MASON CITY, Iowa - A new study of the best places to live for people making $50,000 a year is giving two cities in our area top marks.
The consumer advocacy website GOBankingRates rates Austin first on the list, with Mason City ranking third. The site looked at cities in each state with at least 5,000 households and had a median income between $45,000-$55,000, and subtracted cost of living expenses. Information on livability and amenities was included as supplemental data.
Low cost of living in Mason City had a big impact; the average rent of $707 a month is the lowest of any place in the survey.
Still, not everyone in Mason City is taking stock in the River City's glowing ranking.
"I think it's flawed because I don't believe there are a whole lot of people in Mason City or the area that are left with $440 left in their pocket after making expenses. I think it's more likely that they gross close to $440."
Tom Willet has lived in and around Mason City throughout his life. He doesn't agree with the ranking, as he feels people pocket less money after paying for necessities. But he does have an idea on how to change it: having more affordable housing.
"There isn't much affordable housing. I think across the country, there's a shortage of affordable housing. I'm not talking low income, I'm talking affordable for the average level."
For Mason City residents, the study found that a little under $23,000 in salary is left over after covering expenses. In Austin, residents are left with nearly $24,000.
The most expensive place in the survey is Burlington, Vermont, with total necessities costing around $43,300 annually, and only having $6,675 left over.