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Downtown Pasadena

In L.A., It Actually Costs More to Live in the Suburbs

Americans save an average $9,000 a year living in the suburbs compared with nearby cities — but not in Los Angeles. Suburban Angelenos pay slightly more — an extra $400 annually — for housing and child care, according to a report from real estate site Zillow and caregiver site Care.com.

"Families living in urban areas of the L.A. Metro spend $55,816 a year on housing and child care," Zillow spokeswoman Jordyn Lee said via email. "But in the suburbs they spend $56,223 a year."

Nationally, the median cost of housing and child care is $43,652 in the city and $34,579 in the suburbs, according to the report.

Other major metro areas are far more expensive than their surrounding suburbs: In New York, it costs a whopping $71,237 more to live in the city; in Chicago, it costs $18,472 more; and in Dallas, $14,182 more.

While the cost of living in the suburbs versus the city is more or less flat in L.A., urban dwellers are giving up space. The median suburban home in Greater L.A. is 222 square feet larger than the median urban home, Lee said. Nationally the median suburban home is about 280 square feet larger, according to the report.

L.A. urban living doesn't offer the greatest savings on a national scale. The so-called "rust belt" cities such as Baltimore ($10,790 per year in savings versus suburban life), Cleveland ($9,034) and Milwaukee ($8,227) represent the top urban deals.

Even San Diego ($4,555) offers more savings for urban dwellers than L.A., according to the analysis.

The fact that the cost of living in urban and suburban L.A. is so similar could be a reflection of the somewhat suburban nature of our city, Zillow senior economist AaronTerrazas says. (Though it's worth noting that the nature of the urban core is changing.)

"The reality is L.A. isn't as dense as some other places," Terrazas says. "Even if you think of areas immediately adjacent to downtown L.A., you have single-family communities with a somewhat suburban feel."

In L.A., It Actually Costs More to Live in the Suburbs
Zillow/Care.com

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