Columbia 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.
IndexColumbiaMarylandNational
Cost of living index127115100
IndexColumbiaMarylandNational
Goods & Services index9191100
Groceries index111112100
Health care index9088100
Housing index196154100
Transportation index109108100
Utilities index9799100
The above illustration supplies generalized information for the Columbia, MD cost of living index. Compared to other cities in Maryland and cities across the country, the cost of living index in Columbia, MD is 127, which is 11% higher than the Maryland average and 27% higher than that for the entire country. The index is comprised of the following criteria: cost of retail goods and services (33%), groceries (13%), health care (5%), housing (30%), cost of public/private transportation (9%) and utilities (10%). Everyday goods and services, along with housing account for 63 percent of the total cost of living index. Goods and services that are a necessity regardless of location provide an accurate general sense of the cost of living in one city versus another. As seen above, the cost of retail goods and services in Columbia, MD are 1% lower than the average for Maryland and 9% lower than the rest of the country.

Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Columbia is 11% higher than the Maryland average.
  • The cost of living in Columbia is 27% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Columbia is 96% higher than the national average.
  • Maryland general sales tax is 18% higher than the national average.
  • Maryland state income tax is 10% lower than the national average.

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Salary Calculator

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Use the salary calculator to compare your current salary in Columbia, MD to any other city. The salary calculator will tell you how much you would need to earn in any given city to maintain the same standard of living based on the cost of living in each city. For example, if the cost of living in the city you are looking to relocate to is higher than the cost of living in Columbia, MD, then you would need to earn more income in order to maintain the same standard of living. To use the Columbia, MD salary calculator, simply enter in the name of the new city, then adjust the slider to your current income. The salary calculator will do the rest and let you know if you need to earn more or less in the new city. You will also see a complete breakdown of the cost of living.

Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

Median IncomePer YearPer MonthMax Budget (28% DTI)Max Budget (36% DTI)
Owners$121,727$10,144$2,840$3,652
Renters$63,294$5,275$1,477$1,899
The percent of monthly income spent on housing can be a good indicator of the affordability of housing in Columbia, MD as well as the overall cost of living. As a general rule of thumb, the debt-to-income ratio (DTI) for homeowners or renters should be not more than 28 percent of gross income to be spent on housing related costs and not more than 36 percent of income on all expenses, including debts. The median income for Columbia, MD homeowners, is $121,727. This would allow for a maximum of $2,840 per month to be spent on housing costs. For renters, the median monthly income is $63,294 which would result in a maximum of $1,477 to be spent on rental costs.

Maryland Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax
Maryland6%6%

Maryland Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
Maryland2%5.75%
The Maryland sales tax and Maryland income tax rates should definitely be considered when determining the overall cost of living in Columbia, MD. Sales taxes are taxes that are imposed onto goods and services sold. Sales taxes do vary by state and can range from no tax at all to upwards of 7%. The Maryland sales tax is 6% and the maximum surtax is 6%. Income tax is the tax imposed on income by the government. The income tax rates will vary by state and will also increase or decrease depending on the corresponding tax bracket. State income tax rates can range from anywhere from no tax at all to more than 9%. The Maryland income tax rates range from 2% to 5.75%.

Goods & Services

ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
Haircut $15.75$14.597.9%
Beauty Salon $43.00$34.6824.0%
Toothpaste $2.13$2.4713.9%
Shampoo $0.99$1.023.1%
Movie $10.81$9.879.5%
Bowling $5.30$4.3920.7%

Groceries

ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $3.49$4.4822.0%
Fried Chicken $1.57$1.467.2%
Milk $2.59$2.369.9%
Potatoes $3.89$3.0627.1%
Pizza $8.00$9.2413.4%
Beer $8.49$8.631.7%

Health Care

ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $67.49$99.7832.4%
Doctor $80.00$105.0323.8%
Dentist $81.75$88.707.8%
Ibuprofen $10.58$9.4112.4%
Lipitor $293.64$298.501.6%

Housing

ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
Home Price $363,400.00$175,700.00106.8%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $1,575.45$1,081.0345.7%
Apartment Rent $1,572.00$920.0070.9%

Transportation

ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $2.28$2.099.0%
Tire Balancing $48.80$45.297.8%

Utilities

ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$159.30$170.806.7%
Phone $28.67$28.261.5%
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.
Baltimore, MD622,27196-4%
Lansdowne, MD8,71498-2%
Lochearn, MD25,8881033%
Brooklyn Park, MD14,1361044%
Woodlawn, MD39,5181055%
Columbia, MD102,11612727%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
North Charleston, SC102,14398-2%
Boulder, CO102,00214242%
West Palm Beach, FL102,2831022%
Broken Arrow, OK101,91793-7%
El Cajon, CA101,58212929%
Columbia, MD102,11612727%
Source: The Columbia, MD cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for the fourth quarter of 2015.