Boston Families Pay $8,000 More to Live in the City Over the Suburbs

A report from Zillow and Care.com laid out a few key differences between urbanites and suburban dwellers.
Photo by Greg DuBois

Photo by Greg DuBois

Nowadays, it’s no secret that city living comes at a premium—and that’s especially true for urbanites with children in tow.

A new report from real estate database company Zillow and childcare site Care.com calculated just how much more expensive it is to live in the city. On average, families in Boston pay $8,076 more per year to live in the city than in the suburbs. The report pegs the national average to be $9,073 more per year.

“Deciding whether to live in the city or suburbs is a personal choice, but when you do the math, it’s easy to see why moving to the suburbs is about more than just a bigger yard–it can also save you a lot of money,” said Zillow’s chief economist, Svenja Gudell, in a statement. She explains that more than a third of families exceed their initial budget when buying a home, so it’s important to consider the cost of living beyond a home’s sticker price.

To crunch the numbers, Zillow and Care.com pinpointed three common living expenses—property taxes, mortgage payments, and childcare costs—then calculated how much they cost around the country.

The report notes that property taxes in Massachusetts’ suburbs ($28,408 per year) are about $7,600 lower than in Boston ($32,130 per year), and homes outside the city offer an extra 400 square feet of living space.

However, there are two factors that don’t change much between the two: childcare costs and commuting times. The report says a commute from the suburbs averages at 30.6 minutes. In the city, it’s cut down only by a few minutes at 27.9 (hi, MBTA). Both cities have annual childcare costs that hover around $27,000.

Questioning your distaste for the ‘burbs? See the full report here.


Madeline Bilis Associate Editor at Boston Magazine @madelinebilis
mbilis@bostonmagazine.com


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