Study: How Much Does Living In A City Versus The Suburbs Really Cost Families?

Urban legends.

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city vs suburbs

Before you became a parent, The Burbs was an underrated Tom Hanks movie. But now that you have a kid, they’re somewhere you may want to consider moving no matter how many times you’ve insisted you never would. That’s because and Zillow recently found in their 2017 Cost Of Living Report that it could save you nearly 10 grand a year. Which means you’re welcome to stay a smug urban dweller, it’s just going to cost you.

Analyzing user data on basic housing and childcare costs, the study found that families spend about $9,073 more per year to live in cities. Living in some metropolitan areas, like New York and Chicago, can actually run parents as much as $71,237 more annually (roughly $6,000 a month). However, Washington D.C. (the most expensive city overall according to analysts of The Policy Institute) offers the most savings when it comes to childcare costs — a cool $6,123 a year. The same is true for San Francisco, another city that’s not fit for the frugal. Parents in Silicon Valley saved about $5,917 on childcare centers, and it wasn’t because they were staffed by the robot overlords.

No matter where you decide to set down your family’s roots, quality of life is important. If you need a city to supply that, the report notes that there are plenty of nice metropolitan areas where staying in town is a steal comparatively. Baltimore, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Las Vegas are all cheaper, with Philadelphia being the biggest bargain of them all (plus, it’s always sunny.) Families save a whopping $13,849 living in the City of Brotherly Love instead of the suburbs. And that means a hell of a lot more cash to spend on hoagies. Also, your kid.

Before you spiral into an existential crisis if you can’t afford to keep being a “city guy,” it’s important to note that the suburbs aren’t as bland as they used to be. The more families move away from cities, the greater demand there is for urban amenities like public transportation, walkable neighborhoods, and all the cold brew and kombucha you can drink. So wherever you and your brood end up, just make sure there are plenty of public bathrooms.

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