The salary a single person needs to live comfortably in 25 major U.S. cities

Michele Pevide | Getty

To live "comfortably" as a single person in 99 of the largest U.S. metro areas, you'll need a median income of $93,933, according to a recent SmartAsset analysis.

"Comfortable" is defined as the income needed to cover a 50/30/20 budget, which assumes 50% of your monthly income can pay for necessities like housing and utility costs, 30% can cover discretionary spending and 20% can be set aside for savings or investments.

SmartAsset extrapolated the income needed for a 50/30/20 budget based on the cost of necessities, using data from the MIT Living Wage Calculator.

Here's the income a single person needs to live comfortably in the 25 U.S. cities with the highest cost of living:

  1. New York City: $138,570
  2. San Jose, California: $136,739
  3. Irvine, California: $126,797
  4. Santa Ana, California: $126,797
  5. Boston: $124,966
  6. San Diego: $122,803
  7. Chula Vista, California: $122,803
  8. San Francisco: $119,558
  9. Seattle: $119,392
  10. Oakland, California: $118,768
  11. Arlington, Virginia: $117,686
  12. Newark, New Jersey: $116,646
  13. Jersey City, New Jersey: $116,646
  14. Long Beach, California: $114,691
  15. Anaheim, California: $114,691
  16. Honolulu: $111,904
  17. Los Angeles: $110,781
  18. Aurora, Colorado: $110,115
  19. Portland, Oregon: $110,032
  20. Riverside, California: $109,408
  21. Atlanta: $107,453
  22. Sacramento, California: $104,790
  23. Raleigh, North Carolina: $102,752
  24. Gilbert, Arizona: $102,752
  25. Glendale, Arizona: $102,752

New York City ranks first overall, requiring an income of $138,570 for a single person to live comfortably. In contrast, single people in Houston need to earn $75,088 — the lowest amount of all major U.S. cities examined.

Other large coastal cities follow NYC in the rankings. In Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston, you'd need to earn $110,000 or more to live comfortably as a single person. All of these cities command some of the highest living costs in the country, particularly for housing, according to The Council for Community and Economic Research.

Californians, in particular, have suffered from a longstanding housing shortage that's worse than the U.S. overall, so it's not surprising that 11 cities from the state are among the most expensive places to live, thus requiring higher salaries to live comfortably.

While employers in large, high-cost cities tend to offer higher-than-average salaries as a way to attract and retain talent, housing costs can make it difficult to maintain a 50/30/20 budget.

In New York City, a third of residents spend half of their income on rent, according to the Community Service Society. To compensate for high housing costs, residents commonly find room elsewhere in their budgets, whether that's skipping out on homeownership or spending less on discretionary purchases.

Either way, those who live alone pay a significant "singles tax" in large cities when it comes to the costs of food, shelter and transportation.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the name of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC's new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It's newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

Making $58K living in an RV in Austin, TX
Making $58K living in an RV in Austin, TX