A newly updated budget calculator from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows the income families need to keep a modest but adequate standard of living across U.S. markets. EPI estimated cost of living for all U.S. counties and metro areas based on seven main expenses: housing, food, transportation, child care, health care, taxes, and other basic necessities.
"In order to keep the budgets modest, the calculator notably does not include many expenses associated with a middle-class lifestyle, such as paying off student loans or saving for college or retirement," the EPI notes.
CNBC lists the 15 largest cities in order of total cost of living for a family of four with two adults and two children. At the top of the list is San Francisco, Calif., where cost of living is $12,370 per month and the annual income required is $148,440. San Jose, Calif. follows with a $10,344 monthly cost of living, then New York, New York with $8,129. The most affordable of the 15 largest cities is San Antonio, Texas, where monthly cost of living halves San Francisco’s requirements, at $6,024 per month.