Submitted by crimcol t3_11erajm in arlingtonva

My spouse and I are both 32 years old, and we have a 3.5-year-old child. We recently moved to Arlington and are curious about the average income for families of our size and age range who live here.

Our monthly expenses include $2700 for rent (2BR), $100 for parking, and $100 for utilities. On top of that, our child attends preschool which costs $2000 per month. We don't have any debt, but we're wondering what income level would be necessary for a family of three to comfortably afford these expenses in Arlington.

Any insights or personal experiences would be appreciated!



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Arkhiah t1_jafx6eb wrote

I would say for a family of 3, around $180k-$200k would be ideal to live comfortably and not worry about budgeting each month. This leaves room for savings, groceries/food, entertainment, transportation, etc. - all of which aren’t cheap in Arlington and the surrounding area.


racoonio t1_jaj286i wrote

I am curious how you landed on that range? Do you mind sharing what went into this figure? Thanks!


DUNGAROO t1_jarrsh7 wrote

Oof this is a sore subject for us. My wife and I are of a similar age, with similar housing expenses (slightly higher, closer to $3,400 all-in) and are considering having children in the next 24 months.

We make a pretty comfortable living of between $250-275k/year(depending on how bonuses and salary increases go this year), and can afford a clean and comfortable (but by no means lavish) apartment, dining out every weekend, roughly $15k/year of travel, and a reasonable savings rate for retirement. The schools around our current apartment are quite good, so it would be a great place to raise a kid…if we wanted to continue to rent. When we looked at buying a condo or townhouse of comparable size and location to what we currently enjoy, all the math goes to shit.

We would like to both have children and become homeowners in the near future, but even with a household income of >$250k/year, we cannot afford to do both without either A) relocating to a different part of the county or further away from DC entirely and (likely) compromising on our current standards for public schools or B) directing almost all of our money towards housing and child expenses, leaving relatively little money leftover for home improvement, family recreation, and saving for college. I think to own a home of >1,200 square feet in Arlington, send your kids to a good school (by that I mean Elementary, Middle, and High Schools for the area are all rated a 6/10 or higher by Great Schools), and have enough discretionary income leftover for everything that people typically associate with “comfortable” middle class living (saving for retirement, saving for college, investing in home improvement, driving 1-2 reliable and safe cars, eating out occasionally, and still having money available to travel once or twice per year), you probably need to have a combined household income of $300k/year or more, probably closer to $400k/year if you want to do those things above but live in a townhouse or detached house that isn’t falling apart.

I know this is a controversial subject and some people do a great job of raising well-rounded kids on far less money and live a happy life. But if you were looking for an “ideal” number to aim for to raise a family in Arlington, that’s what I would aim for. (For the record, I don’t think we’re ever going to hit those numbers, which is why we’ll likely be exiting the DMV in the next 5-10 years entirely).


crimcol OP t1_jarudru wrote

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My income is much lower at that moment $130k, because I have a working visa and am not able to change company. Waiting for a green card, but before using my savings. My high level calculations match with your numbers. For that moment $250k should be enough for renting, preschool, traveling, etc. But if you want to stay and buy a house you need around $350k or more.


TudorTerrier t1_jajc0c5 wrote

North Arlington is very expensive. Very.


crimcol OP t1_jajftdt wrote

And that is why I have this question what is a good income for a family.


TudorTerrier t1_jajh124 wrote

I have two high schoolers and rent. Combined income of $400 K

Average home price in my neighborhood 1 million.

When they are both in college we are moving, way too expensive. Hope this helps


skurvy123 t1_jajwdk8 wrote


whiskeyisenough t1_jakal4p wrote

I think the most depressing figure on this is the Owner-Occupied housing unit rate at 42.3%

I may be misinterpreting this figure, but that seems very low.


skurvy123 t1_jakfd3k wrote

No idea. Compare it to NYC or something. Makes sense there's a lot of shit to rent in a very transient area