Cambridge 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 index170130100
Goods & Services index127111100
Groceries index108113100
Health care index124111100
Housing index274167100
Transportation index116117100
Utilities index156126100
A general summary of the cost of living index in Cambridge, MA is shown above. Compared to the state average of Massachusetts the cost of living index in Cambridge, MA is 170, which is 31% higher than the average in Massachusetts and compared to the national average it is 70% higher than. The cost of living index is made up of several categories. These are transportation at 9%, utilities at 10%, goods and services at 33%, housing at 30%, groceries at 13%, and health care at 5%. The bulk of the cost of living index comes from the categories of goods and services and housing. If you look at everyday goods and services they can be a good indicator in a certain city of the general costs of goods there. In Cambridge, MA goods and services come in at 15% higher than the average in Massachusetts and are 27% higher than compared to the nationwide average.

Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Cambridge is 31% higher than the Massachusetts average.
  • The cost of living in Cambridge is 70% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Cambridge is 174% higher than the national average.
  • Massachusetts general sales tax is 23% higher than the national average.
  • Massachusetts state income tax is 132% higher than the national average.

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Salary Calculator

This is how much you would need to earn in
Price difference in compared to
Cost of living index
Goods & Services index
Groceries index
Health care index
Housing index
Transportation index
Utilities index
The salary calculator is meant to help you compare your salary in Cambridge, MA to your potential earning power in another city. This can help you deduce what your salary would need to be in any given city in order for you to live the same lifestyle that you do in your current city. In other words, if you plan on moving to a city where the cost of living is higher than in Cambridge, MA, you'll have to make more money in the new city in order to maintain the lifestyle you currently enjoy. To use the Cambridge, MA salary calculator, simply input the new city, then move the adjustable slider to match your current income. Once you've selected your income, the calculator will determine if that income is sufficient to support your standard of living in the new city you entered. The calculator will also supply you with a rundown of living costs in the new city.

Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

Median IncomePer YearPer MonthMax Budget (28% DTI)Max Budget (36% DTI)
How much of your monthly income goes to housing can tell you whether or not you can afford housing in Cambridge, MA, as well as what the average cost of living is. Generally, a good rule to follow is that the debt-to-income (DTI) level you want to maintain is 28 percent or less of your income on your rent or mortgage payment and not more than 36 percent of income on all expenses and debts. In Cambridge, MA homeowners have a median income of $116,196. Using that number, you will come up with a maximum of $2,711 per month that can be spent on the cost of housing. For those who are renting instead of owning, the median income is $57,648, which means there is a maximum of $1,345 to be spent on the costs of renting a home or apartment.

Massachusetts Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax

Massachusetts Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
One thing to keep in mind when considering the cost of living in Cambridge, MA is the Massachusetts sales tax and Massachusetts income tax rates. Sales taxes are taxes that are collected on most goods or services sold. Sales taxes can vary by state and can be as high as 7% and as low as 0% as not every state imposes a sales tax. The Massachusetts sales tax rate is 6.25% and the maximum surtax that can be charged is 6.25%. Income tax is the tax imposed on income by both the federal and state government. The income tax rates varies by individual state and will also be higher or lower depending on the applicable tax bracket. The rates of state income tax can vary from 0% to more than 9%. The Massachusetts income tax rates range from 5.15% to 5.15%.

Goods & Services

ItemCambridgeNational avg.Difference
Haircut $19.67$14.5934.8%
Beauty Salon $54.00$34.6855.7%
Toothpaste $2.54$2.472.7%
Shampoo $1.00$1.022.2%
Movie $11.69$9.8718.5%
Bowling $5.75$4.3930.9%


ItemCambridgeNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $4.49$4.480.3%
Fried Chicken $1.67$1.4614.1%
Milk $2.29$2.362.8%
Potatoes $3.29$3.067.5%
Pizza $10.00$9.248.2%
Beer $8.99$8.634.1%

Health Care

ItemCambridgeNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $113.50$99.7813.8%
Doctor $151.00$105.0343.8%
Dentist $115.00$88.7029.6%
Ibuprofen $9.74$9.413.5%
Lipitor $310.83$298.504.1%


ItemCambridgeNational avg.Difference
Home Price $552,600.00$175,700.00214.5%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $1,761.00$1,081.0362.9%
Apartment Rent $1,656.00$920.0080.0%


ItemCambridgeNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $2.35$2.0912.3%
Tire Balancing $57.29$45.2926.5%


ItemCambridgeNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$292.18$170.8071.1%
Phone $38.25$28.2635.4%
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.
Lynn, MA91,28912828%
Chelsea, MA37,08413131%
Randolph, MA33,13513232%
Salem, MA42,32113535%
Revere, MA53,25813636%
Cambridge, MA106,84417070%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
High Point, NC106,79790-10%
Lehigh Acres, FL106,74791-9%
Round Rock, TX106,97296-4%
Billings, MT106,97998-2%
Brandon, FL106,60497-3%
Cambridge, MA106,84417070%
Source: The Cambridge, MA cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for the fourth quarter of 2015.