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Top 10 Budget-Friendly Metropolitan Areas for Middle-Class Americans

Creditnews Research, an independent research firm, analyzed how income distribution correlates with housing expenses in the top 100 most populous metropolitan areas in the United States, aiming to identify locations where middle-class households can afford an average home.

The report categorized economic classes using income tiers derived from Pew Research’s household income percentile ranges:

  • Lower-middle class: Income ranging from $30,001 to $58,020.
  • Middle class: Income ranging from $58,021 to $94,000.
  • Upper-middle class: Income ranging from $94,001 to $153,000.

According to Creditnews Research, currently, the Midwest and certain Southern regions offer the most economical choices for middle-class families, contrasting with high-demand coastal cities such as San Francisco and New York City, which are out of reach even for affluent purchasers.

Ohio emerges as particularly noteworthy for providing an affordable lifestyle for America’s middle class. Creditnews Research identified three cities within the Buckeye State in their top 10 list, attributed to homeowner incentives such as grants and tax credits.

Top 10 Budget-Friendly Metropolitan Areas for Middle-Class Americans

  1. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA
  2. Toledo, OH
  3. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
  4. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA
  5. Wichita, KS
  6. Pittsburgh, PA
  7. Akron, OH
  8. El Paso, TX
  9. Syracuse, NY
  10. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR

Youngstown, once thriving due to its steel industry, faced a downturn in the 1970s. However, it has since undergone an economic and cultural revival. Prospective homebuyers typically need an income slightly above $40,000 to meet the requirements for a typical home.

Toledo ranks second on the list of the most affordable metropolitan areas for the American middle class. According to the report, the income required to afford an average home in Toledo is approximately $48,500, encompassing all three middle-class brackets: lower, middle, and upper.

Toledo, known as the “Glass City,” boasts a significantly lower cost of living compared to New York City, with expenses, excluding rent, being 41% less. Additionally, the average rent in Toledo is 74.5% lower than in the Big Apple. Beyond its affordability, Toledo provides residents with abundant outdoor recreational opportunities.


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