Four California Cities Top List of the Least Affordable Metros for Teachers

Santa Cruz, California is the least affordable city for teachers in the United States, according to a new analysis from USA Today.

The publication compared teacher salaries to housing costs in metropolitan areas across the U.S. based on 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics. It separated the results into three categories: new teachers, mid-career, and senior teachers.

“New teachers can't afford the median rent almost anywhere in the U.S,” the analysis found. Just 13 out of the 291 metros USA Today analyzed are affordable for new teachers, meaning they would spend no more than 30% of their salaries on rent. Among the few cities new teachers can afford are Johnstown, Pennsylvania and Springfield, Ohio.

For mid-career teachers, the top 5 least affordable cities were as follows:

1. Santa Cruz

2. San Jose

3. San Francisco

4. Honolulu

5. Santa Rosa

On average, Santa Cruz rents are 66.3% of mid-career teacher salaries. In San Jose, they’re 63.6% and in San Francisco they’re 61.5%. To make ends meet, many teachers take up side jobs like driving for Lyft and Uber.

The story is a little different for those teachers who have been around a long time. Most metros are affordable for the longest tenured teachers. They still have trouble affording housing in some of the Golden State’s largest cities, however.

According to USA Today, the average teacher earned $58,950 in 2016-2017 which, when adjusted for inflation, is less than they earned 20 years ago. Data from the Economic Policy Institute shows teachers make 12% less today than private-sector workers with similar education levels, even when benefits are taken into consideration.

Read the full analysis from USA Today here.

Data is compiled and reported by USA Today. Report does not reflect statistics on all U.S. or California cities.