The 21 Best Cities For Financial And Emotional Prosperity

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Credit card search site CardHub.com is out with its Best & Worst Cities for Wallet Wellness study, in which it features places where consumers aren’t just financially fit but mentally fit as well.

“You’re obviously not going to feel your best if you can’t find a job or you get stuck in traffic for hours on end every day” explains Card Hub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou.

For that reason, Papadimitriou and his team rated* cites based not only income and cost of living, but factors that can cost consumers in other ways –– namely, transportation, commute times and stress levels. Almost every city on the list has a commute time of less than 15 minutes, but keep in mind we’re talking about residents living within city limits.

*Annual income is based on the Bureau of Economic Analysis 2011 data. Cost of living is based on the 2013 ACCRA Cost of Living Index, which measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services. Stress and transportation rankings based on the American Psychological Association data and information from the centre for neighbourhood Technology’s Housing and Transportation Affordability Index.

21. Boston, Mass.

Average annual personal income: $57,893

Cost of living index: 140

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5.2

Rate of annual job growth: 0.74%

Boston's average commute is 14 minutes, one of the highest on the list, and about 21% of residents' budgets go toward transportation costs.

20. Washington, D.C.

Average annual personal income: $59,345

Cost of living index: 145

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5

Rate of annual job growth: -0.53%

Washington D.C.'s commute time is worst on the list, at just over 17 minutes, and transportation costs account for 21% of residents' incomes.

19. Denver, Colo.

Average annual personal income: $48,980

Cost of living index: 105

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5.5

Rate of annual job growth: 0.46%

Denver natives commute about 12 minutes to work, and transportation costs account for 26% of their incomes.

18. Phoenix, Ariz.

Average annual personal income: $36,833

Cost of living index: 97

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5.1

Rate of annual job growth: 1.07%

Transportation costs in Phoenix add to up almost 37% of annual income, but average commute time is short just above 10 minutes.

17. Miami, Fla.

Average annual personal income: $43,072

Cost of living index: 109

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5.2

Rate of annual job growth: 1.84%

Miami's commute time falls in the middle of the list, at about 11.5 minutes, and residents can expect to spend about 30% of their income on transportation.

16. San Francisco, Calif.

Average annual personal income: $61,395

Cost of living index: 163

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5.1

Rate of annual job growth: 1.93%

San Francisco's transportation costs are some of the lowest on the list, at less than 20% of annual income. Average commute time is about 13 minutes.

15. Baltimore, Md.

Average annual income to cost of living index: $51,126

Cost of living index: 116

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5.2

Rate of annual job growth: 1.64%

Baltimore's commute time is on the high end at 14 minutes, and residents spend about 25.5% of their income on transportation.

14. Philadelphia, Pa.

Average annual personal income: $48,723

Cost of living index: 123

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5.2

Rate of annual job growth: 1.96%

Philly's average commute is 12.4 minutes and transportation costs take away about 25% of residents' income.

13. Tampa, Fla.

Average annual personal income: $39,261

Cost of living index: 93

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5.2

Rate of annual job growth: 1.82%

Tampa's transportation costs are on the higher end of the list, eating up 35% of average annual income, but commute time is low at 10 minutes.

12. Seattle, Wash.

Average annual personal income: $50,944

Cost of living index: 115

Stress scale (scale of 1-10): 4.7

Rate of annual job growth: 0.16%

Seattle's average commute is nearly 13 minutes, and transportation costs make up about 26% of residents' income.

10. Detroit, Mich. (tie)

Average annual personal income: $40,009

Cost of living index: 97

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5.1

Rate of annual job growth: 0.72%

The average commute time in Detroit is quite low at just 10.5 minutes, but transportation costs are high at 34% of annual income.

10. Atlanta, Ga. (tie)

Average annual personal income: $39,713

Cost of living index: 97

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5

Rate of annual job growth: 2.28%

Atlanta's commute time is just under 13 minutes, and transportation costs make up a hefty 36% of annual income.

8. Cincinnati, Ohio (tie)

Average annual personal income: $40,918

Cost of living index: 89

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 4.7

Rate of annual job growth: -0.35%

Cincinnati's average commute time is one of the lowest at 10.7 minutes. Transportation costs account for close to 35% of residents' income.

8. Chicago, Ill. (tie)

Average annual personal income: $45,977

Cost of living index: 117

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 4.7

Rate of annual job growth: 1.26%

Chicago's commute time is fairly high at 13.5 minutes, but transportation costs are on the low end at 27% of annual income.

7. Kansas City, Mo.

Average annual personal income: $43,062

Cost of living index: 94

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 4.7

Rate of annual job growth: -0.29%

Kansas City citizens get to work fast with an average commute of just 10.5 minutes. Transportation costs add up to 33% of annual income.

6. Cleveland, Ohio

Average annual personal income: $42,365

Cost of living index: 102

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 4.7

Rate of annual job growth: 0.25%

Cleveland's commute time is one of the lowest at an average 10.5 minutes, and transportation costs are about 32% of residents' budgets.

5. St. Louis, Mo.

Average annual personal income: $42,864

Cost of living index: 92

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 4.7

Rate of annual job growth: 0.17%

St. Louis citizens enjoy an average commute of just about 11 minutes and pay about 32% of their income toward getting around town.

4. Pittsburgh, Pa.

Average annual personal income: $44,982

Cost of living index: 95

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 5.2

Rate of annual job growth: 2.13%

Pittsburgh's average commute is 11.6 minutes, and residents spend about 31% of their income on transportation.

3. Dallas, Texas

Average annual personal income: $43,708

Cost of living index: 99

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 4.8

Rate of annual job growth: 2.24%

Dallas's average commute time falls just short of 12 minutes, and residents shell out 31% of their budgets on transportation.

2. Houston, Texas

Average annual personal income: $47,612

Cost of living index: 95

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 4.8

Rate of annual job growth: 2.11%

Houston is similar to Dallas -- the average commute is about 12 minutes and transportation costs make up 28% of annual income.

1. Minneapolis, Minn.

Average annual personal income: $48,657

Cost of living index: 109

Stress scale (1-10 scale): 4.7

Rate of annual job growth: 1.72%

Minneapolis commuters don't have it bad -- average commute is 12 minutes and transportation costs are fairly low at 27.5% of annual income.

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