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by Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin, May 26, 2009
If you’re looking to get the most for your money, head to Austin, suggests Forbes.com. It rates Texas’s capital as the nation’s “best bargain city,” followed by Phoenix and Washington, D.C. Four other Texas municipalities—Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth—rated among the top 10 bargain burgs.
How did the District of Columbia, with its sky-high housing and other costs, make the list? Forbes considers not just daily living expenses, but several other factors including the average salary for college-educated workers, unemployment statistics and the Housing Opportunity Index, a measure of home affordability for families earning the local median income.
When all is considered, the key to a bargain city in Forbes’ ranking seems to be its share of residents holding well-paying jobs—not just the local price of groceries, gas and shelter. Still, no Texas city was listed on another recent Forbes ranking—of the most overpriced places. Los Angeles took that dubious honor, followed by Chicago, Miami and New York.
Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.
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