Fresno has long been one of California’s most affordable areas to live in thanks to low housing prices and a cheaper cost of living when it comes to other necessities.
So it’s not exactly a surprise to see Fresno on GOBankingRates’ cost-of-living comparison survey as one of America’s most affordable cities to live in.
“We’ve always been affordable compared to other cities in the state,” said Kristy Henry, president of the Fresno Association of Realtors, who added that affordability is something “we pride ourselves on.”
In Fresno, you only have to make $44,648 a year to live comfortably, the survey said. That’s a little more than half of what’s needed to live well in San Jose at $87,153 and about 40 percent of the $110,357 needed to be comfortable in San Francisco.
$44,648 Annual income needed to live comfortably in Fresno
“Of the 50 cities in this study, Fresno’s cost of living is among the lowest,” the survey said. Other comparable cities include Detroit, where the comfort-level salary is $42,161, and Albuquerque, where it is $42,445.
Fresno’s comfort-level salary is $3,117 more than the city’s median income of $41,531, which is one of the smallest income gaps of the California cities, the survey said.
The survey compared 50 of the most populous U.S. cities based on median income and the cost of rent, groceries, utilities, transportation and health care in each city. From there, the financial website applied a 50-30-20 rule to determine the recommended salary to live comfortably.
The rule breaks down this way: 50 percent of your income should cover necessities, 30 percent covers discretionary items and 20 percent is for savings.
In a New York Times column published Wednesday, writer Mike McPhate gave Fresno a shout-out for doing well in the study and mentions Fresno’s downtown rebirth and central location with fast travel time to the coast or mountains as reasons to love Fresno.