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It takes $42,161/year to live comfortably in Detroit

Photo by Michelle and Chris Gerard

Every once in a while, we come across reports that crunch some numbers and tell us about the cost of living in Detroit. This report from personal finance site has us thinking, once again, about the true cost of living here.

Basically, the group takes a 50-30-20 budgeting rule and looks at how much it costs to live in the 50 biggest cities in the US. The rule takes into account 50% for necessities, 30% for discretionary items, and 20% for savings. Comparatively, Detroit comes in much lower than other big cities.

The report looks at what it takes to rent a one-bedroom apartment, and on that front, Detroit is looking at $525/month according to this study. While many of the newer apartments or rentals in the 7.2 are demanding much higher prices, rental housing in the neighborhoods can still be pretty reasonable (although $525 per month seems low for an average).

On the other hand, cost of utilities are much higher than average, at $3,000 per year. Considering the erratic weather combined with old housing, many here won’t disagree with that.

Last year, the study gave Detroit $42,772 to live comfortably. So our total has actually gone down. But, it still remains that the average median income is $25,764, so there’s still a big gap between what many make and what we should be able to afford.

What we like to do is take these opportunities to discuss the true cost of living in the city. While the necessities cover transportation, car insurance is a major factor in anyone’s monthly budget who drives and lives here. Plus, the study is looking at those who rent. For those who own, insurance, taxes, and now drainage fees are adding up (plus any cost of renovation and/or maintaining an older house).

What would you tell someone who’s looking at moving here about the cost of living, Curbed readers? Sure, we’re coming in much lower than other cities, but it’s not factoring in other costs that we see. Feel free to share in the comments.