Ames cost of living index

In the event that the cost of living data was unavailable for this city, estimates based upon nearby cities were used. Each cost of living index is based on a national average of 100. If the amount is below 100, it is lower than the national average. If the amount is above 100, it is higher than the national average.
Cost of living index9188100
Goods & Services index8693100
Groceries index9195100
Health care index9796100
Housing index9473100
Transportation index9797100
Utilities index8599100
Displayed above is a general overview of the Ames, IA cost of living index. The overall cost of living index in Ames, IA is 91, which is 2% higher than the Iowa average and 9% lower than the national average. The cost of living index is created from the following categories: goods/services (33%), groceries (13%), health care (5%), housing (30%), transportation (9%) and utilities (10%). As you can see, goods/services and housing make up the majority of the overall cost of living index. Everyday goods and services can be a good indicator of the general cost of goods in a given city. In this case, the goods and services in Ames, IA are 7% lower than the Iowa average and 14% lower than the national average.

Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Ames is 2% higher than the Iowa average.
  • The cost of living in Ames is 9% lower than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Ames is 6% lower than the national average.
  • Iowa general sales tax is 18% higher than the national average.
  • Iowa state income tax is 84% lower than the national average.

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Salary Calculator

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Goods & Services index
Groceries index
Health care index
Housing index
Transportation index
Utilities index
The salary calculator allows you to compare how much your current salary in Ames, IA would be worth in another city. In other words, the salary calculator will adjust the figure you enter for cost of living so that you can determine how much more or much less you would need to earn while maintaining your current quality of living. If you are considering relocating to a more expensive city than Ames, IA, the calculator will tell you how much more you need to earn so you can assess job offers more accurately. The Ames, IA salary calculator is easy to use. All you do is enter the name of another city, then move the slider to your current income. After that, the salary calculator will crunch the numbers for you and give you the information you need about the place you are considering going. Additionally, it will show a detailed breakdown of the cost of living.

Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

Median IncomePer YearPer MonthMax Budget (28% DTI)Max Budget (36% DTI)
One can approximate the cost of living and the housing affordability in Ames, IA by the percentage of a person’s income that he or she spends on the monthly housing, otherwise known as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). To stay on the safe side and keep one’s head above the water, a consumer should never spend more than 28 percent of his or her gross income on housing-related expenses and costs and not more than 36 percent of income on all expenses and debts. Homeowners in Ames, IA have a median income of $86,410. Therefore, the amount that a consumer should spend on housing costs should be no more than $2,016 per month to avoid calamity and poverty. The renters in the city have an income of about $23,057, which would make their monthly maximum allowable rental costs $538.

Iowa Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax

Iowa Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
When assessing the complete cost of living in Ames, IA, the Iowa income tax and the Iowa sales tax percentages should unquestionably be taken into consideration. Sales taxes aren't just levies imposed onto sold goods, but they also include taxes that are charged when services are provided for a fee. The rates are different from state to state and can run has high as 7 percent. Some states have no sales tax at all. The Iowa maximum surtax is 7%, and the Iowa sales tax is 6%. By contrast, income tax is an unfortunate obligation that is charged by the government against earnings. Just like sales taxes, the rates for income taxes differ from state to state. They also decrease or increase according to the individual's tax bracket. Tax rates can run as high as 9 percent, with a minimum of zero. Income tax rates range from 0.36% to 8.98% in Iowa.

Goods & Services

ItemAmesNational avg.Difference
Haircut $17.00$14.5916.5%
Beauty Salon $32.00$34.687.7%
Toothpaste $1.98$2.4719.9%
Shampoo $0.88$1.0213.9%
Movie $8.75$9.8711.3%
Bowling $4.99$4.3913.6%


ItemAmesNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $4.11$4.488.2%
Fried Chicken $1.61$1.4610.0%
Milk $2.21$2.366.2%
Potatoes $2.61$3.0614.7%
Pizza $7.99$9.2413.6%
Beer $8.09$8.636.3%

Health Care

ItemAmesNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $85.00$99.7814.8%
Doctor $110.00$105.034.7%
Dentist $79.00$88.7010.9%
Ibuprofen $9.32$9.411.0%
Lipitor $300.03$298.500.5%


ItemAmesNational avg.Difference
Home Price $172,600.00$175,700.001.8%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $1,077.99$1,081.030.3%
Apartment Rent $774.00$920.0015.9%


ItemAmesNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $1.93$2.097.7%
Tire Balancing $50.00$45.2910.4%


ItemAmesNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$152.96$170.8010.4%
Phone $22.40$28.2620.7%
Although the cost of living data is updated regularly, this cost of living information is to be used as estimates only as prices can change on an ongoing basis.

Nearby cities with low cost of living

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Luther, IA15774-26%
Randall, IA14679-21%
McCallsburg, IA36580-20%
Boone, IA12,61981-19%
Maxwell, IA99782-18%
Ames, IA61,27691-9%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Conroe, TX61,26889-11%
La Habra, CA61,34113535%
Cheyenne, WY61,47094-6%
Burnsville, MN61,0591088%
The Villages, FL61,04611010%
Ames, IA61,27691-9%
Source: The Ames, IA cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for the fourth quarter of 2015.