A recent study by a California-based Surety First Insurance Services has found Orlando to be the most difficult city to save money. The average resident’s expenses in Orlando exceeded income by $72 every month. The median monthly income in the city is $3,097 and median monthly expenses stand at $3,169.
Orlando has the ninth-lowest discretionary income for a single adult when compared to 50 of the largest cities in the country.
The study was compiled using the data from the U.S. Census Bureau and a Washington-based think tank called the Economic Policy.
Expenses taken into account for the study included food, housing, transportation, health care, taxes, child care and other necessities.
“Discretionary income is a factor in financial decision making for individuals, too,” wrote Surety First’s Jeremy Schaedler about the study. “Whether you’re considering a move, starting your own business, or planning for any other investment, having an understanding of your discretionary income is important.”
According to the study, Washington was the best city for discretionary income with $1,607. New Orleans was at the bottom with a debt of $466 for the average resident.
The findings paint a slightly different picture when it comes to couples. Married couples without children do a better job at saving money. The average married couple in Orlando earns $6,195 and has $4,185 in expenses, giving them $2,010, moving the city up to 10th lowest. The figures for married couples without children move Miami and Tampa to ninth and sixth-lowest respectively on the list. New Orleans was still rooted at the bottom.
Orlando was ranked 28th when looking at married couples with two children. Orlando parents saw a deficit of $342 because even though the married couples brought in the same income, children brought expenses to $6,537 per month. New York was the worst city for couples with children with a monthly debt of $2,392.
The report comes out as the debate to raise the minimum wage up to $15 rages on in the country. The federal minimum wage in the United States has been $7.25 per hour since July 2009, the last time Congress raised it. The incoming President Joe Biden had pledged to push his plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 once he became president. However, those plans have suffered setbacks with the new administration unable to take any concrete steps over the issue.
Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in November last year that gradually increases the state’s minimum wage. Currently at $8.65 an hour, the wage will rise to $10 in September, and increase $1 annually until reaching $15 an hour in 2026.
Sammy Conde, a 26-year-old Starbucks employee and a leader in the FL Fight for $15, the group that pushed the amendment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the state, wasn’t surprised by the findings of the report.
“This study is more evidence of what workers know to be true — what we’re living on now is not enough to survive,” he said.