Work Hard for the Money

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

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

SkyHouse River Oaks living room
Rent is high in Houston, but wages could be higher. Photo courtesy of SkyHouse River Oaks

The recent news that it's cheaper to buy than to rent in Houston 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 Houstonians are toiling for 62.8 hours each month in order to write a $873 rent check.

SmartAsset calculated our hourly wage to be around $13.91, which is fairly similar to the pay in Los Angeles, but residents there 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 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.