Cost of urban living and transportation
The cost of living index from the Council for Community and Economic Research was recently updated for 300 urban areas, and — no surprise — the New York boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn came out on top. Honolulu, San Francisco, San Jose, Queens, Stamford, CT, and Washington, DC, followed behind. While no one would doubt that these places are expensive — they are central to globally significant regions — such indexes overstate the actual costs for living in in-town neighborhoods. It doesn't take into account how much residents need particular goods, particularly the second highest household cost — transportation. The need for a car is not as high in Brooklyn as it is a North Jersey suburb or Wichita Falls. In New York, research has shown that average annual transportation costs in the most walkable neighborhoods average just a tad over $5,000 a year — nearly $11,000 less than a household spends in the distant New York suburbs. Housing costs may also be overstated somewhat, because more people rent in cities — and rental costs tend to be lower than homeownership. For a view of how location efficiency affects household transportation costs, see the graph above (courtesy of Arthur C. Nelson).
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