According to the Census Bureau, almost 20 million renters allocate at least 30% of their household income towards rent, indicating that they are housing cost-burdened. This can be especially true in larger cities where the cost of living is higher. And if time is money, then many Americans will have to resort to working longer hours to make ends meet without having to use up any existing emergency funds.
In this study, SmartAsset measured the hours of work needed to pay rent in the 25 largest cities in the U.S. To determine our estimates, we considered data on the following metrics: average annual take-home pay, average hours worked per year and median monthly rent. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAssetâs fourth annual study on the hours of work needed to pay rent. Check out the 2020 version here.
- 56.6 hours. The average number of work hours needed to pay rent across the largest 25 U.S. cities is 56.6. In the six cities at the top of our list, renters must work at least 6% longer to pay rent alone. It takes more than 60 hours of work in all six cities to cover average rental costs.
- California cities stay at the very top, but Los Angeles drops for the first time in recent years. In every version of this study since 2018, the three cities where the average worker needs to work the most to pay rent have been as follows: San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, California â in that order. In this yearâs study, however, San Diego jumps to the No. 2 spot and Los Angeles drops to No. 3.
1. San Jose, CA
In San Jose, California, it takes more than 76 hours of work on average to pay median monthly rent, which is $2,223 or almost $26,700 per year. The median worker earns $41,419 after taxes, with an estimated hourly wage of about $29.
2. San Diego, CA
The average annual take-home pay in San Diego, California is $34,157, or an hourly wage of less than $25. According to our estimates, the average worker in this city would need to work almost 74 hours to be able to pay a monthâs rent, which is $1,806.
3. Los Angeles, CA
In Los Angeles, California, the average worker needs to clock almost 73 hours to cover median monthly rent, which is $1,554. The average number of hours worked in the city is about 38 hours per week, which means that it would take this person almost two weeks to cover that total amount of time. The average worker in Los Angeles earns $34,669 before taxes and takes home about $28,815 â or a little more than $21 per hour.
4. Boston, MA
In Boston, Massachusetts, the average worker earns $35,800 after taxes, or about $25 an hour. The median monthly rent in Boston is $1,735, which means residents there will have to work more than 69 hours to pay for a monthâs rent. At an average of about 38 hours worked per week in Boston, it would take nearly 13 days for a worker to cover this amount.
5. New York, NY
New York City has the fifth-highest number of hours needed to pay rent across the 25 largest cities in this study. With a median monthly rent in the city of $1,483, a worker person would have to work 62.0 hours to cover rent. The average worker in New York earns $42,326 and takes home $32,608 after taxes, or $23.90 per hour.
6. San Francisco, CA
In San Francisco, California the median monthly rent is $1,959. This is the second-highest monthly rent amount across all 25 cities in our study, following only San Jose, California. The average worker in the city earns about $32 per hour, or $51,548 after taxes. This means that the worker would have to work 61.2 hours to cover rental costs. At an average of 40.2 hours worked per week in San Francisco, it would take this worker about a week and a half to do so.
7. Denver, CO
In order to cover the costs of the average rental apartment or home in Denver, Colorado, the average worker would need to work almost 60 hours. The median monthly rent in Denver is $1,433. The average worker in Denver earns $47,146 before taxes, with a take-home pay of $37,922 or $23.92 an hour.
8. Nashville, TN
The median monthly rent in Nashville, Tennessee is $1,191 or $14,292 per year. With the average worker there earning $31,889 after taxes or $20.77 per hour, it would take him or her approximately 57 hours of work to cover the cost of rent each month.
9. Austin, TX
The average worker in Austin, Texas earns $42,416 and takes home $35,739 or $23.34 per hour. Monthly rent costs in Austin reach $1,334 per month, or $16,008 per year. At that rate, it would take this worker more than 57 hours to cover rental costs.
10. Charlotte, NC
Median earnings for a worker in Charlotte, North Carolina are $38,528. This worker would take home $31,118 or $20.61 an hour. Charlotte has the lowest median monthly rent across the 10 cities on this list, at $1,174, resulting in a total annual rent of $14,088. To be able to pay for a monthâs rent in Charlotte, the average worker would have to work 57 hours.
Data and Methodology
To find out how many hours of work are needed to pay rent in the 25 largest cities in the U.S., we looked at data on the following three metrics:
- Average annual take-home pay. This is the average workerâs earnings after accounting for income taxes. To find out how much each worker would pay in income taxes, we ran median workerâs earnings data through our income tax calculator. We assumed the average worker would contribute nothing to an IRA or 401(k), take the standard deduction and file as a single filer. Earnings data comes from the U.S. Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Average hours worked per year. This is the number of weeks worked per year multiplied by the number of hours worked per week. Data comes from the U.S. Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Median monthly rent. Data comes from the U.S. Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
First, we found the average hourly wage for each worker by dividing average annual take-home pay by average hours worked per year. Then we divided the monthly median monthly rent by the average hourly wage. This resulted in the average hours of work needed to pay a monthâs rent. Finally, we ordered the cities from highest to lowest based on the average number of hours needed to pay rent.
Tips for Managing Your Savings
- How much are you really taking home? When budgeting how much to allocate to needs, wants and savings, itâs important to know how much youâre actually starting with. Use SmartAssetâs paycheck calculator to find out your post-tax earnings.
- Budgeting is key. If the cost of living in an area is high and moving is not an option, consider using our online budget tool to make sure your expenses are all covered.
- 401(k) matching. Taking advantage of a 401(k) employer match program is an ideal way to build your retirement savings faster. When considering a new job always review the retirement plan offerings to be sure that itâs the right one for your needs.
- Expert financial advice. You already work hard to make ends meet, so why put in any more hours than you need to in order to get expert help with your assets? Finding the right financial advisor doesnât have to be hard. SmartAssetâs free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If youâre ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Questions about our study? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The post Hours of Work Needed to Pay Rent in the 25 Largest Cities â 2021 Edition appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
When we think of Las Vegas, it often has a connotation of big parties, gambling and expensive fun. Most people who go to the Entertainment Capital of the World are there for a good time and want to experience the food, shows and casinos. But what’s it like for the locals who are working and living in Las Vegas?
It’s a fairly big city, and residents have access to all of the fun and excitement as other out-of-town visitors. But every day isn’t a party when you’re living there â people have homes, families and careers to think about.
There are lots of surprising aspects of living in Sin City, and it just might be the kind of scene you’re looking for.
1. Get ready for discounts
In the Entertainment Capital of the World, many hotels, casinos and even restaurants give discounts to those who live locally. That means you’ll get discounts on Las Vegas attractions, spas and even shows, such as Cirque du Soleil, so you can enjoy the perks of the city without draining your bank account.
2. There are lots of pools â and you’ll be grateful for them
Since it can get pretty hot and be fairly warm for eight or nine months out of the year, many residents in Las Vegas have pools. Most apartment complexes have pools, but if yours doesn’t have one, you’ll inevitably have friends with access to a pool. Or, you can head to one of the hotels with a luxury pool for a little weekend staycation.
Whatever pools you can access, you’ll be glad you have them. There are plenty of days when it’s too hot to do much else outdoors and slipping into the cool water might be the only thing that keeps you sane.
3. The heat is extreme
Most people haven’t experienced Vegas-style heat â we’re talking 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more on some days during the summer. That might sound bearable when you can hang out in the pool all day, but at temperatures climb that high, even a pool will feel like a hot tub.
When it gets unbearably hot, you can plan on hanging out inside with the air conditioner cranked up and eating popsicles all day long to stay cool.
4. Grocery stores are extra convenient
Being known as one of the cities that never sleeps, most Las Vegas grocery and convenience stores are open 24/7, so you can head out and get what you need without checking the time and worrying that stores will be closed. Plus, wine, beer and spirits are sold in the majority of grocery stores.
5. It’s surprisingly affordable
Most larger, well-known cities are quite expensive when you take housing, transportation and food into account. But living in Las Vegas is surprisingly affordable â it’s actually one of the most inexpensive places to live in Nevada. The cost of living in most categories is quite close to the national average, which is surprising for a larger city.
It has a thriving housing market, where there are plenty of homes available for fairly reasonable prices, and rent isn’t sky-high. The average rent in 2020 for a one-bedroom apartment is a little more than $1,200 a month â well below the national average of $1,600. And because there are plenty of quiet suburbs outside of the Strip and downtown areas, there are lots of supermarkets, restaurants and shopping malls readily available.
Most of the expensive places, whether they’re high-end stores or five-star restaurants, are located on the Strip or in downtown Vegas. Outside of that, most stores and restaurants in the valley are affordable and easily accessible to the locals.
You’ll rarely have to pay for parking, which is uncommon in a big city. Since hotels often have stores and attractions within them and casinos want people to come inside and play, they often will have free parking garages to attract potential customers.
6. There’s unique outdoor recreation
Las Vegas isn’t usually known for its camping and hiking scene, but there are some fun and different places to explore in the area. Some of the best spots are Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon. You can even go skiing during the winter months at Mt. Charleston, which is a reasonably short drive from the city.
And if that’s not enough for you, you’ll only be a few hours away from the state and national parks of Utah and California.
7. It’s best to have a car
In many bigger cities, there’s great public transportation, and it’s often preferred by the locals because of high parking costs and traffic congestion. But most Las Vegas residents don’t rely on public transportation to get around, and many people own cars.
Although there’s some public transportation, it’s mostly buses â the city is quite sprawling, making public transportation an extremely time-consuming option, especially if you’re going from one end to the other.
As far as driving goes, the most traffic-heavy places in the city are downtown and the Strip, and most other places aren’t too bad. Just beware of the Spaghetti Bowl, which is where multiple freeways merge together near downtown â traffic can get pretty congested there during rush hour.
8. No more state income tax
Unless you’re moving to Las Vegas from one of the other few states that doesn’t have an income tax, this will be a happy surprise. Nevada doesn’t have a personal income tax or corporate income tax.
9. Major league sports are coming in hot
In just the last few years, Sin City has become home to two major-league sports teams. The Raiders football team relocated there from Oakland earlier this year, giving residents something to be happy about, despite the other events of 2020.
But perhaps the most exciting thing was the creation of the Golden Knights, an NHL team that now plays in Vegas. When the team was first created, many people had low expectations â but the team ended up getting within only a few games of winning the Stanley Cup in its very first season. So, even if you’re not a hockey fan now, you’ll definitely become one when you move to Vegas.
10. Watch out for desert critters
Most of us have had spiders or ants get in the house â that’s going to happen no matter where you live in the U.S. But have you dealt with cockroaches, lizards and scorpions?
While scorpions aren’t an everyday thing, you should still be aware of them and know that they could show up in your yard. And although most of the lizards are harmless, it can still be unsettling to see them basking in the sun all over the rocks around your home. But the cockroaches are something else. You’ll want to invest in good pest controlÂ because they’ll find a way to sneak into your bathroom and kitchen, even if you live on the fifth floor of a building.
If you have a pet, keep in mind that their food will attract more roaches, so keep their bowl in a high-traffic area of your house to ward off the pesky little critters. And make sure you seal the excess food in a container or bag so you don’t reach in and scoop up a handful of cockroaches when your pet is hungry.
Living in Las Vegas is full of surprises
In spite of its nickname being “Sin City,” living in Las Vegas can be a great experience. It’s a diverse place and contains all of the perks of a big city without the cost and without feeling like such a busy, overcrowded place all the time. The longer you live in Vegas, the more the city will surprise you.
The post 10 Things to Know About Living in Las Vegas appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
Though the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in widespread fitness center closures, many Americans still want to stay as healthy as possible. Depending on the level of services and equipment required, staying active can affect peopleâs budgets in a variety of ways. For now, virtual exercise classes and home gyms are the route most people are taking. Eventually, though, gyms will reopen at full capacity, and everyone will be able to reestablish his or her normal workout routine. When that happens, some places will be more conducive to jumping into a full-on fitness frenzy, and SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find where they are.
To locate the most fitness-friendly places for 2021, we compared 301 metropolitan areas across the following metrics: percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, fitness professionals per 10,000 workers, fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments, the percentage of restaurants that are fast-food establishments and the average wage of personal trainers. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAssetâs seventh annual study on the most fitness-friendly places in the U.S. Read the previous version here.
- Western and Midwestern metro areas populate the top. For the second straight year, cities in the Midwest and West dominate the top 10 of this list. Six metro areas are in the West and three are in the Midwest. Western metro areas do well in terms of fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments â all rank within the top 8% of study for this metric â and they also rank within the top 14% of the study for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work. Only one metro area in the top 10 is not in either of these regions â Ithaca, New York.
- Fitness-friendly cities are light on the drive-thrus. On average, across the 301 metro areas in our study, fast-food establishments represent 45% of all restaurants. Though fast food is popular, convenient and inexpensive, it tends to be relatively high in calories and low in nutritional value â making it tougher to be healthy if you eat a lot of it, regardless of your exercise levels. In the top 10 of this study, all but three metro areas have fewer than 40% of their restaurants serving fast food, so there is less temptation to go for an easy-but-unhealthy meal that can ruin all your hard work. The metro area with the lowest percentage of restaurants that are fast food is Wenatchee, Washington, where it is just 27%.
1. Missoula, MT
The Missoula, Montana metro area is the most fitness-friendly place in the U.S. for 2021. There are 131 fitness establishments â including places like gyms and sporting goods stores â per 10,000 total establishments in Missoula, the third-highest rate for this metric in the study. There are also plenty of fitness professionals living in Missoula, 59 per 10,000 workers, placing it sixth-best for this metric. Residents in Missoula also get plenty of exercise simply by walking or biking to work: 7.1% of residents choose to do so, the 17th-highest rate for this metric across the 301 areas we studied.
2. La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN
The La Crosse, Wisconsin metro area, which also includes parts of Minnesota, has 130 fitness establishments for every 10,000 total establishments, the fourth-highest rate for this metric. The metro area finishes in the top quartile for three other metrics as well, ranking 28th for fitness professionals per 10,000 workers (with 42), 33rd for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work (at 5.2%) and 64th for the percentage of restaurants that are fast-food establishments (around 39%).
3. Bend, OR
The Bend, Oregon metro area cracks the top 10 for two of our metrics. It places fourth in terms of fitness professionals per 10,000 workers with 61, and seventh for fitness establishments per 10,0000 total establishments, at 116. Bend can be a bit pricey of a place to stay in shape, though. The average hourly wage of personal trainers is $18.72, placing Bend at 176th out of 301 for this metric.
4. Ann Arbor, MI
There are 67 fitness professionals per 10,000 workers in the Ann Arbor, Michigan metro area, the second-highest rate for this metric of the 301 metro areas we analyzed. For their commutes, 7.4% of residents walk or bike to work, the 15th-highest percentage in this study. There are also plenty of fitness establishments in the metro area if you prefer to work out in a dedicated space: At 112 per 10,000 residents, this is the 10th-highest rate of the 301 places we analyzed.
5. Bloomington, IN
Folks in the Bloomington, Indiana metro area might have more of an opportunity to get a workout in during their commute, with 8.0% of residents walking or biking to work, the eighth-highest rate in the study for this metric. Bloomington has two other metrics for which it finishes in the top fifth of the 301 metro areas of the study â fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments (ranking 48th-highest, with 93) and average wage of personal trainers (ranking 49th-lowest, which makes it cheaper for the consumer, at $14.53).
6. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
The metro area around Santa Cruz, California finishes ninth overall for its relatively low percentage of restaurants that specialize in fast food, at 33%. Santa Cruz also comes in 12th for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, at 7.5%. If youâre looking for help getting in shape, though, itâll cost you. The average wage of a personal trainer in the area is a steep $20.59, ranking in the bottom third of this study.
7. Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, Arizona has the third highest percentage of residents who walk or bike to work we saw in this study, at 11.5%. There are also 109 fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments, the 14th-highest rate we observed. Flagstaff is hurt, though, by its price: The average wage of a personal trainer in this metro area is $22.27, in the bottom sixth of this study.
8. Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins is the first of two metro areas in Colorado to rank in the top 10 of this study, and it gets there on the strength of having 113 fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments, ranking ninth of 301 metro areas for this metric. It also scores in the top 15% of the study for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work (5.2%) and fitness professionals per 10,000 workers (46).
9. Boulder, CO
Boulder is the second Colorado metro area in the top 10, and it has two metrics for which it finishes in the top 15 out of 301 in the study overall. It comes in 11th for fitness professionals per 10,000 workers, at 53, and 12th for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, at 7.5%. Its final ranking is dragged down a bit due to its bottom-10 finish for the average hourly wage for personal trainers, at a pricey $27.25. However, it still ranks in the top 20 of the study for fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments, at 105.
10. Ithaca, NY
A whopping 14.5% of residents of Ithaca, New York walk or bike to work, the second-highest percentage in this study for this metric. Ithaca finishes eighth in terms of fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments with 114. It is very expensive to get help with fitness in Ithaca, though. The average hourly wage for a personal trainer is $29.30, finishing third-worst out of 301 metro areas in this study for its high cost.
Data and Methodology
To find the most fitness-friendly places in the country for 2021, we examined data for 301 metro areas across the following five metrics:
- Percentage of residents who walk or bike to work. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Concentration of fitness professionals. This is the number of fitness professionals per 10,000 workers. Our list of fitness professionals includes dietitians and nutritionists, recreational therapists, athletic trainers as well as fitness trainers and aerobics instructors. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics and is for May 2019.
- Concentration of fitness establishments. This is the number of fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments. Our list of fitness establishments includes sporting goods stores and fitness and recreational sports centers. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2018 Metro Area Business Patterns Survey.
- Concentration of fast-food restaurants. This is the percentage of restaurants that are limited-service establishments. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2018 Metro Area Business Patterns Survey.
- Average hourly wage of personal trainers. Given the limited availability of direct data about the cost to consumers for personal training services, this metric acts as a proxy to indicate the relative affordability of hiring a personal trainer in a given metro area. Data comes from the BLS and is for May 2019.
First, we ranked each metro area in each metric. Then we found each placeâs average ranking, giving all metrics a full weight except for concentration of fast-food restaurants and average hourly wage of personal trainers, each of which received a half weight. Using this average ranking, we created our final score. The metro area with the highest average ranking received a score of 100, and the metro area with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.
Tips for a Fit and Financially Secure Life
- Find the right financial fit. No matter what your fitness goals are, financially you want to make sure you are secure, and a financial advisor can help. Finding the right financial advisor doesnât have to be hard. SmartAssetâs free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If youâre ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Consider the health of your budget. If you live somewhere where fitness is expensive, make a budget so that you can work the price into your monthly spending.
- Making bigger money moves? If youâre considering moving to one of the places we listed above, use SmartAssetâs tool to find out how much house you can afford before you make the big move.
Questions about our study? Contact email@example.com.
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The post Most Fitness-Friendly Places for 2021 appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
The number of Americans driving to work alone is on the rise, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. With the increase in drivers comes traffic, which means more time and money spent idling in cars. Some cities are better equipped to deal with the mass of drivers, managing to keep traffic delays and congestion to a minimum. Other cities are equipped with walkable streets and reliable mass transit options, making car ownership less necessary.
Check out mortgage rates in your area.
We considered these and other factors to find the worst cities to own a car. Specifically, we looked at hours spent in traffic per year for the average driver, the annual cost of traffic for the average driver, the rate of motor vehicle theft, the number of repair shops and parking garages per driver, the commuter stress index and the non-driving options a resident has for getting around. To understand where we got our data and how we put it together to create our final ranking, see the data and methodology section below.
- Cities on the coasts â The entire top 10 is comprised of cities on or close to the coasts. This makes sense as many of the largest cities in the country are located on the coasts. Plus, on the East Coast in particular, these cities tend to be older which means they were not built to handle car traffic.
- Grin and bear it â Traffic can get pretty bad. However, in some cities getting around by car is just about the only option you have if you want to leave your house. Thus some cities with really bad traffic like Los Angeles or Long Beach didnât quite crack the top 10.
1. Newark, New Jersey
Brick City tops our ranking of the worst cities to own a car. Whatâs tough about being a car owner in Newark is the traffic. Itâs part of the New York City metro area which has 19 million people, 5 million of whom drive to work. Newark is stuck right in the middle of this bumper-to-bumper traffic. Plus, if youâre a car owner in Newark, the risk of having your car stolen is much higher than it is in other cities. Newark ranks eighth in the country for motor vehicle thefts per 1,000 residents.
Related Article: The States With the Worst Drivers
2. San Francisco, California
The City in the Bay grabs the second spot for worst places to own a car. Being stuck in traffic costs the average commuter in San Francisco $1,600 per year. That cost includes both the value of the time spent in traffic and the cost of gas. SF is also one of the 10 worst cities for motor vehicle thefts per resident, another reason to forgo car ownership.
3. Washington, D.C.
The District and the surrounding metro area sees some of the worst traffic in the country. The average D.C. commuter spends 82 hours per year in traffic. Depending on how you slice it, thatâs either two working weeks or almost three-and-a-half days of doing nothing but shaking your fist at your fellow drivers. That traffic is equal to an annual cost of $1,834 per commuter.
4. Oakland, California
One argument against car ownership in Oakland is the crime. There were almost 6,400 motor vehicle thefts in the city of Oakland or 15 auto thefts per 1,000 residents. Thatâs the highest rate in the country. The average Oakland driver can also expect to spend 78 hours per year in traffic. On the plus side, if something goes wrong with your wheels in Oakland, it shouldnât be too difficult to get it fixed. There are more than six repair shops per 10,000 drivers in Oakland â the highest rate in the top 10.
5. Arlington, Virginia
As previously mentioned, the Washington, D.C. metro area has the worst traffic in the country. Unfortunately for the residents of Arlington, they are a part of that metro area. They face the same brutal 82 hours per year spent in traffic, on average. It costs Arlington residents $1,834 per year, on average, waiting in that traffic. For residents of Arlington, a car is more of a necessity than it is for people living in D.C., which is why it ranks lower in our study.
6. Portland, Oregon
Of all the cities in our top 10, Portland is the least onerous for the driving commuter. Commuters driving around the Portland metro area can be thankful that, on average, they spent only 52 hours per year in traffic. That traffic still costs each driver about $1,200. However, drivers in Portland looking for a parking garage may be out of luck. Portland has the second-lowest number of parking garages per driver in our study, and if you are looking to get your car fixed, Portland ranks in the bottom 13 for repair shops per capita.
7. Anaheim, California
Anaheim commuters are well-acquainted with traffic. Anaheim (and the rest of the Los Angeles metro area) ranks third in average hours per year spent in traffic, first for commuter stress index and fifth for annual cost of idling in traffic. Anaheim only ranks seventh because Walkability.com gives the city a 46 out of 100 for non-driving options. Thatâs the lowest score in our top 10 meaning, while owning a car here is a pain, not owning one makes getting around a true struggle.
8. New York, New York
New York is the rare American city where public transportation is usually your best bet for getting from point A to point B. All that accessibility makes car ownership unnecessary here. For New Yorkers who do drive, the traffic is not pleasant. New York drivers spend $1,700 per year, on average, waiting in traffic. Thatâs the third-highest cost in our study.
Not sure if youâre ready to buy in NYC? Check out our rent vs. buy calculator.
9. Seattle, Washington
Seattle has pretty bad traffic. Commuters here probably arenât surprised to hear the average driver spends 63 hours per year in traffic. And coupled with the traffic is the high number of motor vehicle thefts. Seattle has the fourth-highest rate of motor vehicle thefts per 1,000 residents in the country.
10. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston ranked well in our study on the most livable cities in the U.S. partially based on how easy it is to get around without a car. After New York and San Francisco, Boston is the most walkable city in the country, making the cost of having a car one expense which Bostonians can possibly go without. Although occasionally maligned, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority is a great option for commuters who want to avoid the 64 hours per year Boston drivers spend in traffic.
Data and Methodology
In order to rank the worst cities to own a car, we looked at data on the 100 largest cities in the country. Specifically we looked at these seven factors:
- Average total hours commuters spend in traffic per year. Data comes from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card.
- Cost of time spent in traffic per person. This measures the value of extra travel time and the extra fuel consumed by vehicles in traffic. Travel time is calculated at a value of $17.67 per hour per person. Fuel cost per gallon is the average price for each state. Data comes from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card.
- Commuter stress index. This metric is developed by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card. It measures the difference in travel time during peak congestion and during no congestion. A higher ratio equals a larger difference.
- Non-driving options. This metric measures the necessity of owning a car in each city by considering the cityâs walk score, bike score and transit score. We found the average of those three scores for each city. Higher scores mean residents are less reliant on cars. Data comes from Walkability.com.
- Motor vehicle thefts per 1,000 residents. Data on population and motor vehicle thefts comes from the FBIâs 2015 Uniform Crime Reporting Program and from local police department and city websites. We used the most up to date data available for cities where 2015 data was not available.
- Number of repair shops per 10,000 drivers. Data on drivers comes from Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card. Data on repair shops comes from the U.S. Census Bureauâs 2014 Business Patterns Survey.
- Parking garages per 10,000 drivers. Data on drivers comes from Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card. Data on parking garages comes from the U.S. Census Bureauâs 2014 Business Patterns Survey.
We ranked each city across each factor, giving double weight to non-driving options and half weight to motor vehicle thefts per driver, repair shops per driver and parking garages per driver. All other factors received single weight. We then found the average ranking across each city. Finally we gave each city a score based on their average ranking. The city with the highest average received a score of 100 and the city with the lowest average received a score of 0.
Questions about our study? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The post The Worst Cities to Own a Car appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
Pursuing a four-year degree or higher isnât for everyone. If you fall into that group, it doesnât mean you canât get a high-paying job. There are a surprising number of trade jobs that pay salaries at or above careers that require a four-year degree. They pay well because theyâre in demand and are expected to grow for the foreseeable future.
To earn that kind of money, youâll need to land one of the best trade jobs. And while they may not require a four-year degree, most do require some type of specialized education, typically an associateâs degree (which you can often get from an online college). That has a lot of advantages by itself, because a two-year education is a lot less expensive than a full four-year program.
I covered theÂ best jobs with no college degree previously, and this post is specifically about trade jobs. Choose one that interests you – and fits within your income expectations â then read the description for it. Iâve given you the requirements to enter the trade, the income, working conditions, employment projections and any required education. After reading this guide, youâll already be on your way to your new career!
Benefits of Pursuing Trade Jobs
For a lot of young people, going to a four-year college is the default choice. But when you see how well the trade jobs pay, and how much less education they require, I think youâll be interested.
Apart from income, here are other benefits to the best trade jobs:
- Youâll need only a two-year degree or less, so youâll save tens of thousands of dollars on your education.
- Youâll graduate and begin earning money in half as much time as it will take you to complete a four-year degree.
- Since trade jobs are highly specialized, youâll mainly be taking courses related to the job, and less of the general courses that are required with a four-year degree.
- Some schools provide job placement assistance to help you land that first position.
- Since most of these jobs are in strong demand, the likelihood of finding a job quickly after graduation is very high.
Still another major benefit is geographic mobility, if thatâs important to you. Since the best trade jobs are in demand virtually everywhere in the country, youâll be able to choose where you want to live. Or if life takes one of those strange turns â that it tends to do â youâll be able to make a move easily without needing to worry about finding a job. Thereâs an excellent chance one will be waiting for you wherever you go.
The Best Paying Trade Jobs
The table below shows some of the highest paying trades you can enter without a bachelorâs degree or higher. However, most do require at least an associateâs degree (AA) or equivalent education. Not surprisingly, occupations in the medical field are the most common.
The salary indicated is the median for the entire country. But there are large differences from one area of the country to another. Salary information is taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook.
|Trade||Median Salary||Education Requirement|
|Air traffic controllers||$122,990||AA or BS from Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative Program|
|Radiation therapists||$85,560||AA degree|
|Nuclear technicians (nuclear research and energy)||$82,080||AA degree|
|Nuclear medicine technologists||$77,950||AA degree|
|Dental hygienists||$76,220||AA degree|
|Web developers||$73,760||AA degree|
|Diagnostic medical sonographers||$68,750||AA degree|
|MRI technologists||$62,280||AA degree|
|Licensed practical nurses||$47,480||AA degree or state approved educational program|
The table doesnât list other common trades, like electricians, plumbers, elevator repair techs, welders or mechanics. To enter those fields youâll usually need to participate in an apprentice program sponsored by an employer, though there may be certain courses youâll need to complete.
The Best Trade Jobs in Detail
The table above summarized the best trade jobs, as well as the median salary and the basic educational requirements. Below is additional information specific to each job â and more important â why itâs a career worth considering.
Air Traffic Controller
Air traffic controllers coordinate aircraft both on the ground and in the air around airports. They work in control towers, approach control facilities or route centers. The pay is nearly $123,000 per year, and the job outlook is stable.
Education/Training Required: Youâll need at least an associateâs degree, and sometimes a bachelorâs degree, that must be issued by the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative Program. There are only 29 colleges across the country that offer the program. Some of the more recognizable names include Arizona State University, Kent State University, Purdue University, Southern New Hampshire University (SHNU), and the University of Oklahoma.
Job Challenges: The limited number of colleges offering the program may be inconvenient for you. The job also requires complete concentration, which can be difficult to maintain over a full shift. Youâll also be required to work nights, weekends, and even rotating shifts. And since the pay is high and demand for air traffic controllers expected to be flat over the next few years, thereâs a lot of competition for the positions.
Why you may want to become an air traffic controller:
- The pay is an obvious factor â itâs much higher than most jobs that require a bachelorâs degree.
- You have a love for aviation and want to be in the middle of where the action is.
- Jobs are available at small private and commercial airports, as well as major metropolitan airports.
Radiation therapists are critical in the treatment of cancer and other diseases that require radiation treatments. The work is performed mostly in hospitals and outpatient centers, but can also be in physician offices. Income is well over $85,000 per year, and the field is expected to grow by 9% over the next decade, which is faster than average for the job market at large.
Education/Training Required: Youâll need either an associateâs or bachelorâs degree in radiation therapy, and licensing is required in most states. That usually involves passing a national certification exam.
Job Challenges: Youâll be working largely with cancer patients, so youâll need a keen sensitivity to the patientâs youâre working with. Youâll need to be able to explain the treatment process and answer questions patients might have. There may also be the need to provide some degree of emotional support. Also, if youâre working in a hospital, the position may involve working nights and weekends.
Why you may want to become a radiation therapist:
- You have a genuine desire to help in the fight against cancer.
- The medical field offers a high degree of career and job stability.
- The position pays well and typically comes with a strong benefits package.
Nuclear technicians work in nuclear research and energy. They provide assistance to physicists, engineers, and other professionals in the field. Work will be performed in offices and control rooms of nuclear power plants, using computers and other equipment to monitor and operate nuclear reactors. The pay level is about $82,000 per year, and job growth is expected to be slightly negative.
Education/Training Required: Youâll need an associateâs degree in nuclear science or a nuclear related technology. But youâll also need to complete extensive on-the-job training once you enter the field.
Job Challenges: There is some risk of exposure to radiation, though all possible precautions are taken to keep that from happening. And because nuclear power plants run continuously, you should expect to do shift work that may also include a variable schedule. The biggest challenge may be that the field is expected to decline slightly over the next 10 years. But that may be affected by public attitudes toward nuclear energy, especially as alternative energy sources are developed.
Why you may want to become a nuclear technician:
- You get to be on the cutting edge of nuclear research.
- Compensation is consistent with the better paying college jobs, even though it requires only half as much education.
- There may be opportunities to work in other fields where nuclear technician experience is a job requirement.
- Itâs the perfect career if you prefer not dealing with the general public.
Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Nuclear medicine technologists prepare radioactive drugs that are administered to patients for imaging or therapeutic procedures. Youâll typically be working in a hospital, but other possibilities are imaging clinics, diagnostic laboratories, and physicianâs offices. The position pays an average of $78,000 per year, and demand is expected to increase by 7% over the next decade.
Education/Training Required: Youâll need an Associates degree from an accredited nuclear medicine technology program. In most states, youâll also be required to become certified.
Job Challenges: Similar to radiation therapists, youâll need to be sensitive to patient needs, and be able to explain procedures and therapies. If youâre working in a hospital, you may be required to work shifts, including nights, weekends, and holidays.
Why you may want to become a nuclear medicine technologist:
- You have a strong desire to work in the healthcare field, participating in the healing process.
- Nuclear medicine technologists are in demand across the country, so you can choose your location.
- The field has an unusual level of job stability, as well as generous compensation and benefits.
Dental hygienists provide dental preventative care and examine patients for various types of oral disease. They work almost entirely in dentists offices, and can be either full-time or part-time. The annual income is over $76,000, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a healthy 11% growth rate over the next decade.
Education/Training Required: An associateâs degree in dental hygiene, though it usually takes three years to complete rather than the usual two. Virtually all states require dental hygienists to be licensed, though requirements vary by state.
Job Challenges: Youâll need to be comfortable working in peopleâs mouths, some of whom may have extensive gum disease or poor dental hygiene. But you also need to have a warm bedside manner. Many people are not comfortable going to the dentist, let alone having their teeth cleaned, and youâll need to be able to keep them calm during the process.
Why you may want to become a dental hygienist:
- Dental hygienists have relatively regular hours. Though some offices may offer early evening hours and limited Saturday hours, youâll typically be working during regular business hours only.
- You can work either full-time or part-time. Part-time is very common, as well as rewarding with an average hourly pay of $36.65.
- Dental hygienists can work anywhere thereâs a dental office, which is pretty much everywhere in the Western world.
Web developers design and create websites, making the work a nice mix of technical and creative. They work in all types of environments, including large and small companies, government agencies, small businesses, and advertising agencies. Some are even self-employed. With an average annual income of nearly $74,000, jobs in the field are expected to grow by 13% over the next decade. That means web developers have a promising future.
Education/Training Required: Typically an associates degree, but thatâs not hard and fast. Large companies may require a bachelorâs degree, but itâs also possible to enter the field with a high school diploma and plenty of experience designing websites. It requires a knowledge of both programming and graphic design.
Job Challenges: Youâll need the ability to concentrate for long stretches, as well as to follow through with both editing and troubleshooting of the web platforms you develop. Good customer service skills and a lot of patience are required, since employers and clients are given to change direction, often with little notice.
Why you may want to become a web developer:
- Itâs an excellent field for anyone who enjoys working with computers, and has a strong creative streak.
- Web designers are needed in just about every area of the economy, giving you a wide choice of jobs and industries, as well as geographic locations.
- This is one occupation that can lead to self-employment. It can be done as a full-time business, but it can also make the perfect side hustle.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Diagnostic medical sonographers operate special imaging equipment designed to create images for aid in patient diagnoses. Most work in hospitals where the greatest need is, but some also work in diagnostic labs and physicianâs offices. The pay is nearly $69,000 per year, and the field is expected to expand by 14%, which is much faster than the rest of the job market.
Education/Training Required: Most typically only an associateâs degree in the field, or at least a postsecondary certificate from a school specializing in diagnostic medical sonography.
Job Challenges: Similar to other health related fields, youâll need to have a calm disposition at all times. Many of the people youâll be working with have serious health issues, and you may need to be a source of comfort while youâre doing your job. Youâll need to develop a genuine compassion for the patients youâll be working with.
Why you may want to become a diagnostic medical sonographer
- The field has an exceptionally high growth rate, promising career stability.
- As a diagnostic medical sonographer, youâll be able to find work in just about any community you choose to live in.
- Itâs an opportunity to earn a college level income with just a two-year degree.
As an MRI technologist, youâll be performing diagnostic imaging exams and operating magnetic resonance imaging scanners. About half of all positions are in hospitals, with the rest employed in other healthcare facilities, including outpatient clinics, diagnostic labs, and physicianâs offices. The average pay is over $62,000 per year, and the field is expected to grow by 9% over the next 10 years.
Education/Training Required: Youâll need an associateâs degree in MRI technology, and even though very few states require licensing, employers often prefer candidates who are. MRI technologists often start out as radiologic technologists, eventually transitioning into MRI technologists.
Job Challenges: Similar to other healthcare occupations, youâll need to have both patience and compassion in working with patients. Youâll also need to be comfortable working in windowless offices and labs during the workday.
Why you may want to become an MRI technologist:
- With more than 250,000 jobs across the country, youâre pretty much guaranteed of finding work on your own terms.
- Youâll typically be working regular business hours, though you may do shift work and weekends and holidays if you work at a hospital.
- Solid job growth means you can look forward to career stability and generous benefits.
Paralegals assist lawyers, mostly by doing research and preparing legal documents. Client contact can range between frequent and nonexistent, depending on the law office youâre working in. But while most paralegals do work for law firms, many are also employed in corporate legal departments and government agencies. The position averages nearly $52,000 per year and is expected to grow by 12% over the next 10 years.
Education/Training Required: Technically speaking there are no specific education requirements for a paralegal. But most employers wonât hire you unless you have at least an associateâs degree, as well as a paralegal certification.
Job Challenges: Youâll need to have a willingness to perform deep research. And since youâll often be involved in preparing legal documents, youâll need a serious eye for detail. Youâll also need to be comfortable with the reality that much of what takes place in a law office involves conflict between parties. You may find yourself in the peacemaker role more than occasionally. Thereâs also a strong variation in pay between states and even cities. For example, while average pay in Washington DC is over $70,000 per year, itâs only about $48,000 in Tampa.
Why you may want to become a paralegal:
- There are plenty of jobs in the field, with more than 325,000. That means youâll probably be able to find a job anywhere in the country.
- Youâll have a choice of work environments, whether itâs a law office, large company, or government agency.
- You can even choose the specialization since many law firms work in specific niches. For example, one firm may specialize in real estate, another in family law, and still another in disability cases.
Licensed Practical Nurses
Licensed practical nurses provide basic nursing care, often assisting registered nurses. There are more than 700,000 positions nationwide, and jobs are available in hospitals, doctorâs offices, nursing homes, extended care facilities, and even private homes. With an average pay level of over $47,000 per year, the field is expected to grow by 11% over the next decade.
Education/Training Required: At a minimum, youâll need to complete a state approved LPN education program, which will take a year to complete. But many employers prefer candidates to have an associateâs degree, and will likely pay more if you do. As medical caregivers, LPNs must also be licensed in all states.
Job Challenges: As an LPN, just as is the case with registered nurses, youâll be on the front line of the healthcare industry. That means constant contact with patients and family members. Youâll need to be able to provide both care and comfort to all. If youâre working in a hospital, nursing home, or extended care facility, youâll be doing shift work, including nights and weekends.
Why you may want to become a licensed practical nurse:
- With jobs available at hospitals and care facilities across the country, youâll have complete geographic mobility as well as a choice of facilities.
- You may be able to parlay your position into registered nursing by completing the additional education requirements while working as an LPN.
- Though most positions are full-time, it may be possible to get a part-time situation if thatâs your preference.
Start On Your Career Path by Enrolling in a Trade School
If you want to enter any of the trades above, or one of the many others that also have above average pay and opportunity, youâll need to enroll in a trade school. However, in many cases it will be better to get the necessary education â especially an associateâs degree â at a local community college. Not only are they usually the least expensive places to get higher education, but thereâs probably one close to your home.
Steps to enrolling in a trade school
Whether you go to a community college, a trade school, or enroll in a certificate program, use the following strategy:
- Develop a short list of the schools you want to attend to give yourself some choices.
Make sure any school youâre considering is accredited.
- Do some digging and make sure the school you want to attend has a job placement office with a solid record of success.
- Complete an application form with the school, but be sure to do it well in advance of the beginning of the semester or school year.
- Apply for any financial aid that may be available. You can use the tool below to get started.
- Consider whether you want to attend on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time will be quicker, but part-time will enable you to earn money while youâre getting your certificate or degree, as well as spread the cost of your schooling over several years.
Tax credits can help you afford your education
Even if you donât qualify for financial aid, the government may still be able to help by providing tax credits. Tax credits can be even better than tax deductions, because they provide a direct reduction of your tax liability.
For example, the American Opportunity Credit is available for students for qualified education expenses paid for the first four years of higher education. The credit is $2,500 per year, covering 100% of the first $2,000 in qualified education expenses, plus 25% of the next $2,000.
Another credit is the Lifetime Learning Credit. Itâs a credit for tuition and other education expenses paid for courses taken to acquire or improve job skills, including formal degree programs. The credit is worth up to $2,000 per tax return, based on 20% of education expenses up to $10,000 paid.
What to watch out for when looking for trade schools
When choosing a trade school it pays not to be too trusting. While that shouldnât be a problem with community colleges, since theyâre publicly accredited, there are a large number of for-profit trade schools that are not only expensive, but they often donât have the best reputations. That isnât to say all for-profit schools are scam artists, but the possibility is real.
Make sure the school is accredited by your state.
Donât rely on assurances by the school that theyâre accredited by some poorly known and totally unrecognized industry trade group.
Check out the school with reliable third-party sources.
This can include your state Department of Education, the Better Business Bureau, and even reviews on Yelp or other social media sites. If the school has burned others, you could be a future victim.
Interview people already working in your chosen field.
Theyâre likely to know which schools are legitimate, and which have a less than savory reputation.
Donât ignore cost!
Donât pay $30,000 at a for-profit school when you can get the same education for half as much at a community college. This will be even more important if you will be using student loans to pay for your education. Overpaying for school means youâll be overpaying on your student loan.
How We Found the Best Trade Jobs of 2021
Just so you know our list of the best trade jobs isnât just our opinion, we used the following methodology in including the occupations we did:
- The occupations frequently appear on published lists of âthe best jobs without a college degreeâ.
- We focused on those occupations that appeared frequently across several lists.
- We specifically chose fields that could best be considered semi-professional. That means that while they donât require a four-year degree or higher, they do require at least some form of education, and in most cases, a certification. We consider this an important criteria, because career fields with a low entry bar can easily become saturated, forcing pay levels down.
- As the table at the beginning of this guide discloses, statistical information for each of these occupations was obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Summary: The Best Trade Jobs
If you’re a high school student, a recent high school graduate, or youâre already in the workforce and looking to make a career change, take a close look at these trade jobs. They pay salaries comparable to jobs that require a four-year college degree, but you can enter with just a two-year degree or less.
That will not only cut the time, cost, and effort in getting your education in half, but it will also enable you to begin earning high pay in only one or two years.
Pick the field thatâs right for you, choose a reputable trade school or community college, then get started in time for the next semester.
The post The Highest Paying Trade Jobs On the Market appeared first on Good Financial CentsÂ®.
For most people, working is inevitable: You need a job to afford your lifestyle. The trick, of course, is to find a balance where you can earn the money you need without spending all of your time in the workplace. Some of that depends on what the work culture is like in your city, how much you need to earn to pay for housing and how long you have to spend getting to work. To that end, SmartAsset analyzed 100 of the biggest cities in the country to find the best cities for work-life balance for 2021.
To do so, we considered data on the following metrics: walk score; arts, entertainment and recreation establishments as a percentage of all establishments; restaurants as a percentage of all establishments; housing costs as a percentage of income; average weeks worked per year; average hours worked per week; average commute time; percentage of workers with a commute longer than 60 minutes; October 2020 unemployment rate and labor force participation rate. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAssetâs fourth study on the cities with the best work-life balance. Read the 2020 version here.
- Big city commuting blues. On average in our study, just 7.2% of commuters spend more than 60 minutes getting to and from work. In the biggest U.S. cities, though, that number can be much higher. For instance, 15.7% of commuters have a commute of at least an hour in San Francisco. In Boston, that figure is 11.9%. The city where the most commuters spend at least an hour on the go? New York City, where relatively packed subways and busy streets mean 27.2% of commuters spend at least an hour on travel alone, leaving even less time for recreation. New York also has the longest 2019 average commute time, at 41.7 minutes.
- Midwest consistency up top. Four Midwestern cities â Madison, Wisconsin; Lincoln, Nebraska; Omaha, Nebraska; and Columbus, Ohio â also made the top 10 in this study last year. Three of these cities â Madison, Lincoln and Omaha â excel because of their low unemployment rate, finishing in the top 10 this year. Columbus finishes a bit lower (20th) in that metric, but it does particularly well in terms of low housing costs as a percentage of income, ranking sixth.
1. Madison, WI
For the second year in a row, Madison, Wisconsin is the best city in America for work-life balance. Madison doesnât lead in any categories, but it does finish in the top 10% of the study for six out of 10 metrics. This includes coming in second-lowest for average hours worked per week (36.4), third-lowest for October 2020 unemployment rate (3.9%) and sixth-highest for labor force participation rate (73.2%).
2. Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach, Virginia ranks in the top 10% of this study for two metrics: fourth-highest for restaurants as a percentage of all establishments (10.10%) and sixth-lowest for October 2020 unemployment rate (4.7%). The beach town also ranks in the top 20% of the study for two other metrics: 14th-best for labor force participation rate (71.9%) and 17th-best for arts, entertainment and recreation establishments as a percentage of all establishments (1.88%).
3. Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis is the first Minnesota city to make this list, and it does so on the back of finishing in the top five for two different metrics: third for a strong labor force participation rate (74.9%) and fifth for a low October 2020 unemployment rate (4.5%). Minneapolis also places 12th-best in terms of housing costs as a percentage of income at 29.43%.
4. Lincoln, NE
Lincoln, Nebraska has the lowest October 2020 unemployment rate in the study, just 2.7%. Lincoln also finishes second for the best commute time, an average of just 18.4 minutes, and places sixth-lowest for the percentage of commuters with a commute of longer than 60 minutes, just 2.7%. Lincoln finishes near the bottom of the study, though, in terms of the average weeks worked per year, at 39.65.
5. Omaha, NE
Another Nebraska locale is next â Omaha. The unemployment rate there in October 2020 was 3.3%, the second-lowest in the study â giving the top two spots in that metric to Nebraskan cities. Omaha also places eighth-best in terms of average commute time. The average commuter in Omaha spends just 20.1 minutes in transit, a far cry from the traffic-packed streets of some bigger cities. Omaha residents do work much of the year, finishing in the bottom quartile with 38.47 weeks worked per year.
6. Arlington, VA
Arlington, Virginia is a suburb of Washington, D.C., and it has the highest labor force participation rate in this study, 78.0%. Arlington also ranks second-lowest in the study for housing costs as a percentage of income â housing costs make up just 26.14% of income on average. People do work a lot in the town, though. Arlington ranks dead last in both the metrics measuring how much people work â an average of 41.3 hours per week and 41.80 weeks per year.
7. St. Paul, MN
St. Paul, Minnesota joins its twin city, Minneapolis, on this list and ranks in the top 10% percent of this study for three different metrics:
- Fourth for average hours worked per week (36.8).
- Sixth for October 2020 unemployment rate (4.7%).
- 10th for arts, entertainment and recreation establishments as a percentage of all establishments (2.04%).
8. Columbus, OH
Columbus, Ohio comes in sixth for housing costs as a percentage of income, at 27.53%. That is the only metric for which Columbus places in the top 10, but it does finish 11th-best for labor force participation rate (72.4%) and 20th-best for October 2020 unemployment rate (5.4%). Columbus finishes in the bottom quartile of this study for the metric measuring how many weeks per year people work on average, at 38.16.
9. Durham, NC
In Durham, North Carolina, just 2.7% of workers have a commute of at least an hour, the sixth-lowest total for this metric in the study. The average commute in Durham is 22.6 minutes, the 25th-lowest time spent traveling to work that we observed overall. Durham is not a particularly walkable city, however, finishing in the bottom 10% of the study in terms of walk score.
10. Lexington-Fayette, KY
Lexington-Fayette is the final entry into our top 10, and it finishes in the top 15% for three metrics:
- 14th for arts, entertainment and recreation establishments as a percentage of all establishments (1.95%)
- 14th for average commute time (21 minutes)
- 15th for housing costs as a percentage of income (29.66%)
Lexington suffers when it comes to walkability, though, finishing in the bottom quartile of the study in terms of walk score.
Data and Methodology
To find the best cities for work-life balance, we compared 100 of the largest cities in America across the following metrics:
- Walk score. Data comes from walkscore.com and is for 2020.
- Concentration of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments. This is the number of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments as a percentage of all establishments. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2018 County Business Patterns Survey.
- Concentration of restaurants. This is the number of restaurants as a percentage of all establishments. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2018 County Business Patterns Survey.
- Housing costs as a percentage of income. This is the median housing costs as a percentage of income for full-time workers. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Average number of weeks worked per year. This is how many weeks per year local employees work. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Average number of hours worked per week. This is the average number of hours a worker works in a week. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Average commute time. This is the average number of minutes it takes for a worker to commute to work. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Percentage of workers with a commute longer than 60 minutes. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Unemployment rate. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is for October 2020.
- Labor force participation rate. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
First, we ranked each city in each metric. We then found the average ranking for each city. Walk score, concentration of arts and entertainment establishments, concentration of restaurants, housing costs as a percentage of income and labor force participation rate received a full weight. Weeks worked per year, hours worked per week, average commute time and percentage of workers with a commute of more than an hour each received a half weight. Unemployment rate received a double weight. We then ranked the cities based on this average. The top city received an index score of 100 and the bottom city received an index score of 0.
Tips for Finding a Healthy Financial Balance
- Itâs easier to find balance if you can find support first. Once you have money, making sure it works for you can help you tip the scales of work-life balance in favor of life. A financial advisor can help with that. Finding the right financial advisor doesnât have to be hard. SmartAssetâs free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If youâre ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Budgeting is key. A budget can take care of your money decisions in advance and leave you with more time to actually enjoy life.
- Save now if possible. When you retire, youâll likely be hoping to really live life without worrying about work for the first time. Make sure you use a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k) if it is available to you, as thatâs the best way to save for retirement and allow for travel and other leisure in your golden years.
Questions about our study? Contact email@example.com.
Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/MundusImages
The post Cities With the Best Work-Life Balance â 2021 Edition appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
When you think of big cities, Los Angeles, Chicago or New York likely come to mind. Salt Lake City â the capital of Utah â isn’t the most frequently talked about âbig city” in the country. That being said, it is up and coming and has a lot to offer those who are considering making the move.
While Utah is a predominantly conservative state with a strong religious culture, it offers a wide mix of neighborhoods. The charming neighborhoods scattered throughout the city are full of boutiques, small businesses and appealing restaurants that will make you want to eat out every meal.
Salt Lake City also has many schools â elementary through college and university â for people who are looking for a great education for their children or themselves. The city is also becoming more popular thanks to Silicon Slopes, the tech hub just south of the city center. The cost of living in Salt Lake City is relatively inexpensive when compared to larger cities, too.
There are always pros and cons when moving to a new city. Here are 10 things to know about living in Salt Lake City before you make your decision about moving to the Beehive State.
1. The weather can change quickly
Salt Lake City experiences all four seasons. People who live here often joke that the weather changes every 20 minutes. It can be freezing and snowing in the morning and then hot by noon. Some of the ski resorts have even been open on the Fourth of July! People can ski in the morning and spend the afternoon soaking by the pool.
Each season offers something truly fantastic for residents of Salt Lake. The winters are filled with crisp, white snow and brisk air. Fall is perfect for light jacket weather, and the changing leaves are spectacular in every canyon. Spring welcomes a much-needed break from the cold with perfect temperatures and beautiful blooming flowers. The summer comes all at once, hot and blistering making you long for the cold winter days. But no matter the season, S.L.C. is always beautiful.
2. It’s cheaper than other big cities
Compared to large, metro cities across the nation, the cost of living in Salt Lake is relatively inexpensive. The average rate for rent of a one-bedroom apartment dropped 11 percent between 2019 and 2020. Here’s a quick look at 2020 apartment costs in S.L.C.:
- Studio apartment: $1,129
- One-bedroom apartment: $1,245
- Two-bedroom apartment: $1,565
Other utilities and expenses, such as food, gas and groceries, are all reasonably priced in Salt Lake City, too.
3. It’s not all Mormon (but there is a lot)
To understand the culture of Salt Lake City and Utah, you have to know a little about its history. In the year 1847, a group of Mormon pioneers trekked to Utah pulling wagons and handcarts and settled in the valley. For the next several decades, many more wagons full of Mormons followed as they escaped religious persecution back East. Because of this, the majority of residents in Utah are Mormon or have a family history rooted to the LDS church.
That being said, there are still plenty of other religions in the state. Salt Lake City is an ever-changing place with hip, up-and-coming liberal areas, such as Sugar House and nearby resorts like Park City. The city has also recently been named one of the best places for millennials in the country.
Conservative or not, there’s a spot for you in Salt Lake City.
4. There’s a real food scene
Green Jell-O may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the food in Salt Lake City. However, Salt Lake City boasts a diverse restaurant scene. You can find anything from Mexican food to French bakeries to authentic Japanese food within a block from each other.
Restaurants like Sapa in downtown Salt Lake put a modern twist on Japanese favorites. If you’re in the mood for a cafÃ© where you can sit down, drink coffee and pretend you’re in Paris, try Eva’s Bakery located on Main Street in the heart of the city. Their pastries never disappoint. Or, try the nationally acclaimed Mexican restaurant Red Iguana.
Utah also has food that can’t be found anywhere else, such as fry sauce. The delicious blend of ketchup and mayo is the perfect fry accessory and will leave you wondering why you can’t find it elsewhere.
5. âThe best snow on earth”
When driving through S.L.C., you’ll probably stumble upon a license plate that reads âThe Best Snow on Earth.” That’s because, among other things, Utah is known for its incredible mountains and ski resorts. Every year, the mountains get an abundance of powdery snow. According to Ski Utah, the Utah Cottonwood Canyons are one of the snowiest places on earth. The weather and climate in Utah create the perfect powder that makes your skis glide down the mountain flawlessly.
One of the best things about skiing in Utah is that the resorts are all relatively close to Salt Lake City, and there are a lot to choose from. Places like Deer Valley Ski Resort bring in people from all over the world â this was one of the ski resorts that hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Although this particular resort doesn’t allow snowboarders, there are plenty of other resorts that do, like Brighton. Ski season can last anywhere from November to late April and sometimes even longer. If you like outdoor activities in the winter, you’ll love living in Salt Lake City.
6. The mountains are also great in the summer
When people aren’t skiing the mountains, they’re hiking them as Salt Lake City is close to a lot of trails â give or take 30 minutes from the city center to the top of the canyon and trailheads. There are moderate trails, such as Neffs Canyon, that are dog friendly to more difficult trails like Mount Olympus. These trails make for a great way to spend your spring afternoon. Hike in the morning and watch the sunrise â or midday and take a second to enjoy the view.
7. The sports scene is underrated
Utah’s sports scene includes some professional teams, several minor league outfits and colleges to support. In the heart of downtown Salt Lake City is the Jazz â the state’s NBA team. Catch a game during the season and watch stars like Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert in action.
If basketball isn’t your thing, check out a soccer match and cheer on Real Salt Lake. Other sports teams native to Utah are the baseball team, The Bees, and the hockey team, The Grizzlies. You can also check out a rivalry game between BYU and Utah during college football season. No matter your sport of choice, you can enjoy a hot dog and churro and cheer on your sports team.
8. Transportation and traffic isn’t that bad … usually
Traffic in Salt Lake is moderate. There are, of course, areas that see heavier traffic, especially if you’re heading southbound out of S.L.C., but on the whole, it’s not that bad. The streets in Salt Lake feel massive compared to other cities around the world. When Salt Lake was built, the roads had to be big enough that a wagon being pulled by ox could make a full U-turn. The city’s grid-like roads enable drivers to get around the city without confusion.
9. The air quality is surprisingly not great
One of the major cons of living in Salt Lake City is air quality. According to IQAir, S.L.C. has some of the worst air quality in the country. Part of the reason is its location in a valley that traps the pollution, making it difficult to cycle in new, clean air. Winter is the worst season for air pollution in the city, but the pollution fluctuates year-round.
10. The city is full of must-see places
Living in Salt Lake City gives you the advantage to see all that the state has to offer. In the winter, no matter your religious or spiritual beliefs, the Temple Square Christmas lights are a must-see. They bring to life the twinkle and magic that is the holiday season.
Park City is also a beautiful place to escape from the city during the winter. During the Sundance Film Festival, you might even spot a celebrity or 10. Southern Utah is also a must-visit. Utah has five national parks within a three- to four-hour drive from the city center â places like Zion, Bryce Canyon and Moab offer breathtaking views and scenery that just can’t be duplicated.
Living in Salt Lake City
There are so many pros to picking Salt Lake City as your place of residence. From all the outdoor activities to the diverse food scene, there’s something for everyone in Salt Lake City. You’ll enjoy the four seasons, the people and the opportunities that are present for everyone here.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in November 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.
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