Madison 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.
IndexMadisonWisconsinNational
Cost of living index10698100
IndexMadisonWisconsinNational
Goods & Services index102100100
Groceries index105100100
Health care index122112100
Housing index11491100
Transportation index10699100
Utilities index92102100
A general summary of the cost of living index in Madison, WI is shown above. Compared to the state average of Wisconsin the cost of living index in Madison, WI is 106, which is 8% higher than the average in Wisconsin and compared to the national average it is 6% 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 Madison, WI goods and services come in at 2% higher than the average in Wisconsin and are 2% higher than compared to the nationwide average.

Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Madison is 8% higher than the Wisconsin average.
  • The cost of living in Madison is 6% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Madison is 14% higher than the national average.
  • Wisconsin general sales tax is 2% lower than the national average.
  • Wisconsin state income tax is 98% higher than the national average.

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Compare Madison, WI Cost of living To Other Cities

Salary Calculator

This is how much you would need to earn in
Price difference in compared to
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Goods & Services index
Groceries index
Health care index
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Using the salary calculator lets you compare the salary you earn in Madison, WI to what it is in other cities. It will let you know what your earnings would have to be in another city to have the same standard of living, as determined by the cost of living in each city. For example, if the cost of living in the area you want to move to is higher than the cost of living in Madison, WI, you have to earn a higher income in order to still have the same standard of living. To operate the Madison, WI salary calculator, put in the name of the other city, then move the slider to the point that represents the current income. The salary calculator will take care of the rest and tell you how much more or less you must earn in the new city. A Total breakdown of the cost of living is also provided.

Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

Median IncomePer YearPer MonthMax Budget (28% DTI)Max Budget (36% DTI)
Owners$83,892$6,991$1,957$2,517
Renters$33,158$2,763$774$995
If you want to find a good determining factor for the cost of living and the general affordability of housing in Madison, WI, all you must look at is the percentage of monthly income that should be spent on housing expenses, otherwise known as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Generally speaking, no more than 28 percent of your total gross income should be spent on your housing expenses and not more than 36 percent of your gross income on total expenses, including debts. In Madison, WI, the median monthly income is $83,892 for those who own their own homes. Under the standard rule, that income level would allow for $1,957 to be budgeted for housing expenses each month, at the most. Renters, on the other hand, earn about $33,158, per the median income in the area. That would allow for renters to spend up to $774 on monthly rental expenses.

Wisconsin Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax
Wisconsin5%5.6%

Wisconsin Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
Wisconsin4.4%7.65%
The Wisconsin sales tax and Wisconsin income tax rates should definitely be considered when determining the overall cost of living in Madison, WI. 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 Wisconsin sales tax is 5% and the maximum surtax is 5.6%. 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 Wisconsin income tax rates range from 4.4% to 7.65%.

Goods & Services

ItemMadisonNational avg.Difference
Haircut $16.67$14.5914.2%
Beauty Salon $44.00$34.6826.9%
Toothpaste $2.49$2.470.7%
Shampoo $1.02$1.020.2%
Movie $11.08$9.8712.3%
Bowling $4.00$4.398.9%

Groceries

ItemMadisonNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $4.26$4.484.8%
Fried Chicken $2.35$1.4660.5%
Milk $2.59$2.369.9%
Potatoes $1.99$3.0635.0%
Pizza $8.00$9.2413.4%
Beer $8.09$8.636.3%

Health Care

ItemMadisonNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $58.00$99.7841.9%
Doctor $173.00$105.0364.7%
Dentist $98.67$88.7011.2%
Ibuprofen $11.26$9.4119.6%
Lipitor $318.79$298.506.8%

Housing

ItemMadisonNational avg.Difference
Home Price $211,600.00$175,700.0020.4%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $1,245.22$1,081.0315.2%
Apartment Rent $922.00$920.000.2%

Transportation

ItemMadisonNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $2.11$2.090.8%
Tire Balancing $55.00$45.2921.5%

Utilities

ItemMadisonNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$183.62$170.807.5%
Phone $19.99$28.2629.3%
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.
Stoughton, WI12,8861022%
Dane, WI1,1541055%
DeForest, WI9,2321055%
Oregon, WI9,6291066%
Sun Prairie, WI30,6011066%
Madison, WI239,8481066%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Durham, NC240,10798-2%
Lubbock, TX236,86885-15%
Norfolk, VA244,7451022%
Laredo, TX245,04875-25%
Winston-Salem, NC234,46999-1%
Madison, WI239,8481066%
Source: The Madison, WI cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for the fourth quarter of 2015.