Work Hard for the Money

Here's how many hours you must work to afford rent in Austin

Here's how many hours you must work to afford rent in Austin

Corazon Apartments Austin east
Breaking news: Rent is still really high in Austin. Corazon Apartments/Facebook

The recent news that it might be cheaper to rent than to buy in Austin has brought about another question: How do I afford this rent? Austin is a pricey city, and it feels like housing costs are getting higher by the day.

So finance website SmartAsset did a study to find out how many hours a person in each of the nation's 15 largest cities would have to work in order to pay their rent.

By looking at average hours worked per week, average weeks worked per year, median annual individual income, and median monthly gross rent (all pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau), the site determined that Austinites are toiling for 59.8 hours each month in order to write a $1,047 rent check.

SmartAsset calculated that the estimated hourly wage here is $17.52, which is actually pretty high when compared to Los Angeles' $13.78 or New York's $15.74. But we need that extra cash, because Austin has the highest rent of any Texas city in the study — by a lot.

Hard-working Dallas residents are putting in 171 total hours a month, but at $14 an hour need only 61.7 of those to afford their $863 rent. Houstonians are funding their monthly $873 cost by working for 62.8 hours at a wage of $13.91 per hour.

And though San Antonio has the cheapest Texas rent ($856), it also has the lowest hourly wage ($13.53). That means workers there have to put in the most time (63.3 hours) in order to cover their rent.

The study reinforces the expensiveness of big-city living, as even Indianapolis and Columbus — where you need to work the fewest hours to pay rent — have folks dedicating an average of 53.8 hours of work per month to it. But when compared with Los Angeles' 87.7 hours, our 60-ish hours don't seem so bad.