2 min activity

Cost of Living Calculator & City Comparison

How It Works

Not all cities cost the same to live there, so it's important to predict what expenses will change if you move and by how much. The Cost of Living Calculator is a tool that will show you a comparable salary between two different cities as well as how prices might change for common expenses.

  1. Use the Current Salary slider to set your current salary.
  2. Change the Current Location by using the dropdown arrows. (If the city you live in is not listed, select the nearest one.)
  3. Change the Moving To location by using the dropdown arrows as well.
  4. The calculator will display what a comparable salary will be in that city and price adjustments for your budget.

How to Find Your Cost of Living

You can calculate the cost of living by taking the average price of necessities in an area, adding them up, and calculating how much someone would need to earn to live comfortably. Living costs that change depending on the state, or city even, include the following:

  • Housing: You should try to pay less than 25% of your take-home income on housing. In California, where housing prices are high, the average cost of a single family home can be around $700,000. Take the average 30 year loan term with an interest rate of 4.75%, your monthly mortgage payment for a single family home in California is around $3,400. The same type of home in Texas will only cost you about $944 dollars a month. If you’re interested in exploring more, this mortgage calculator can help you find mortgage estimates.
  • Groceries: Believe it or not the grocery store prices differ a lot between states. To put things into perspective, a gallon of milk in Hawaii can cost as much as $9.00 whereas in Louisville, Tennessee, milk’s as little as $1.70. Why might this be? Mostly shipping...So, for example, most of Hawaii’s products need to be shipped from the mainland. The same thing happens with fruits or vegetables that aren’t naturally grown in different parts of the U.S.
  • Utilities: Anything from typical weather patterns in a state to the cost of fuel, and state regulations can affect utility prices (gas, electric, water/sewage, and garbage disposal). A good indicator of how weather can affect utilities is how water prices spike in areas of a drought and colder places require more heat to stay comfortable, increasing the need for fuel.
  • Transportation: Gas prices, car repairs, licenses, insurance rates, and parking can all impact the cost of transportation. In some cities it’s not even worth it to buy a car. If you decide you need a car, it’s a good idea to remember how state regulations could influence the cost. Since some states require your car to pass an emissions test before you can even register it, the cost of testing, potential repairs, and registration all increase the price of owning the car. Don’t forget about parking costs. If driving’s not your thing, know that bus, subway, and taxi fares will also vary in price depending on the location.
  • Healthcare: Healthcare is one of those categories that differs not just between states, but also between in-patient, out-patient, and professional services. A rise in the market for healthcare can be linked to many different things, but for some it is because there is fewer staff available to perform individual procedures. For example, if there is a shortage of heart surgeons in an area, the procedure is in high demand, but at a low fulfillment rate meaning rates rise out of “necessity.” Expensive Healthcare rates can also be linked to what benefits and insurance is offered in that specific region.

How is the calculator data collected?

Banzai uses the most accurate, current data collected throughout the nation to provide real-time information about the cost of each place to live.

What city has the lowest cost of living?

McAllen, Texas is one of the cheapest cities to live, sitting 149% below California’s highest cost of living rate.

What city has the highest cost of living?

San Francisco, California has one of the highest cost of living rates in the US and averages out to be a whole 470% above McAllen, Texas just in housing rates. Honolulu, Hawaii is up in prices too at a cost of living difference of 146% total and 418% difference in just the housing market.

While we hope you find this content useful, it is only intended to serve as a starting point. Your next step is to speak with a qualified, licensed professional who can provide advice tailored to your individual circumstances. Nothing in this article, nor in any associated resources, should be construed as financial or legal advice. Furthermore, while we have made good faith efforts to ensure that the information presented was correct as of the date the content was prepared, we are unable to guarantee that it remains accurate today.

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