8 Worst Places in Texas To Live on Just Social Security
Texas is a big state with no shortage of places to live. However, if you're living on a fixed income in retirement and relying on your Social Security income to pay for your monthly expenses, there are some places in the Lone Star State that you'll want to cross off your list.
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To find the worst cities in Texas to live on only a Social Security check, GOBankingRates gathered data on the average monthly benefit for retired workers from the Social Security Administration and also determined the 20 cities in Texas with the highest 2022 average monthly rent.
Next, we used Sperling's Best to find the cost of living indexes for groceries and healthcare for each city and the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 Customer Expenditure Survey to find annual costs for groceries and healthcare for people 65 and over.
All qualifying cities had to also have a livability score of at least 65. After combining and scoring both livability and monthly cost of living expenses for each city, the cities were ranked.
Here are the eight worst places in Texas to live on just Social Security.
Grocery Cost of Living Index: 96.3
2022 Average Monthly Rent: $2,400
Livability Score: 82
Wimberly is a small, artsy community located between Austin and San Antonio in the scenic Texas Hill Country. Wimberly's livability score of 82 is considered exceptional, but if you're depending on funding your monthly expenses with just a Social Security check, it won't go very far. Although grocery costs are below the national average, other expenses are higher, including the average monthly rent, which is over $400 more than the national average of $1,954. Healthcare costs are also higher than the national average -- $637 versus $586.
7. Glenn Heights
Grocery Cost of Living Index: 99
2022 Average Monthly Rent: $2,183
Livability Score: 71
Glenn Heights is a suburb near Dallas. Residents pay less than the national average for groceries and healthcare in Glenn Heights. However, monthly rent is higher than the national average of $1,954. Additionally, utilities are 8.6% higher -- approximately $4,258 annually versus $3,921 at the national level.
Grocery Cost of Living Index: 110.8
2022 Average Monthly Rent: $2,567
Livability Score: 81
Bellaire is a smaller, family-friendly community that lies right outside booming Houston, but the cost of living there is still unaffordable if you're living on a fixed income. Not only are groceries higher than the national average, costing $415 per month, rent is approximately $600 higher. And because the average Social Security check for a retired couple is only $3,264, those rent and grocery expenses will eat up most of the money.
Grocery Cost of Living Index: 106.9
2022 Average Monthly Rent: $2,790
Livability Score: 89
Colleyville, which is in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, is considered a charming community with easy access to all of the big-city amenities. However, the rent in Colleyville is almost $2,800 per month. Compare that to the average Social Security check for a retired couple of approximately $3,264, and it's evident that it's too expensive to live here without another source of income. Groceries and utility costs are also more expensive than the national average.
4. Alamo Heights
Grocery Cost of Living Index: 98
2022 Average Monthly Rent: $2,799
Livability Score: 83
Alamo Heights is just five miles from the center of San Antonio, which makes it convenient to healthcare. Although the CoL index for groceries, healthcare and utilities falls below the national average, rent is too high for a couple living on an average Social Security check of $3,264.
3. Red Oak
Grocery Cost of Living Index: 99
2022 Average Monthly Rent: $2,373
Livability Score: 69
Red Oak is 20 miles south of Dallas, which isn't too inconvenient to access certain amenities like healthcare, but its livability score is much lower than other places on this list. After paying rent here, retired couples relying on just a Social Security check would have less than $1,000 to live on for the rest of the month. Unfortunately, that amount wouldn't fully cover the rest of the living expenses, such as groceries, healthcare and utilities.
2. Horseshoe Bay
Grocery Cost of Living Index: 96.8
2022 Average Monthly Rent: $2,800
Livability Score: 71
Horseshoe Bay is located on Lake LBJ in the Texas Hill Country about 45 minutes from Austin. It's a small community, but it's a resort area, so the cost of living is higher. First off, rent is way above the national average, and utilities and healthcare also exceed it. With expenses like this, living just on Social Security wouldn't be doable.
Grocery Cost of Living Index: 98.8
2022 Average Monthly Rent: $3,343
Livability Score: 86
Lakeway is located approximately 25 miles west of the state's capital city of Austin. Although Lakeway has an exceptional livability score, the average monthly rent is almost $1,400 higher than the national average of $1,954. A retired couple living on an average Social Security check of $3,264 wouldn't even be able to cover the rent, let alone any of the other living expenses.
Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the worst cities in Texas to live on only a Social Security check based on the average monthly benefit for retired workers, $1,632 ($3,264 for a couple), sourced from the Social Security Administration. GOBankingRates first isolated 20 cities in Texas with the highest 2022 average monthly rent. GOBankingRates then used Sperling's Best to find the cost-of-living index for each listed city, looking at grocery and healthcare index scores. Next, GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find the annual expenditure amount for both grocery ("food at home") and healthcare costs for people aged 65 and older. GOBankingRates then added monthly housing, grocery and healthcare costs together to find where a person/couple 65 and older would spend. In order for a city to be qualified for the study, it had to have a livability score above 65 as sourced from AreaVibes. GOBankingRates scored and combined both livability and monthly necessities expenditure, with the highest score being worst, to determine final rankings. All data was collected and is up to date as of Jan. 9, 2023.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 8 Worst Places in Texas To Live on Just Social Security