How Much You Need to Make to Afford a Home in Each State

Millennials are increasingly opting to pay rent over mortgages as housing prices creep up across the country. But the American dream of owning a home is more realistic in some places than it is in others. According to this data visualization from the cost information site How Much, where you choose to live can save you tens of thousands of dollars on housing payments a year.

How Much calculated the salary you need to afford the average home in each state by running data from Zillow into a mortgage calculator. They assumed that homeowners would pay interest of 4 to 5 percent depending on the state, make a down payment of 10 percent, and spend 30 percent of their annual income on their mortgage. Based on these numbers, they found West Virginia to be the most affordable state to live in: There you only need to make $38,320 to own the average $149,500 home. Behind it is Ohio with a salary requirement of $38,400 and Michigan with a salary of $40,800. All the states where the minimum salary to own a home falls below $50,000 are located in the South, North-Atlantic, and Midwestern U.S.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Hawaii occupies the top slot. To afford an average house there, which goes for $610,000, you need to bring home an annual income of at least $153,520. Washington D.C., where you need to make $138,440 or more, is the second most expensive location for homeowners, followed by California with a minimum salary of $120,120.

If the map above doesn't make you feel any more optimistic about owning a home, check out this map from 2017 of the earnings needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment in each state.

The Most Famous Mythical Creature in Each State

CashNetUSA
CashNetUSA

The widespread popularity of fantasy franchises like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones suggests that, on some level, we all wish that dragons, giants, and other magical creatures actually existed.

While Nifflers, Thestrals, and Blast-Ended Skrewts may only be found within the pages of a Harry Potter novel, plenty of other mythical beasts have allegedly been spotted a lot closer to home than you might think. CashNetUSA's SavingSpot blog created a map highlighting the most famous magical monster in each state—an American edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, if you will.

Some slither, others skulk, and pretty much all of them have the potential to take your nightmares to the next level. You’ll probably recognize some of the better-known ones: New Jersey is home to the Jersey Devil, Texas claims the fanged Chupacabra, and Washington boasts Bigfoot, who seems downright charming compared to others on the list.

new jersey's jersey devil illustration
CashNetUSA

However, the majority of these creatures are rather obscure, and therefore all the more terrifying. The emaciated Wendigo from Minnesota kills with a glance, smells like a dead body, and will not hesitate to gobble you up. And good luck trying to outrun Illinois’s hissing, three-legged Enfield Horror, which can cover 25 feet in a single leap.

minnesota's wendigo illustration
CashNetUSA

Pennsylvania’s Squonk, on the other hand, is almost too pathetic to be scary. Apparently, it’s so ashamed of its saggy skin and wart-covered face that it can cry itself into a pool of water and simply slip out of any cage. If you see it, maybe just compliment its twinkling eyes and send it on its merry way.

pennsylvania's squonk illustration
CashNetUSA

The Loch Ness Monster lives all the way out in Scotland, of course, but she’s definitely inspired a few Nessie-wannabes right here in the States. Nevada has Tahoe Tessie, an 80-foot-long possible plesiosaur, and Maryland’s Chessie calls the Chesapeake Bay home.

nevada's tahoe tessie illustration
CashNetUSA

If you pay close attention to the details of SavingSpot’s accompanying online bestiary, you’ll see some clues about how these tall tales arose from fairly normal occurrences. Eyewitnesses first described Idaho’s aquatic dino Sharlie as a huge log, North Carolina’s Beast of Bladenboro resembles a bear, and Rhode Island’s vampire Mercy Brown was once a real woman—locals declared her a vampire after digging up her grave and realizing she hadn’t decayed at all. (For the record, she had only been dead for two months, and the winter temperatures likely preserved her body.)

mercy brown illustration
CashNetUSA

Find out which mythical beast hails from your home state here.

[h/t CashNetUSA]

Here’s How Much Firefighters Make in Each State

sanchairat/iStock via Getty Images
sanchairat/iStock via Getty Images

Between the long shifts, physical hazards, and psychological stress, being a firefighter is one of the most demanding jobs there is. You might assume that a career as hard and as important as that one comes with a big paycheck, but that's not always the case. As the map below shows, a firefighter's salary varies greatly depending upon the home state of their department.

The home security company Frontpoint put together this map of how much firefighters make, on average, in each state based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After adjusting the numbers to account for cost of living, they determined that California is the state where firefighters get paid the most, with an average annual salary of $71,063. The median income for the state overall, not adjusted for cost of living, is $63,783, while the median for the country is just slightly less at $63,179.

Map of firefighter salaries.
Frontpoint

On the other end of the scale, Louisiana came in as the state that pays its firefighters the least. The average firefighter there makes just $33,962. People fighting fires out West (which is also where the biggest blazes tend to occur) tend to receive better pay, with Washington, Nevada, and Oregon making it into the top five along with California. Firefighters in the South are worse off: At the bottom of the list, Mississippi follows Louisiana with an adjusted average salary of $35,438.

To find the average firefighter salary in your state, check out the map above. And to learn more about what the job entails, check out these behind-the-scenes secrets of firefighters.

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