Struggling to Earn Your Keep? Here Are the Top U.S. Cities for Middle Class Families

by Ben SanfordApril 16, 2018

Finding a Home You Can Afford in a Livable City

There’s no doubt about it. The American middle class is shrinking. And, while that’s definitely good news for those who are joining the ranks of the upper classes, it may not be great news for everyone.

If you’re struggling to make it, living in a city where the cost of living has risen faster than your middle-class salary, you might be looking for somewhere your dollar will stretch further. Or, if you’re a bit younger, fresh out of college and looking for somewhere more affordable to start out, one these cities could be just the place for you.

Either way, here’s a list of the top U.S. cities where a middle-class income will still get you a decent standard of living.

best us cities for middle class families

The Twin Cities: Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

Minneapolis and its smaller neighbor, St. Paul, represent one of the last places to live a high-quality middle-class life in the U.S. The winters may be on the brutal side, but if you can handle a couple of months of sub-zero weather every year, then you’ll gain access to an economy and an arts and entertainment scene that would be the envy of many cities of twice its size, with a much higher cost of living.

The housing prices are comparatively low on the banks of the Mississippi River, and the city is home to more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other city in the U.S.

best us cities for middle class families

Omaha, Nebraska

Another middle-class powerhouse city of the Midwest, Omaha is a massive economic hub, and the home of much of the nation’s agricultural freight and transportation business. Omaha residents also enjoy comparatively high wages and comparatively low housing costs.

Raleigh, North Carolina

If you’re looking for something nearer the Eastern Seaboard, and a city with a bit of Southern charm, Raleigh, North Carolina might be just the place for you. With reasonable home prices, and an enviable position within the innovation hub of the southern states, Raleigh has much to offer a middle-class household.

As a city, Raleigh is diverse. It also has a strong job market and a well-developed business community, as well as several great schools, and proximity to one of the nation’s great research areas.

Hartford, Connecticut

If you’re looking for something a little farther north, then you may do well to consider Hartford, Connecticut. After all, it’s one of the oldest cities in the country. And, while it’s housing prices are higher than most of the other cities on this list, Hartford’s median household income is, as well.

Plus, Hartford is within easy reach of many of our nation’s largest, most well-known centers of commerce and the arts—New York and Boston.
best us cities for middle class families

Portland, Oregon

For those hoping to make it out west – there’s one city left that still might prove livable on a middle-class income. Portland, Oregon is well known for its high degree of livability, its growing design and creative culture, its proximity to the mountains and the ocean, and its great walkability and bike-friendliness.

Housing costs in the Rose City have soared in the past decade, but it’s still the most reasonably priced city on the Left Coast.

The American Middle-Class Dream in the Twenty-First Century

The news continues to come in that the American middle class is disappearing. Every politician looking for your vote continues to promise to relieve what ails you. Why not take matters into your own hands? Consider relocating to the greener pastures of one of these great American cities, and stretch your dollar further by controlling your housing costs in a city with higher wages.

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.