Closer look at the cost of living in Texas - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Closer look at the cost of living in Texas

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Amarillo, TX -
For some families, making ends meet can be a challenge. Now, new research is show just how much you need to make to live comfortably,without spending more than 30% of your income on housing. 
 
In Texas, it takes a little more than $16 an hour, working 40 hours a week, in order to afford a two-bedroom house, according to a National Low Income Housing Coalition study. 

While some say that may seem like a lot.. Others  say that figure is not that unrealistic.  

Audrey Roberson  keeps a close eye on her money. She works part time at a fast food restaurant and is also a full time student at West Texas A&M. 

"There's more that we need in life now that adds to the cost of living," she told us. 

Dylan Sumner is in a similar situation. He too works part time and is going to school. According to him, miniminimume "just does not cut it."

When thinking about all of the expenses Roberson has to cover, she says money can get a little tight. 

"There is gas, food, there's also clothes, computer, books," she said. 

Another one of those everyday expenses goes towards housing.  

"I just can't see anyone living in comfort with just $7.50 coming in and having more people to support," Sumner told us, especially when the fair market rent value for a two bedroom home in Texas comes out to around $868 a month.

New financial research shows in order to afford this level of rent, including utilities, you would need to work at least 40 hours a week making $16.67 an hour, so as not to pay more than 30% of your income on housing.  

To help put things into perspective, to afford that same house you would need to make almost $26 an hour in California, but only around $13 in Oklahoma.

Although the hourly wage varies around the country, Neil Meredith, an Economics Professor at WTAMU, says the $16.67 it would take here in Texas is not that unrealistic, especially  if you are living with someone else.

"If you look at the study, they are looking at a two bedroom apartment. So lets say you  have two roommates and lets imagine they both make minimum wage and they are working 40 hours a week, it comes pretty close to that mark," he said. 

Meredith also points out, the $16 figure is an average for the whole state.

"Depending on what area of Texas you are living in, it can be more or less expensive. Typically more urbanized areas or the closer you are to downtown, the more expensive it's going to be. But in a smaller city or a larger town like Amarillo or Canyon, you wouldn't expect it to be that expensive," he said.

Meredith also says a stable economy and housing market in the panhandle help to lower the cost of living in our area.