According to a recently released study, the average Houstonian needs to earn nearly $61,000 per year to "live comfortably." Of course, most people don't make that much, so there's a pretty big gap between the median household income and that magic 61-K mark — a $15,067 gap, to be exact.
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GoBankingRates.com, a financial research website, compiled the income information in a study ranking the top 50 cities with the biggest gap between the "needed" income and "actual" income. Houston had the 11th-largest gap in the U.S. and the largest in Texas, at more than $15,000, which isn't so bad considering the city atop the list, Miami, had a gap that was more than three times larger than ours. The overall income needed to live comfortably here is half as much as San Francisco's, which was by far the most expensive city ($119,570).
The website said it accounted for "rent, groceries, utilities, transportation and healthcare" costs before doubling that total "to find how much money a single person needs to earn in that city to follow a 50-30-20 budget," which, it explains, means "50 percent of income covers necessities, 30 percent is for discretionary items and 20 percent is saved." Keep in mind, this probably doesn't account for common expenditures specific to Houstonians, like bullets, boots and barbecue.
Overall, Houston's grade here isn't awful. But it's still not great. We were, however, two spots below Detroit, so at least there's that.