Work to Live
This is how many hours you must work to pay the rent in Austin
Ever wonder how much of your time goes toward writing that rent check every month? SmartAsset crunched the numbers and calculated how many hours of work are needed to afford rent in America's 25 largest cities, including six in Texas.
The personal finance website looked at each city's data for average annual take-home pay, average hours worked per year, and median rent (all gathered from the U.S. Census). For the take-home pay, SmartAsset assumed each worker was contributing to an IRA or 401(k), took the standard deduction, and submitted as a single filer.
To get the final number, the site took average pay by hours worked, then divided the monthly median rent by the average hourly wage.
Austin, surprisingly, requires fewer hours than San Antonio — but not by much. Though Austin's rent is higher ($1,194 compared to $924), the estimated hourly wage is also more: $18.64 in Austin versus $14.36 in San Antonio. That all lands Austin at No. 13 with 64 hours, and San Antonio at No. 12 with 64.3 hours.
Houston gets the dubious distinction of landing in the top 10, despite paying the least in income tax on average compared to the other nine cities. But those low average earnings (just over $31,060 per year, or $14.36 per hour after taxes) and low rent ($952) cancel out the bonus of not having to pay state income tax. Workers in H-Town still need to put in 66.3 hours to cover their average monthly rent.
Dallas barely misses the top 10, coming in at No. 11 with 64.5 hours needed to cover the $935 rent. Its estimated $14.50 hourly wage gets slightly eclipsed by neighboring Fort Worth's $15.36, which translates to 63.4 hours necessary to pay the $974 rent and pushes Cowtown into No. 15 overall.
El Paso nets the lowest all-around numbers of any Texas city in the study, meaning its affordable $778 rent and 63 hours of work are balanced out by the $12.36 hourly earnings.
Much like Zillow's recent study about single homebuyers, residents of San Jose and Los Angeles have it the hardest, while Indianapolis once again scores as the easiest city in which to have a roof over your head.