Looking for the best place to live in the United States? Alas, the razzle dazzle of city life probably won't come cheap. In fact, on average, U.S. urban dwellers shell out more than $9,000 extra annually for housing and child care compared with suburbanites, according to a new report from Zillow and Care.com. And in some cities, like New York and Chicago, the metropolis premium can be far higher: nearly $6,000 a month, the report found. Ouch.
Some good news: Certain cities defy that pattern, and it's actually cheaper for families to skip the 'burbs and stay put in a few select urban centers, including Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cleveland, according to the report.
In general, drawbacks to suburbia include less exposure to culture — and having to drive everywhere. Families need to weigh the costs and benefits of city-versus-suburban living, which vary depending on lifestyle. After all, there are certainly upsides to residing among white picket fences and manicured lawns, including access to top-rated public schools, more living space and, of course, lower costs, particularly in certain areas.
Want to know where you'll save the most money? See the list below.
These are the 10 big U.S. cities that you seriously might want to consider leaving — ranked in increasing order by the annual amount of money you could save by moving to a nearby suburb, per the report.
10. Boston, Massachusetts
Annual amount you could save by leaving: $8,080
Bostonites pay more than $7,600 extra compared to their suburban friends on average annual mortgage and property tax payments. But the difference in child care expenses is smaller; city residents pay only about $430 more. Those living in the outlying suburbs also enjoy around 400 more square feet of living space on average, which makes suburban life that much sweeter.
9. Sacramento, California
Annual amount you could save by leaving: $10,820
The average annual living and child care expense gaps aren't as significant for Sacramento's suburbs as they are for those of other cities, and the commute is longer than most. But, on the plus side, you will have more than 250 additional square footage on average living in the suburbs.
8. Seattle, Washington
Annual amount you could save by leaving: $11,380
If you move to the suburbs, you'll enjoy at least 220 more square footage of living space on average, plus a savings of about $7,060 in annual property taxes and mortgage payments. Child care is also more expensive in the city, though it's not as expensive as in other big U.S. metro areas.
7. Austin, Texas
Annual amount you could save by leaving: $11,520
You get more bang for your square-footage buck, as you can score, on average, about 570 additional square feet living in the suburbs versus the city of Austin. Suburban residents also save about $3,140 in average combined housing and child care expenses.
6. Atlanta, Georgia
Annual amount you could save by leaving: $12,560
Suburbanites commute only an two extra minutes to get to work, but still see a significant difference when it comes to property taxes and mortgage payments. Annual housing costs in the suburbs are on average about $13,570, compared to the $22,440 you'll pay in the city.
5. San Francisco, California
Annual amount you could save by leaving: $12,560
Plan to spend about $6,640 more in annual property taxes and mortgage payments to live in the city, plus an extra $5,920 in annual child care for two children. However, if you plan to move to the suburbs, your commute shouldn't be too much longer — and you'll get a higher housing return with a more expansive floor plan.
4. Washington, D.C.
Annual amount you could save by leaving: $12,830
One of the biggest savings in suburban D.C. is for child care, specifically about $6,120 for two children in daycare versus what you'd find in the city. Suburban home price savings are about $6,710, not to mention the extra average 430-plus square feet of living space you might find in the 'burbs.
3. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Annual amount you could save by leaving: $14,130
Both child care and housing is far less expensive if you live in the suburbs versus the city in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, plus those in the suburbs enjoy at least 250 more square feet on average in their suburban pads.
2. Chicago, Illinois
Annual amount you could save by leaving: $18,470
The cost difference between the city and suburban Illinois is big. Chicagoans pay one of the highest rates to raise a family in the city, though the commute from the 'burbs isn't considerably longer than if you lived within the city limits.
1. New York, NY
Annual amount you could save by leaving: $71,240
Housing is one of the biggest differentiators for New Yorkers, with the average family paying about $28,670 for annual property taxes and mortgage payments in the suburbs — versus $101,590 in the Big Apple. Plus, the average suburban resident enjoys at least 270 more square feet of living space.
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