Hey College Grads: If You Can't Pull $85K, L.A. Is Out of Your League

Hey College Grads: If You Can't Pull $85K, L.A. Is Out of Your League
Jason Bache/Flickr

You have your cap and gown and, if you attended USC, you already have your degree in hand.

Now it's time to find a job. If you want to stay in Los Angeles without the support of mom and dad, you'll need to find a career that pays a whopping $85,697 a year, which would place you in the second-to-highest income bracket in America.

Keep in mind that the median annual income for individuals in Los Angeles County is a measly $27,749. And the real estate and rental website Trulia says the average college grad in Los Angeles will take home $25,778 her first year out of school.

Now here's the reason why you're advised to get an $85,000-plus gig if you want to stay put: Trulia's new "Pads for Grads" report says that's about how much it would take just to rent a median rental unit in Los Angeles.

This week the National Low-Income Housing Coalition said it would take an annual household income of $56,960 to be able to afford an average two-bedroom apartment here. L.A. County's median household income is $55,909.

Last year real estate website Zillow said it takes about $97,160 a year in household income to get inside a median-priced rental house in L.A.

So Trulia's numbers, based on the gamut of its rental listings, make sense, even if they're making you cry. The site notes that continuing to live college-style — futons and instant noodles — might be the only way to stay in a town like L.A:

In places like Portland and Southern California, not only are affordable units few and far between, but it takes living in dormlike quarters to make the median priced rental unit affordable.

Don't feel too bad. Trulia says that less than one-fifth of the top 25 rental markets it analyzed via its own listings was affordable to you new worker bees:

Of the 25 largest rental markets, less than 19 percent of all rental listings are affordable enough for college graduates to live, with college grads on their way to Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Riverside-San Bruno or San Francisco needing to have upwards of three roommates to survive. 

In fact, L.A. wasn't the worst place to rent for recent grads.

We came in ninth seventh place when the percentage of units affordable to grads was calculated. Portland (at only 1 percent affordable) topped the list. It was followed by the Inland Empire, Orange County, Miami, San Diego, New York, Los Angeles and Boston.

Hey College Grads: If You Can't Pull $85K, L.A. Is Out of Your League

For sheer income needed to rent, San Francisco topped the list. You'll need a cool $137,272 to live there. If you want a place where 18 percent of units are affordable for grads (with affordable units priced at $666!), St. Louis is where you want to be.

But, really, it's tough out there everywhere, Trulia says:

Generally, the picture isn’t pretty for recent grads who want to find an affordable place on their own. 

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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