3 U.S. cities where the average person would need 2 side hustles just to get by

The likelihood that you'll need two side hustles to make ends meet depends a lot on where you live. These cities have the largest gap between income and costs.


Millions of Americans have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, and many are still wondering how they'll pay their next bill. But even before the crisis hit, the picture wasn't rosy: Nearly half, or 46%, of working adults said they "needed" a side hustle to cover basic expenses, according to GOBankingRates.com.

While everyone's financial outlook is different, the likelihood that you'll need a second gig just to get by can depend on where you live and how expensive it is to call that place home.

To find where Americans most need extra income to cover everyday costs, GOBankingRates researchers evaluated the 100 largest U.S. cities' per capita income, or the average income earned per person. The study tallied the average annual cost of groceries, health care, transportation, and rent for a one-bedroom apartment in each place, then subtracted that total from per capita income.

The researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine income and living expenses, while using Zillow figures to find housing costs. The cities with the biggest gap between income and cost of living made the top of the list.

3. Miami, Florida

Gap between per capita income and total costs: $20,518.31
Per capita income: $25,067
Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $23,998
Annual grocery cost: $4,565
Annual health-care cost: $4,884
Annual utility cost: $3,777
Annual transportation cost: $8,359
Number of side hustles needed to get by: 2

Los Angeles, California.

2. Hialeah, Florida

Gap between per capita income and total costs: $20,539
Per capita income: $15,343
Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $14,400
Annual grocery cost: $4,565.02
Annual health-care cost: $4,884
Annual utility cost: $3,841
Annual transportation cost: $8,191
Number of side hustles needed to get by: 2

How Amobi Okugo turned a side hustle into a full-time business

Video by Courtney Stith

1. Santa Ana, California

Gap between per capita income and total living costs: $21,803
Per capita income: $18,121
Annual rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $21,127
Annual grocery cost: $4,462
Annual health-care cost: $4,382
Annual utility cost: $3,872
Annual transportation cost: $6,078
Number of side hustles needed to get by: 2


In Santa Ana, California, the No. 1 city on the list, the gap between per capita income and total living costs is $21,803. Compare that to Houston, the city that ranks at No. 50 on the list, where the gap is a more manageable $4,166. The average salary for millennials there is about $47,034 a year. 

The study found that in all three of these cities, in fact, you'd need at least two side hustles to make enough to cover expenses. (Researchers used figures from The Hustle, a magazine dedicated to side gigs, to land on an average side hustle income of $12,609 a year, though other reports find that figure is lower.)

Side hustle suggestions

Whether you need the extra income to pay bills or you want it to make a smart move like boosting your retirement savings, there are good ways to bring in cash even as the pandemic keeps people home.

Think about one of these opportunities:

Deliver groceries

People are ordering in now more than before, and grocery stores are capitalizing on the traffic. At Instacart, shoppers make an average of $13 per hour, according to Glassdoor. Delivery platform Shipt says its shoppers can make up to $22 per hour.

Take surveys online

Companies are looking to create new products and sales strategies in anticipation of the holidays. Market research organizations, like Shifrin-HayworthFocus Group, or Find Focus Groups, work on behalf of businesses to pay people to test items and provide feedback. 

Sell things you don't need

Consider picking out a few things you don't need from your basement, attic, or closet and selling them to someone who's willing to pay. Websites like Amazon, eBay, Mercari, and Facebook Marketplace can help you close a deal.

Or try Grow's side hustle quiz to figure out which might be the best fit for you.

More from Grow:

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns


About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2019 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.