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An Entry-Level Salary Is Barely Enough to Make Rent in These Cities

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After you land your first job out of college, you’re likely going to be happy about your new steady income and a start to your career. But if you’re in one of the 10 most popular cities for millennials, your starting salary may barely be covering your rent, leaving very little left over for other living expenses, savings and paying off student loan debt.

As major American cities continue to boom, rent costs are skyrocketing. And with the expected more than 1.8 million students graduating with a bachelor’s degree this month, the competition for affordable housing is only getting fiercer.

The mobile apartment and rent payment provider, RadPad, analyzed more than 150,000 apartment listings posted from September 2015 to April 2016. From there, they established what percentage of a monthly, entry-level salary college grads can expect to pay in rent for a one-bedroom apartment in 10 of the most popular American cities.

In New York, for example, the median rent for a one bedroom is $3,000/month. The average entry level employee has to budget rent on an annual salary of $47,000/year, accounting for 77% of their income, RadPad found. In San Francisco — the most expensive city in the study — an entry level employee can expect to pay an astounding 79% of their income.

Just one of the 10 most expensive cities — Houston — comes in under the 30% threshold income rule of thumb for rental spending. Paying less of a percentage of income on rent can help you maintain better control of your finances and establish better savings and spending habits. Austin and Atlanta are also on the end of more affordable cities on the list, but both have rents with an average of 6% above the recommended 30% of average income.

Here’s how each of the 10 cities measured up, ranked from highest percentage to lowest percentage of starting monthly income.

  1. San Francisco — 79%
  2. New York City — 77%
  3. LA — 61%
  4. Boston — 56%
  5. Seattle — 51%
  6. Chicago — 47%
  7. Orlando — 44%
  8. Atlanta — 36%
  9. Austin — 36%
  10. Houston — 29%

Aside from proving proof of income, potential landlords will want to run a credit check. Addressing any inaccuracies or knowing any areas that need improvement can help renters better prepare for their apartment search. To get started, you can view two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com. You can also find a list of the most affordable cities in the U.S. here.

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