The 21 largest US cities ranked by ease of building wealth

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It’s a good time to put down roots in the Bay Area.
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kropic1/Shutterstock

The best way to build wealth is to prioritize assets over income. But ensuring that your assets outweigh your liabilities can be impacted greatly by the city you call home.

This week, online personal finance consultant Bankrate.com released a report ranking America’s best and worst metro areas for building wealth.

To create the list, Bankrate.com ranked the 21 largest metro areas in five categories that contribute directly to an individual’s ability to build their wealth:

    Savable income: average income after taxes and expendituresHuman capital: unemployment rate, educational opportunities, and productivity Debt burden: non-mortgage debt per capita and average credit score Homeownership: average annual change in home prices, foreclosure actions, and homeownership rate Access to financial services: Percentage of workers with access to retirement plans

San Francisco came out on top as the best place to build wealth, followed by Minneapolis and Washington, DC.

“In some metro areas, like San Francisco, homeownership can be prohibitively expensive, but higher-than-average salaries can help residents stash more money away in tax-advantaged retirement accounts,” wrote Claes Bell, a Bankrate.com analyst and the author of the study. “On the other hand, Minneapolis-area residents don’t earn as much, but the area’s affordable housing and recovering real estate market provide opportunities to build wealth over the long term through home equity.”

Read on to see how the 21 largest US cities stack up for building wealth, as well as the average savable income, homeownership rate, and non-mortgage debt per capita for each city.


21. Riverside-San Bernardino, California

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Shutterstock

Savable income: $9,790

Homeownership rate: 62.6%

Debt burden: $27,682


20. Miami

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Shutterstock / Richard Cavalleri

Savable income: -$3,613*

Homeownership rate: 58%

Debt burden: $25,645

*Analysis showed a negative average savable income for the Miami metro area. This may be attributable to the high population of retirees in the area who are spending more of their savings than they’re earning.


19. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida

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Shutterstock / Bonnie Fink

Savable income: $3,437

Homeownership rate: 62.7%

Debt burden: $27,015


18. Atlanta

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Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

Savable income: $2,503

Homeownership rate: 62.1%

Debt burden: $28,259


17. Houston

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holbox/Shutterstock

Savable income: $6,117

Homeownership rate: 59.1%

Debt burden: $29,571


16. Los Angeles

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View Apart/Shutterstock

Savable income: $7,246

Homeownership rate: 46.5%

Debt burden: $25,147


15. San Diego

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Rigucci/Shutterstock

Savable income: $2,692

Homeownership rate: 52.1%

Debt burden: $26,266


14. Dallas

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kan_khampanya/Shutterstock

Savable income: $9,177

Homeownership rate: 59.1%

Debt burden: $29,204


13. New York

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Shutterstock/turtix

Savable income: $11,981

Homeownership rate: 49.5%

Debt burden: $25,687


12. Chicago

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Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

Savable income: $11,966

Homeownership rate: 62.7%

Debt burden: $27,594


11. Philadelphia

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Savable income: $9,714

Homeownership rate: 65.2%

Debt burden: $26,822


10. Baltimore

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Shutterstock

Savable income: $9,303

Homeownership rate: 66.9%

Debt burden: $27,917


9. Phoenix

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welcomia/Shutterstock

Savable income: $14,828

Homeownership rate: 63.2%

Debt burden: $27,811


8. Denver

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Shutterstock/welcomia

Savable income: $13,099

Homeownership rate:61.1%

Debt burden: $28,007


7. Boston

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Songquan Deng/Shutterstock

Savable income: $5,115

Homeownership rate: 55.1%

Debt burden: $26,318


6. Seattle

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Sorin Colac/Shutterstock

Savable income: $10,381

Homeownership rate: 55.4%

Debt burden: $27,691


5. Detroit

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Shutterstock

Savable income: $12,513

Homeownership rate: 71%

Debt burden: $23,610


4. St. Louis

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Shutterstock

Savable income: $10,451

Homeownership rate: 66.2%

Debt burden: $27,486


3. Washington, DC

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Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

Savable income: $15,246

Homeownership rate: 64.2%

Debt burden: $28,914


2. Minneapolis

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photo.ua/Shutterstock

Savable income: $6,557

Homeownership rate: 68.6%

Debt burden: $26,877


1. San Francisco

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Flickr/Scott Gustin

Savable income: $16,657

Homeownership rate: 53%

Debt burden:$25,941