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Report: Living in Philly suburbs costs families $14K more than the city

That’s not on trend with the rest of the country

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies
It’s currently cheaper for a families to live in Philly than the suburbs, according to a new report.
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

On average, it costs U.S. families up to $9,000 more per year to live in a city than the suburbs. But it’s the opposite for the Philadelphia metro: Living in the ‘burbs costs a family (defined as having two children in child care) nearly $14,000 more than in living in Philly proper, according to a new study conducted by Zillow and Care.com.

Philly, Baltimore, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Las Vegas are the only U.S. cities in the study where it’s cheaper to live in the city than in the suburbs.

The study, which focused on common living care expenses (mortgage payments, property taxes, and child care costs), compared city versus suburbs stats across the nation. Philly’s neighbor up north, New York City, topped the national list as the most expensive city for raising a family: It costs $71,237 more annually for a family to live in NYC than in its suburbs.

Here’s how suburban versus urban living costs compare in the Philadelphia metro region:

Cost of living in Philly versus suburbs

Location Property taxes and mortgage payment (annual) Annual child care costs (child care center for 2 kids) Total annual housing and child care expenses Suburban vs. Urban living cost difference Median Sq. Ft. Median commute time (minutes)
Location Property taxes and mortgage payment (annual) Annual child care costs (child care center for 2 kids) Total annual housing and child care expenses Suburban vs. Urban living cost difference Median Sq. Ft. Median commute time (minutes)
Suburbs $19,439 $19,575 $39,014 $13,859 1,760 27.5
City $7,402 $17,753 $25,515 1,254 29.6
Zillow and Care.com

To come up with the stats, Zillow and Care.com pulled data from their own sites. A Zillow rep told Curbed NY: “Annual child care costs are based on rates listed in Care.com child care center profiles in 2016 for two children in the same child care center. Weekly rates are multiplied by 52 weeks and monthly rates are multiplied by 12 months to calculate annual rates. Housing costs came from Zillow and factored in annual mortgage payments and property taxes on the median valued home.”

The study also noted that home costs played a big role in the calculations, which helps explain the discrepancy between Philly- and suburban-living. Although recent data shows that Philly home prices are on the rise, a 2016 Pew study found that the tax gap between Philly and suburbs hit its lowest point in 15 years, with city property taxes decreasing and suburbs’ increasing.