A recent report has found that the cost of raising a family is significantly higher in cities than in the suburbs. In fact, when defining a family as one that includes two children, the report found that those who live in urban areas spend an average of $9,073 per year on housing and childcare expenses when compared to families of the same size that live in the suburbs.
Paying a Premium to Live in the City
According to the report, New York City, Chicago and Dallas are the most costly places for families in terms of comparing the price of living in the city versus living in the suburbs. In New York City, families pay $71,237 more to live in the city than those who live in the suburbs. In Chicago, the difference is $18,472 while the difference in Dallas is $14,128.
In many cases, the cost of childcare was the factor that made the biggest difference between costs. In urban Minneapolis, for example the cost of childcare was $4,000 greater when compared to suburban childcare. On the other hand, the cost of housing was actually $189 cheaper in the city.
Comparing Costs in Boston
In Boston, families living in the city spend slightly below the national average at $8,076 per year. In terms of childcare, those who live in the suburbs pay an average of $27,507 in the city compared to $27,078 in the suburbs. Property taxes and mortgage costs are much higher in the city, with these costs adding up to an average of $32,130 in the city and $24,483 in the suburbs. This is despite the fact that homes are much smaller in the city, with the median square foot space being 1,262 square feet in the city compared to 1,666 in the suburbs. Altogether, the cost of housing and childcare expenses averages $59,637 for families in the city compared to $51,561 in the suburbs. Commute times do not vary significantly when comparing one setting to the next, with those who live in the suburbs having a median commute time of 30.6 minutes and those who live in the city having a commute time of 27.9 minutes.
At the national level, families living in the city spend an average of $43,652 on housing and childcare each year. In the suburbs, they spend $34,579 per year. Clearly, city living comes at a cost for most families, who could save significantly by choosing to live in the suburbs instead. Homes in the suburbs also tend to be larger while offering more yard space. On the other hand, a home in the city offers easy access to the city and all of the amenities that it has to offer. As such, families have to weigh the pros and the cons of what city living has to offer in order to determine if the extra cost and reduction in space is worthwhile. Furthermore, when considering the cost of purchasing a home in the city versus purchasing a home in the suburbs, families should consider more than just the initial price of the home.