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Not So Shocking Study Shows Chicago Isn't Very Affordable For Millennials

By Kate Shepherd in News on Jan 7, 2016 10:16PM

It's no shock that Chicago isn't the most affordable city in the world for young people.

The YouthfulCities affordability report ranked Chicago as the 16th most affordable city out of 55 world-class cities. Notoriously expensive New York City followed Chicago at number 17.

The top ten cities deemed most affordable for young people are: Sydney, Montreal, Detroit, San Francisco, Berlin, Tokyo, Boston, Osaka (Japan), Paris and Los Angeles. We are surprised that San Francisco came in as the fourth most affordable city.

The report relied heavily on the minimum wage (which hurt Chicago) and included other costs of daily living, such as cost of a dozen eggs and a movie ticket, for people aged 15 to 29.

With the highest minimum wage at $16.28 an hour (in U.S. currency), Sydney took the top spot. The ranking used 2014 data which means they factored in Chicago's then-minimum wage of $8.25, not the increase to $10 an hour. Chicago's minimum wage might be better now but it also has a higher sales tax of 10.25 percent than it did in 2014 (the highest of any major U.S. city), making it less affordable.

There is some positive news: Chicago did come in ninth place for affordable rent ($1,995 per month), second place for cheapest dozen eggs ($2.37) and fourth place for the low cost of a tube of toothpaste ($1.81).

Job opportunities for young people are much more important in the long run than the minimum wage, Michael Wenz, associate professor of economics at Northeastern Illinois University told RedEye.