The biggest cities in the United States also tend to be some of the most expensive. Living in Manhattan, for example, costs 128 percent more than the U.S. average, according to data from Kiplinger.
So what does it take to afford the country's most popular locations? Using MIT's living wage calculator, CNBC Make It found the minimum amount necessary to meet basic needs without relying on outside help. The model takes into account factors such as child care and health insurance, in addition to food and other regular costs.
These numbers account for a family of two adults and one child and don't include conveniences such as restaurant meals, vacations and money left over for investments.