The expense of sprawl
It’s expensive to live in a big city. But what if it’s more expensive to live in a small city? The Citizen’s Budget Commission, a non-profit financial watchdog organization in New York, took a look at housing costs in US metro areas recently, then added in transportation costs. By these two metrics, New York City (and most dense metro areas with good public transportation) is one of the cheaper urban options.
This is what housing and transportation costs look like for a typical household in various urban areas around the country (New York is highlighted because that’s the CBC’s focus)*:
Added together, that looks like this:
Obviously more goes into the cost of living than just these two data points, but it does highlight just how expensive urban sprawl can be.
(h/t City Lab)
*What’s a “typical household”? From the report: “This policy brief uses data for what HUD defines as the “typical regional household.”2 This household is a statistical creation based on average values for selected characteristics – median income, household size, number of workers in the household, and commuting patterns for the workers – of households in the area. For example, a typical household in New York City has 2.69 people, 1.2 commuters, and annual income of $63,915.”