biweekly expenses: $1,582.78

Average left over money: $70.87

 

 

5. Providence, Rhode Island

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $2,099.42

Income tax: $219.08

Average biweekly expenses: $1,804.28

Average left over money: $76.07

 

 

4. El Paso, Texas

BrianWancho/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $1,378.31

Income tax: $234.03

Average biweekly expenses: $1,056.83

Average left over money: $87.45

 

 

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

AevanStock/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $2,478.46

Income tax: $219.93

Average biweekly expenses: $2,143.75

Average left over money: $114.78

 

 

2. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

emperorcosar/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $2,292.62

Income tax: $191.24

Average biweekly expenses: $1,985.99

Average left over money: $115.39

 

 

1. Tampa, Florida

Kevin J King/Shutterstock

 

Average pre-tax biweekly income: $1,816.92

Income tax: $267.75

Average biweekly expenses: $1,417.11

Average left over money: $132.07

 

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