A new study from Student Loan Hero identifies the 20 best and 20 worst cities for residents to get out of debt.
Austin, Texas, Nov. 21, 2017 — The key to paying off debt faster might be living in a city with high wages and a relatively low cost of living, a new study finds.
This research from Student Loan Hero, a financial education site, compared average wages to local income taxes and costs of living. The study calculated the average disposable income residents can expect in 159 major U.S. cities and ranked them accordingly. The findings identified the top 20 cities where residents have more money left over to get out of debt.
“Living in one of the top 20 best cities gives you a disposable income of $18,000 left over, on average, after taxes and basic living expenses are paid,” said Elyssa Kirkham, lead researcher on the Student Loan Hero study. “That’s a huge boon to residents of these cities who want to get out of debt faster. It gives them a lot of room to play with their budget and find extra money to put toward debt.”
These best cities to live in to pay off debt share some characteristics:
- Half of the top 20 cities are located in states that don’t levy a state income tax. Another Student Loan Hero study found that living in a state with no income tax saves residents an average of $1,977.
- The top 20 cities have low costs of living relative to wages and national averages. Only one city has a cost of living higher than the national average (by just 0.8 percent).
Here are the 10 best cities to get out of debt faster and their average disposable incomes:
1. Durham, N.C.: $21,975
2. Kennewick, Wash.: $20,938
3. Houston, Texas: $20,422
4. Des Moines, Iowa: $20,094
5. Austin, Texas: $20,027
6. Kalamazoo, Mich.: $19,904
7. Memphis, Tenn.: $19,723
8. San Antonio, Texas: $19,718
9. Knoxville, Tenn.: $19,661
10. Huntsville, Ala.: $19,444
In addition to the best cities to pay off debt, the study also identified the 20 worst cities for paying off debt.
“These are expensive cities where average workers will struggle to make ends meet, let alone get ahead,” Kirkham said. “The study shows that in the two worst cities, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., average workers are likely to get further into debt just covering basic living expenses.”
Here are the 10 cities where disposable incomes are the lowest:
1. San Jose, Calif.: -$12,027
2. San Francisco, Calif.: -$1,290
3. Honolulu, Hawaii: $372
4. New York, N.Y.: $1,807
5. Anaheim, Calif.: $7,994
6. Washington, D.C.: $9,115
7. San Diego, Calif.: $9,183
8. Oakland, Calif.: $9,246
9. Los Angeles, Calif.: $9,261
10. Bridgeport, Conn.: $10,652
To generate these rankings, we surveyed the following data for 159 U.S. cities:
- Average annual wage, sourced from the May 2016 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Federal, payroll, state, and local income tax estimates generated through the SmartAsset tax calculator, assuming a single filer with a household of one
- Costs of basic living expenses, including food, shelter, healthcare, and transportation, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey and adjusted for local costs of living index from the Council for Community and Economic Research
We surveyed more than 159 cities but excluded cities for which any of the above data points were unavailable. We also cross-checked city locations and in some cases substituted data points from neighboring cities within 50 miles.
About Student Loan Hero
Student Loan Hero combines easy-to-use tools with financial education to help the millions of Americans living with student loan debt manage and pay off their loans. Student Loan Hero has helped more than 150,000 borrowers manage and eliminate over $3 billion in student loan debt since 2012 and assists over 3.5 million people in becoming more financially healthy every year.
Student Loan Hero offers both current and former students free loan calculators as well as unbiased, personalized advice and repayment plans through an easy-to-use online dashboard.
Founded in 2012 by CEO Andrew Josuweit, who himself had over $100,000 in student loans, Student Loan Hero operates on the belief that all loan help and recommendations should come with honesty and no hidden agenda.
For more information, visit studentloanhero.com.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.57% – 6.98%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.80% – 6.22%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.57% – 8.17%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|