Study of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. finds new cars are out of reach for most.

A new car is out of reach financially for families in the country’s 50 largest cities. That’s according to a new analysis from, which evaluated the affordability of new cars based on a median new-car selling price of $33,865.

To establish its affordability ratings, factored in the average incomes in various cities, a 4.24-percent auto loan rate, and annual insurance costs. Of the major cities that couldn’t afford the new-car rate, San Jose, California, came out top; residents there could swing a $32,856 car payment, said. The lowest ten entries on the list were, in descending order, Providence, Rhode Island; Cincinnati; Birmingham, Alabama; New Orleans; Miami; Buffalo, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; Cleveland; Rochester, New York; and Detroit. The Motor City was at the very bottom of the list of major cities because of its average income of $25,769 and average annual car insurance of $1,131.’s calculations were based on what the company calls the “20-4-10” rule: Car shoppers should put down a 20 percent down payment, finance for not longer than four years, and not allow the combined cost of the payment and insurance to exceed 10 percent of their monthly income.

It’s worth noting that while $33,865 is the median cost of a new car, there are many great rides available for lower prices. That would make new-car ownership more accessible to more Americans.

Sources:, The New York Times

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