Large Metros You Can Actually Afford

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Houston, Texas

Anyone who’s moved from a small town to a big city quickly learns that you can’t stretch a dollar as far as you used to. When a 242-square-foot apartment costs $3,000 per month, it becomes pretty clear that cutting costs is a much more pressing need.

Despite the steep costs, some people feel at home in the hustle and bustle of the big city. Still, there are options for metropolitan living that don’t have to drain your savings account. CareerTrends — an employment and career research site powered by the Graphiq network — found the 10 most affordable large metros. The list is ranked by the monthly dollar amount required for a married couple with two children to meet a secure yet modest living standard, as defined by the Economic Policy Institute’s 2015 Family Budget Calculator.

The EPI provides estimated costs of childcare, food, healthcare, housing, taxes, transportation and other necessities across 618 locations. This list focuses on large metros with a population of at least 1 million people.

Unsurprisingly, large metros in California and New York are among the most expensive. The 10 most affordable large metros each have a monthly budget under $5,300, including three located in Texas. We’ll run down the list from No. 10, finishing with the most affordable metro of all, which has a monthly budget under $4,500.

#10. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI

Monthly budget: $5,209

Annual budget: $62,505
Population: 1.01 million

 

#9. Salt Lake City, UT

Monthly budget: $5,167

Annual budget: $62,003
Population: 1.12 million

 

#8. Cincinnati, OH

Monthly budget: $5,160

Annual budget: $61,921
Population: 2.13 million

 

#7. Dallas, TX

Monthly budget: $5,096

Annual budget: $61,150
Population: 6.70 million

 

#6. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH

Monthly budget: $5,075

Annual budget: $60,900
Population: 2.07 million

 

#5. Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land, TX

 

Monthly budget: $5,051

Annual budget: $60,608
Population: 6.20 million

 

#4. New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA

Monthly budget: $5,042

Annual budget: $60,508
Population: 1.23 million

 

#3. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

Monthly budget: $4,959

Annual budget: $59,507
Population: 2.24 million

 

#2. Oklahoma City, OK

Monthly budget: $4,625

Annual budget: $55,496
Population: 1.30 million

 

#1. Memphis, TN

Monthly budget: $4,414

Annual budget: $52,971
Population: 1.34 million