Why this Central Texas city ranks ahead of Austin as among most affordable places in U.S.

Taken from the Austin Business Journal

By Greg Barr, Managing Editor – Austin Business Journal

May 22, 2015

Round Rock has been dubbed the third most-affordable place in America when comparing median household income to the average cost of living, in a study from personal finance website NerdWallet.

Several Texas cities, including several in Central Texas, made the list of The 100 Most Affordable Places in America. Plano, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, took the top spot.

Plano had a median household income of $81,800, which is 57 percent higher than the U.S. average. Edmond, Oklahoma, took the No. 2 spot and Round Rock was ranked No. 3 with a median income of $68,959 — 32 percent higher than the national average, while its cost of living is 6 percent below the national average.

Austin was also among the most affordable cities, ranking at No. 17. While the city’s affordability is a prime concern to many area residents and reaching crisis proportions for some observers, it is still considered far less expensive than other major metros in California or some other parts of the country. Austin’s median household income is $54,331, the study said.

Temple was ranked No. 20 on the list, while San Antonio was right in the middle of the pack at No. 49 and Houston came in dead last at No. 100.

NerdWallet analyst Courtney Miller told the Dallas Business Journal that the study used the median household income for 237 cities recorded through the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. To determine a city’s cost, Miller used the 2014 Council for Community and Economic Research cost of living index.

Miller then compared the cost of living with how much money residents earn, finding that wealthier cities tend to have a smaller gap between the two statistics.

“I was surprised it was more higher-income cities,” she told the DBJ.

NerdWallet’s rankings listed an index of each city’s cost of groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and goods and services in addition to median income and cost of living.


See the original article here:  http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2015/05/22/why-this-central-texas-city-ranks-ahead-of-austin.html