Round Rock earns another affordability top ranking

Study compares income with cost of living

Round Rock has earned another distinction as being one of the most affordable places to live in the United States. The No. 3 ranking came from Nerdwallet, which distinguished between “cheap” and “affordable” by comparing income with cost of living.

The study looked at median household income, cost of living, housing, utilities, transportation, health care index, and goods and services.

To find the top places for affordability, NerdWallet investigated price variations to assess where a dollar stretches the furthest in the United States.

From Nerdwallet: “Not surprisingly, data on median income from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey revealed that many of the cheapest places in the U.S. are also where residents earn the least. In our study, we make a distinction between ‘cheap’ and ‘affordable’ by comparing a place’s median income with its cost of living to find truly affordable places.”

Key findings from the study:

  • Wealthier places are more affordable. Despite a higher cost of living, the gains from a higher median income in wealthier places are more than the increased cost of living there.
  • Cost of living is clustered. Sure, there are outliers like New York City, New York, and Honolulu, Hawaii, where the cost of living is 122 percent and 74 percent above the U.S. average respectively, but the cost of living in most places is within a small range around the national average.
  • Within a place, costs can be diverse. Just because a place is affordable in one category, such as groceries, doesn’t mean the same is true for housing or utilities. In Chapel Hill, N.C., the cost of utilities is 11 percent below the U.S. average, but groceries and housing are above the national average.

The top 10 most affordable places are:

  1. Plano, Texas
  2. Edmond, Okla.
  3. Round Rock, Texas
  4. Juneau, Alaska
  5. Midland, Texas
  6. Hilton Head Island, S.C.
  7. Scottsdale, Ariz.
  8. Rio Rancho, N.M
  9. Anchorage, Alaska
  10. Tracy, Calif.

In February, Round Rock topped the list for Livability.com’s 10 Best Affordable Places to Live in 2015.

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