Work Hard for the Money

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

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

San Antonio apartment Agave La Villita
San Antonio rent is low, but we have to work hard to pay it. Agave Apartments SA/Facebook

The recent news that it's cheaper to buy than to rent in San Antonio 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 San Antonians are toiling for 63.3 hours each month in order to write a $856 rent check.

That might be the cheapest rent among the Texas cities included in the study, but it's also the highest amount of working hours. That's because SmartAsset calculated our hourly wage to be around $13.53 — the second lowest on the list, behind only Philadelphia at $13.24.

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.

Hard-working Dallas residents are putting in 171 total hours a month, but at $14 an hour need only 61.7 of those to afford their $863 rent. Austin is stuck with the highest rent in Texas ($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.

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.