PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new study that shows which U.S. cities require the highest salaries from their single, childless residents reveals that some of the most expensive cities are near the coast, including Portland and Seattle.
Financial advising website SmartAsset conducted the study using the University of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s latest living wage calculator. Then, assuming that MIT’s living wage calculator solely accounts for needs, the website doubled the recorded salary and applied the 50/30/20 rule.
“This rule is a budgeting strategy that allocates 50% of after-tax income to basic living expenses (needs), 30% to discretionary spending (wants) and 20% for savings or debt payments,” SmartAsset said.
Based on the data, the website found that the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro region ranked at No. 8 for most expensive large metro areas.
According to the study, Portlanders need an annual post-tax salary of $74,086 to live “comfortably” in their city — with $37,043 allocated for needs, $22,226 allocated for wants and $14,817 for savings.
Portland’s required salary exceeds the average salary across the top 25 most expensive large metro areas, which SmartAsset reports is $68,499. When the website shared the same study at the beginning of 2022, that number stood at $57,013.
Many large cities that were ranked highly are located on the West Coast, such as San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle, which all made the top five.
In the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area, SmartAsset says a $77,634 after-tax income is required to live comfortably.
On the other end of the spectrum, St. Louis, Detroit, San Antonio, Philadelphia and Charlotte were named the most affordable large U.S. cities. According to the study, St. Louis residents would need an annual post-tax salary of $54,446 to cover their wants, needs and savings or debt payments.