Survey: St. Pete is right up there with the Midwest for people making $60,000

The city ranks highly for people who make a good if not great salary.
The St. Petersburg skyline looking west from the waterfront.
The St. Petersburg skyline looking west from the waterfront. [ Times (2018) ]
Published Nov. 2, 2020|Updated Nov. 2, 2020

It may not feel like it, what with runaway rents and home prices, but St. Petersburg ranks highly among the best cities to live in the U.S. on an annual income of $60,000.

That’s according to a survey by SmartAsset, an online site that recommends financial advisors.

St. Petersburg ranked 23rd on the list, which also gave high marks to many small cities in the Midwest and northern U.S. The top-ranked cities included Sioux Falls, S.D. at No. 1, followed by Billings, Mont. and Lincoln, Neb.

In fact, St. Pete was the only city in Florida to crack the Top 25, which included surprisingly few cities from the south, including Lexington, Ky. (No. 10), Greenville, S.C. (No. 16), Columbia, Mo. (tied at No. 17) and Nashville, Tenn. (No. 20)

SmartAsset considered 97 cities with populations of at least 60,000 and median household incomes of $55,000 to $65,000. Clearly, not many big cities were going to make the cut.

From there it compared cities across nine key metrics: median household income, median monthly housing costs, housing costs as a percentage of a $60,000 income, entertainment establishments per 10,000 residents, civic establishments per 10,000 residents, percentage of people without health insurance, average commute time, unemployment rate and poverty rate.

The study relied on data from the Census Bureau’s 2019 one-year American Community Survey, though one key measure seems hard to believe. It found that all but one of the top 10 cities (Omaha, Neb.) had median housing costs of less than $1,000 a month.

That was one of the poorer metrics for St. Pete. The survey listed its median household income at $61,631, with 23.26 percent going toward household costs, or just less than $1,200 a month.