(Newsroom America) -- American household debt totaled a record $12.73 trillion as of March 2017, so cost of living concerns are more pertinent than ever.
Personal finance news and features website GOBankingRates conducted a study to identify which cities across America have seen the largest increase in cost of living expenses from 2016 to 2017. The study evaluated U.S. cities based on two principal metrics:
* The increase in a city's cost of living index, which includes food, rent, utilities and transportation.
* The Increase in the amount of income required to "live comfortably," a concept used in GOBankingRates studies that combines the money needed to pay for necessities — including food, rent, utilities, transportation and healthcare — with the amount one should budget toward discretionary spending and savings.
GOBankingRates identified the cities where the cost of living index had increased by at least two points (out of a total 100) and the amount of income required to live comfortably had also risen.
Combining these two metrics provides both the objective and more subjective side of cost of living expenses. Most cost of living indices do not account for the ability to save or pay for unnecessary purchases, and yet they're both important parts of people's financial lives.
Top 5 Cities Where the Cost of Living is Rising Quickly
5. Jacksonville, Fla.
Live Comfortably Amount Increase: $2,095 Cost of Living Index Increase: 3.36 points
4. Austin, Texas
Live Comfortably Amount Increase: $1,407 Cost of Living Index Increase: 3.84 points
3. Louisville, Ky.
Live Comfortably Amount Increase: $2,066 Cost of Living Index Increase: 4.49 points
Live Comfortably Amount Increase: $3,190 Cost of Living Index Increase: 7.32 points
1. Nashville, Tenn.
Live Comfortably Amount Increase: $9,135 Cost of Living Index Increase: 8.61 points
Additional Study Insights
Home prices have been surging in Nashville. From April 2015 to April 2017, the median list price for a home rose by almost 30 percent, from under $260,000 to nearly $340,000. According to new income limits set by HUD, an individual earning $50,500 a year in Los Angeles County (#6 on the list) is now considered low-income.
The cost of living has actually gone down in New York, San Francisco, and Honolulu — cities with notoriously high expenses.