Some of the cost benefits of living in a city are obvious–walkability, easy access to public transportation–but the high price of housing and other amenities often overshadow any benefits. But GOOD points us to a tool from creative think tank CNT showing that it’s actually more expensive to live in many suburbs and exurbs once transportation costs are taken into account.
CNT’s tool analyzes 337 metro areas covering 161,000 neighborhoods and 80% of the U.S. population. The overwhelming result: It’s cheaper or just as cheap to live in cities when transportation is factored in. Transportation costs can range from 15% of household income in location
efficient neighborhoods to over 28% in inefficient locations. So for example, while housing costs will suck up at least 30% of your income in San Francisco, transportation will cost less than 15%. In comparison, housing in nearby Richmond costs under 30% of residents’ income, but transportation uses up to 28% of all income.
The numbers vary depending on location, but as oil prices increase, cities will only start to look more affordable. Perhaps our own Michael Cannell’s prediction that suburbia is permanently on the decline is starting to come true.