Work Hard for the Money

Here's how many hours you must work to afford rent in Dallas

Here's how many hours you must work to afford rent in Dallas

Strata Dallas pool
Rent is high in Dallas, but wages could be higher. Photo courtesy of Simpson Property Group

The recent news that it's cheaper to buy than to rent in Dallas has brought about another question: If I have to rent, how do I afford it? So finance website SmartAsset did a study to find out how many hours a person in each of the nation's 15 largest cities would have to work in order to pay their rent.

By looking at average hours worked per week, average weeks worked per year, median annual individual income, and median monthly gross rent (all pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau), the site determined that Dallasites are toiling for 61.7 hours each month in order to write a $863 rent check.

SmartAsset calculated that the estimated hourly wage in Dallas is $14 and that we tend to work around 171 hours in total each month. That not only makes Dallas one of the hardest-working cities in the study, it also results in one of the lowest ratios between average total work hours and number of hours of work needed to pay rent.

Houston's hourly wage is about $13.91 per hour, which is fairly similar to the pay in Los Angeles. But the kicker is that Houstonians only have to work 62.8 hours in order to fund their monthly $873 rent, whereas LA residents are stuck with the most hours needed overall: 87.7.

Austin has the highest rent in Texas at $1,047, but a much higher hourly wage of $17.52 means that residents there need to only work 59.8 hours to cover the monthly cost.

And though San Antonio has the cheapest Texas rent ($856), it also has the lowest hourly wage ($13.53). That translates to workers there having to put in the most time (63.3 hours) in order to cover their rent.

The study reinforces the expensiveness of big-city living, as even Indianapolis and Columbus — where you need to work the fewest hours to pay rent — have folks dedicating an average of 53.8 hours of work per month to it. But when compared with Los Angeles, our 60-ish hours don't seem so bad.