$100,000 a year to live comfortably in Orlando? New study shows high cost of living.

A financial data and technology company recently released a ranking of nearly 100 large U.S. cities by the lowest annual salary needed to live comfortably, and Orlando ranked in the bottom third.

The 2024 study, which was conducted by SmartAsset, used the latest data from the MIT Living Wage Calculator to analyze the lowest annual salary needed for a single adult and two adults with children to live in sustainable comfort.

Using the 50/30/20 budgeting rule – allocating 50% of a person’s salary to needs such as housing groceries, and transportation; 30% toward wants like entertainment and hobbies; and 20% toward paying off debt, saving, or investing – SmartAsset derived the pre-tax salary needed to live comfortably in 99 U.S. cities.

SmartAsset stated that the basic cost of living was analyzed for an individual with no children and for two working adults with two children. Additionally, the data, which is current as of February 14, 2024, includes the cost of necessities such as housing, food, transportation, and income taxes.

According to the study, Orlando ranked 67th on the list, with a single adult needing an annual salary of $100,922 to live comfortably. In the case of two working adults with two children, the study indicated that a combined income of at least $215,904 is needed in order to comfortably reside in the city.

On average, the study showed that an individual needs an annual income of $96,500 to live comfortably in a major U.S. city. A family consisting of two adults and two children needs a combined salary of $235,000 to get by without the pressure of living paycheck to paycheck.

In six of the cities included in the study, two working adults need a combined income of over $300,000 to raise two kids comfortably with enough funds to cover needs, wants, and savings. Those cities include San Francisco, California ($339,123); San Jose, California ($334,547); Boston, Massachusetts ($319,738); Arlington, Virginia ($318,573); New York City, New York ($318,406); and Oakland, California ($316,243).

The study further showed that New York City is the most expensive city for single individuals, with an annual salary of $138,570 needed to live in comfort. To cover the cost of necessities as a single person in NYC, you would need an estimated $70,000 in wages.

According to the data, the three cheapest cities for single adults and two working adults with two kids are in Texas: Houston ($75,088 / $175,219), El Paso ($75,254 / $180, 461), and Lubbock ($75,379 / $181,043).

In addition to Orlando, five other Florida cities were included in the study: Port St. Lucie (39th), Jacksonville (40th), Tampa (tied-50th), St. Petersburg (tied-50th), and Miami (68th).

For more information on the study, or to read the complete list of cities included, visit SmartAsset’s Salary Needed To Live Comfortably – 2024 Study webpage.  

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