Research reveals most cost effective living when moving to the US

by Ray Clancy on March 9, 2017

When moving to a new country finding the right home is a major consideration and a new piece of research has found that if you are moving to the United States, living outside city centres is much cheaper.

Buying a home in most major cities comes with a premium, especially for families with kids. Nationally, families spend an average of $9,073 more per year to cover basic housing and child care costs in the city than in the suburbs.

The new Cost of Living analysis from property firm Zillow and family firm Care covers the three common living expenses of property taxes, mortgage payments and child care costs and calculates how much they cost around the country.

Nationally, families living in the city spend $43,652 a year on housing and child care. Yet, in the suburbs they spend just $34,579. New York, Chicago and Dallas have the highest variance between urban and suburban living, with city dwellers paying as much as $71,237 more a year, or nearly $6,000 extra a month.

However, city living is not always more expensive. In Philadelphia and Baltimore, families could pay up to $14,000 more a year to live in the suburbs.

While high property taxes and rising home prices are usually the reasons why city living is more expensive, child care can also play a part. In Minneapolis, child care is nearly $4,119 more a year in the city, but housing costs are actually $189 cheaper.

‘Deciding whether to live in the city or suburbs is a personal choice, but when you do the math, it’s easy to see why moving to the suburbs is about more than just a bigger yard, it can also save you a lot of money,’ said Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist.

‘More than a third of families exceed their initial budget when buying a home, so before embarking on a move, consider the cost of living beyond just the home’s sticker price,’ she added.

In addition to potentially cheaper living costs, the median suburban home is nearly 280 square feet larger. Meanwhile, reported commute times are roughly the same between urban and suburban residents.

‘Figuring out where your family will live and grow is arguably one of the most exciting and daunting times in a parent’s life,’ said Joyce Hodel, data scientist at

‘While moving to the suburbs often brings significant cost savings, city living can still be the right choice for some families and is less expensive in certain metro areas,’ she added.

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