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Tech: The most and least affordable cities in the US for working class families

empty pockets

The world is moving into cities, but a lack of affordable housing options in the US means working-class families are often forced into debt.

By 2050, the United Nations predicts there will be 6.5 billion people living in urban areas — approximately double the current population of city-dwellers.

In the US, however, the move into cities isn't one working-class families can necessarily afford. Relying on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the US Department of Agriculture, the personal finance site How Much produced a rundown of which cities are the most and least affordable.

Business Insider compiled How Much's list into an interactive map and chart. Scroll over each bubble to see how much a working-class family in a given city can expect to save or owe at the end of the year. Blue bubbles represent savings; red represent debt. The size of the bubble refers to the amount of money.

How Much based its analysis on a family of four living in 1,500 square feet and relying on a low-cost food plan of $164 a week. Incomes were based on the combined average salaries, as judged by the BLS, for one family member working as a home appliance repairer and the other as a manicurist or pedicurist.

Combined, the median household income came out to just shy of $60,000.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference between regions is that coastal cities are far and away less affordable than landlocked ones. New York and San Francisco generate the most debt out of the entire country, mainly because they lack affordable housing.

Newark, New Jersey; Chesapeake, Virginia; and Jacksonville, Florida are the only affordable cities on the East Coast, while there are no major cities within a family's budget out West.

The most affordable cities in the US include:

  • Fort Worth, Texas ($10,447)
  • Newark, New Jersey ($10,154)
  • Glendale, Arizona ($10,120)
  • Gilbert, Arizona ($9,760)
  • Mesa, Arizona ($7,780)

How Much released its full breakdown as the True Cost of Living Tool, which lets users search for their hometown to gauge its affordability.

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