Here's How Much You Need to Make to Live Comfortably in San Diego -

Here’s How Much You Need to Make to Live Comfortably in San Diego

How much do you need to make to live comfortably in San Diego? One organization ran the numbers to find out.

More specifically, financial advice site SmartAsset did an analysis to figure out how much an individual person needed to make for “sustainable comfort” in major metropolitan areas across the United States.

The site analyzed the pre-tax salary needed for that comfort, and applied the 50/30/20 budget rule that breaks down to this:

  • 50% of budget for needs, like housing, transportation, and groceries
  • 30% toward wants or entertainment
  • 20% toward paying off debt, saving or investments

According to the website, you would need to make $122,803 pre-tax to live comfortably in San Diego. That translates to about $59.04 an hour.

San Diego actually ranked sixth in the most costly metropolitan areas in the country. That’s not a surprise, since America’s Finest City routinely ranks as one of the most expensive places to live.

Here are the top 10 most expensive metro areas, as well as the required salary for sustainable comfort, according to SmartAsset.

  1. New York City — $138,570
  2. San Jose, California — $136,739
  3. Irvine, California — $126,797
  4. Santa Ana, California — $126,797
  5. Boston, Massachusetts — $124,966
  6. San Diego, California — $122,803
  7. Chula Vista, California — $122,803
  8. San Francisco, California — $119,558
  9. Seattle, Washington — $119,392
  10. Oakland, California — $118,796

The 2024 numbers are actually a bit promising for those looking to move to San Diego, since the national average was $96,500 for sustainable comfort in a major U.S. city. In other words, it’s expensive to live in a major metro area anywhere, and our region didn’t break the top 5.

If you’re looking at countywide statistics, the San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA statistical area came in second in 2023 for the most expensive regions to live, but that ranking had a much lower post-tax salary of $79,324.

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