Back-to-School Jeans Index: Cities Where Your Dollar Goes the Furthest

Studies
Back-to-School Jeans Index

How much you spend on common purchases depends on several factors, including where you’re shopping. Your dollar’s purchasing power varies greatly across different cities in the U.S.

With back-to-school shopping season rapidly approaching, NerdWallet created the “Back-to-School Jeans Index,” a basic cost of living measure to gauge differences in affordability across the U.S. based on the average price of a pair of boys blue denim jeans.

We looked at the average price of jeans compared to the median household income in 166 U.S. cities to create an index of jeans per median income—in other words, the number of pairs of average-priced jeans that an average-earning household can buy in each city. There are some notable differences across many of the cities:

  • The least expensive pair of jeans on average (in terms of raw price) can be found in Harlingen, Texas, for $11.13. At the other end of the spectrum, no place is worse for your wallet than Providence, Rhode Island—a pair of boys jeans costs $39.99 there.
  • When accounting for median income levels, a pair of jeans in Providence, Rhode Island is six times less affordable than in Round Rock, Texas. The median household income in Round Rock can buy 4,923 pairs of jeans while the average income in Providence, Rhode Island, can afford 850 pairs.
  • Texas, which has more affordable cities than any other state in the country, also leads the way in the jean index with three of the top 10 cities.
  • Although the general cost of living is high in Washington, D.C., the true cost of jeans is relatively low, making the nation’s capital a pretty great place for your wallet when it comes to boys jeans.
  • The nationwide median price of a pair of boys blue jeans is $21.47, while the median household income across the country is $51,371.

For more information on affordability in each of these places, check out NerdWallet’s cost of living calculator. For similar studies and more, visit NerdWallet Cities.

Interested in future NerdWallet studies? Click here to have updates sent directly to your inbox. 

Back-to-School Jeans Index

Rank City Mean Price of Boys Jeans Median Household Income Jeans Per Median Income
1 Round Rock, TX  $14.40  $70,896.00 4,923
2 Edmond, OK  $16.26  $70,199.00 4,317
3 Midland, TX  $14.46  $61,602.00 4,260
4 Washington, DC  $15.79  $66,583.00 4,217
5 Plano, TX  $21.10  $81,475.00 3,861
6 Norman, OK  $13.49  $49,210.00 3,648
7 Charlotte, NC  $14.26  $50,950.00 3,573
8 Kennewick, WA  $14.48  $50,841.00 3,511
9 Jonesboro, AR  $12.63  $43,353.00 3,433
10 Raleigh, NC  $15.87  $53,653.00 3,381
11 Joliet, IL  $18.26  $61,269.00 3,355
12 Phoenix, AZ  $13.25  $44,153.00 3,332
13 Anchorage, AK  $22.38  $72,575.00 3,243
14 Lafayette, IN  $12.50  $40,393.00 3,231
15 Fargo, ND  $14.20  $45,360.00 3,194
16 Indianapolis, IN  $12.92  $40,854.00 3,162
17 San Jose, CA  $25.42  $80,090.00 3,151
18 Green Bay, WI  $12.56  $38,579.00 3,072
19 Champaign, IL  $14.94  $45,864.00 3,070
20 Salt Lake City, UT  $13.99  $42,827.00 3,061
21 Tracy, CA  $22.74  $69,514.00 3,057
22 Chattanooga, TN  $13.19  $40,116.00 3,041
23 Des Moines, IA  $14.82  $45,001.00 3,037
24 San Francisco, CA  $24.60  $73,012.00 2,968
25 Cedar Rapids, IA  $17.48  $51,429.00 2,942
26 Scottsdale, AZ  $24.58  $72,102.00 2,933
27 Denver, CO  $17.33  $50,488.00 2,913
28 Fayetteville, AR  $12.71  $36,689.00 2,887
29 Richmond, VA  $13.47  $38,185.00 2,835
30 St. George, UT  $14.24  $40,299.00 2,830
31 Durham, NC  $17.72  $49,332.00 2,784
32 Atlanta, GA  $16.79  $46,466.00 2,767
33 Harlingen, TX  $11.13  $30,345.00 2,726
34 McAllen, TX  $16.99  $46,072.00 2,712
35 Roanoke, VA  $14.17  $37,890.00 2,674
36 Lincoln, NE  $17.99  $48,070.00 2,672
37 Madison, WI  $19.32  $51,180.00 2,649
38 Portland, ME  $15.99  $42,155.00 2,636
39 Tacoma, WA  $19.49  $51,258.00 2,630
40 Rockford, IL  $14.38  $37,363.00 2,598
41 Seattle, WA  $25.00  $64,473.00 2,579
42 Winston-Salem, NC  $14.63  $37,592.00 2,570
43 San Diego, CA  $24.79  $62,395.00 2,517
44 Las Vegas, NV  $18.85  $47,415.00 2,515
45 Omaha, NE  $17.99  $45,159.00 2,510
46 Evansville, IN  $13.59  $34,104.00 2,509
47 Milwaukee, WI  $13.58  $34,042.00 2,507
48 Springfield, IL  $19.66  $48,683.00 2,476
49 Odessa, TX  $21.00  $51,948.00 2,474
50 Baton Rouge, LA  $15.88  $38,806.00 2,444
51 Colorado Springs, CO  $21.59  $52,622.00 2,437
52 Yakima, WA  $16.75  $40,693.00 2,429
53 Fort Lauderdale, FL  $21.00  $50,997.00 2,428
54 Baltimore, MD  $16.19  $39,241.00 2,424
55 Ann Arbor, MI  $21.17  $50,648.00 2,392
56 Rapid City, SD  $18.99  $44,626.00 2,350
57 Amarillo, TX  $19.72  $46,028.00 2,334
58 Flagstaff, AZ  $20.80  $48,522.00 2,333
59 Asheville, NC  $18.64  $43,423.00 2,330
60 Waterloo, IA  $19.99  $45,799.00 2,291
61 Huntsville, AL  $20.98  $47,818.00 2,279
62 Reno, NV  $19.36  $43,218.00 2,232
63 Rio Rancho, NM  $27.28  $60,512.00 2,218
64 Cape Coral, FL  $21.93  $48,619.00 2,217
65 Kansas City, MO  $18.99  $41,877.00 2,205
66 Jackson, MS  $13.87  $30,219.00 2,179
67 Wichita Falls, TX  $21.11  $45,847.00 2,172
68 Pueblo, CO  $15.94  $34,362.00 2,156
69 Columbia, MO  $18.68  $40,118.00 2,148
70 Corpus Christi, TX  $22.99  $49,336.00 2,146
71 Lubbock, TX  $18.78  $39,911.00 2,125
72 Minneapolis, MN  $22.44  $47,604.00 2,121
73 Charleston, SC  $23.24  $49,266.00 2,120
74 Denton, TX  $22.39  $47,367.00 2,116
75 Wichita, KS  $20.78  $43,776.00 2,107
76 Montgomery, AL  $19.26  $40,536.00 2,105
77 Yuma, AZ  $19.87  $41,624.00 2,095
78 Hampton, VA  $22.99  $47,472.00 2,065
79 Fort Worth, TX  $24.59  $50,750.00 2,064
80 Tampa, FL  $19.86  $40,894.00 2,059
81 Oakland, CA  $23.45  $48,196.00 2,055
82 Louisville, KY  $20.99  $43,035.00 2,050
83 South Bend, IN  $15.92  $32,606.00 2,048
84 Indianapolis, IN  $20.00  $40,854.00 2,043
85 Jacksonville, FL  $20.99  $42,800.00 2,039
86 El Paso, TX  $20.49  $40,974.00 2,000
87 Decatur, IL  $18.72  $37,397.00 1,998
88 Oklahoma City, OK  $21.71  $43,352.00 1,997
89 St. Paul, MN  $24.18  $48,235.00 1,995
90 Palm Coast, FL  $21.86  $43,280.00 1,980
91 Augusta-Aiken, GA-SC  $18.66  $36,919.00 1,979
92 Dothan, AL  $21.64  $42,665.00 1,972
93 Houston, TX  $21.78  $42,847.00 1,967
94 Spokane, WA  $21.18  $40,925.00 1,932
95 St. Louis, MO  $16.59  $31,997.00 1,929
96 Nashville, TN  $22.60  $43,399.00 1,920
97 Lawton, OK  $23.00  $43,683.00 1,899
98 Lexington, KY  $24.39  $46,248.00 1,896
99 Sacramento, CA  $25.64  $48,546.00 1,893
100 Beaumont, TX  $18.96  $35,859.00 1,891
101 Topeka, KS  $21.70  $40,469.00 1,865
102 Stockton, CA  $23.39  $43,321.00 1,852
103 Pittsburgh, PA  $21.62  $39,884.00 1,845
104 Riverside, CA  $29.02  $52,697.00 1,816
105 Boise, ID  $26.19  $47,446.00 1,812
106 Fresno, CA  $21.19  $38,386.00 1,812
107 Chicago, IL  $24.97  $45,214.00 1,811
108 Tulsa, OK  $22.49  $40,440.00 1,798
109 Grand Rapids, MI  $21.50  $38,643.00 1,797
110 Akron, OH  $18.20  $32,645.00 1,794
111 Austin, TX  $29.25  $52,453.00 1,793
112 Tyler, TX  $22.99  $41,210.00 1,793
113 Los Angeles, CA  $26.19  $46,803.00 1,787
114 San Antonio, TX  $25.49  $45,524.00 1,786
115 Shreveport, LA  $22.50  $40,065.00 1,781
116 Portland, OR  $29.40  $52,158.00 1,774
117 St. Cloud, MN  $25.50  $43,911.00 1,722
118 Little Rock, AR  $26.75  $45,951.00 1,718
119 Memphis, TN  $19.58  $33,563.00 1,714
120 Knoxville, TN  $18.79  $32,191.00 1,713
121 Lynchburg, VA  $21.59  $36,912.00 1,710
122 Everett, WA  $26.39  $44,832.00 1,699
123 Buffalo, NY  $17.97  $30,422.00 1,693
124 Temple, TX  $30.00  $50,437.00 1,681
125 New Haven, CT  $21.77  $36,530.00 1,678
126 Bloomington, IN  $16.62  $27,643.00 1,663
127 Columbus, OH  $26.39  $43,844.00 1,661
128 Columbia, SC  $25.31  $41,837.00 1,653
129 Longview, TX  $24.29  $40,067.00 1,650
130 Eau Claire, WI  $24.00  $39,376.00 1,641
131 Bakersfield, CA  $33.00  $53,693.00 1,627
132 Mobile, AL  $21.79  $35,238.00 1,617
133 Dallas, TX  $25.59  $41,354.00 1,616
134 Jacksonville, NC  $25.66  $41,396.00 1,613
135 Bellingham, WA  $26.39  $41,718.00 1,581
136 Wilmington, NC  $29.25  $46,225.00 1,580
137 Lake Charles, LA  $20.74  $32,575.00 1,571
138 Manchester, NH  $34.99  $54,644.00 1,562
139 Miami, FL  $18.39  $28,301.00 1,539
140 Allentown, PA  $23.56  $36,158.00 1,535
141 Lafayette, LA  $26.40  $40,396.00 1,530
142 New York, NY  $33.67  $50,895.00 1,512
143 Kalamazoo, MI  $19.99  $30,214.00 1,511
144 Fort Wayne, IN  $28.66  $42,540.00 1,484
145 Waco, TX  $22.29  $31,841.00 1,428
146 Savannah, GA  $23.22  $33,167.00 1,428
147 New Orleans, LA  $24.33  $34,361.00 1,412
148 Erie, PA  $23.56  $33,271.00 1,412
149 Boston, MA  $37.99  $51,642.00 1,359
150 Philadelphia, PA  $26.66  $35,386.00 1,327
151 Wilmington, DE  $29.00  $38,468.00 1,326
152 Gainesville, FL  $21.99  $28,914.00 1,315
153 Springfield, MO  $24.50  $32,156.00 1,312
154 Hartford, CT  $21.40  $27,753.00 1,297
155 Albany, NY  $33.60  $42,830.00 1,275
156 Cleveland, OH  $19.49  $24,257.00 1,245
157 Muncie, IN  $24.33  $30,213.00 1,242
158 Dayton, OH  $22.22  $27,033.00 1,217
159 Newark, NJ  $26.19  $31,293.00 1,195
160 Tucson, AZ  $29.68  $35,354.00 1,191
161 Albany, GA  $24.99  $28,461.00 1,139
162 Rochester, NY  $28.30  $30,769.00 1,087
163 Detroit, MI  $22.19  $23,600.00 1,064
164 Greenville, NC  $29.00  $30,566.00 1,054
165 Birmingham, AL  $34.33  $30,701.00 894
166 Providence, RI  $39.99  $33,989.00 850

Methodology

  1. Mean price of blue denim jeans (regular, relaxed or loose fit, sizes 8-20) from the ACCRA Cost of Living Index.
  2. Median household income from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.

Jeans hanging on rack image via Shutterstock.