Houston may not be the biggest city in the U.S., but it’s the best for building wealth, according to a new ranking by Bankrate.com.
Bankrate looked at the 18 largest cities in the country and ranked them in terms of the opportunities they offer the get ahead financially. The rankings were based on the local job and housing markets, how much debt residents carry, access to financial services and how much money residents are able to save, on average, after paying taxes and living expenses.
Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S. — and growing rapidly, beat out the top three of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, helped by Texas’s lack of a state income tax. The list contained a few other surprises. Detroit, which has suffered economically for decades and in 2013 became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, ranked high on the list, as did Cleveland and Baltimore. San Francisco, heart of the tech boom and home to a thriving job market, missed the top 10.
Claes Bell, an analyst at Bankrate, said that while the job market in San Francisco might be excellent, “other factors are going to make it difficult for a typical household there to build wealth over the long term. In particular, homeownership is just out of reach for a lot of people.”
Here are the top 10 cities to get rich in, according to Bankrate.
1. Houston, TX
Houston takes the top ranking because of its diverse job market, low consumer debt levels and an economic environment that allows residents to save a relatively healthy portion of their income.
2. Washington, D.C.
The nation’s capital came in second thanks to a robust job market and high levels of household income that allow residents to sock away more than in other places.
3. Cleveland, OH
This Rust Belt city may not have the hottest job market (it ranks 14th of 18 on that front), but it scored well for having low consumer debt levels and relatively strong opportunities to save.
4. Detroit, MI
Detroit isn’t thought of as particularly prosperous, but the city ranked high on this list because of its cheap housing market and low consumer debt.
5. New York, NY
A booming job market counterbalanced expensive rents and a high consumer debt levels.
6. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
Cheap rents and low amounts of consumer debt make this the second Lone Star city to break the top 10.
7. Baltimore, MD
Baltimore cracked the top 10 largely because of offers relatively low living expenses.
8. Miami, FL
In addition to year-round balmy weather, Miami also boasts low consumer debt levels and the second-highest level of income after taxes and household expenses.
9. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
The twin cities each offer relatively reasonable rents, decent job markets and convenient access to financial services.
10. Chicago, IL
Chicago isn’t cheap, but the city’s easy access to financial services that allow consumers to invest, save and borrow efficiently caused it to just make top 10.