Palo Alto 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.
IndexPalo AltoCaliforniaNational
Cost of living index336136100
IndexPalo AltoCaliforniaNational
Goods & Services index115107100
Groceries index124117100
Health care index119109100
Housing index846189100
Transportation index131125100
Utilities index108116100
A general summary of the cost of living index in Palo Alto, CA is shown above. Compared to the state average of California the cost of living index in Palo Alto, CA is 336, which is 148% higher than the average in California and compared to the national average it is 236% 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 Palo Alto, CA goods and services come in at 8% higher than the average in California and are 15% higher than compared to the nationwide average.

Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Palo Alto is 148% higher than the California average.
  • The cost of living in Palo Alto is 236% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Palo Alto is 746% higher than the national average.
  • California general sales tax is 47% higher than the national average.
  • California state income tax is 55% lower than the national average.

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Compare Palo Alto, CA Cost of living To Other Cities

Salary Calculator

This is how much you would need to earn in
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Health care index
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The salary calculator allows you to compare how much your current salary in Palo Alto, CA 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 Palo Alto, CA, the calculator will tell you how much more you need to earn so you can assess job offers more accurately. The Palo Alto, CA 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)
Owners$166,679$13,890$3,889$5,001
Renters$83,234$6,936$1,942$2,497
The percent of monthly income spent on housing can be a good indicator of the affordability of housing in Palo Alto, CA 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 Palo Alto, CA homeowners, is $166,679. This would allow for a maximum of $3,889 per month to be spent on housing costs. For renters, the median monthly income is $83,234 which would result in a maximum of $1,942 to be spent on rental costs.

California Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax
California7.5%10%

California Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
California1%12.3%
One thing to keep in mind when considering the cost of living in Palo Alto, CA is the California sales tax and California 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 California sales tax rate is 7.5% and the maximum surtax that can be charged is 10%. 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 California income tax rates range from 1% to 12.3%.

Goods & Services

ItemPalo AltoNational avg.Difference
Haircut $18.44$14.5926.4%
Beauty Salon $59.40$34.6871.3%
Toothpaste $3.14$2.4727.0%
Shampoo $1.09$1.026.7%
Movie $11.00$9.8711.5%
Bowling $6.63$4.3951.0%

Groceries

ItemPalo AltoNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $3.97$4.4811.3%
Fried Chicken $2.07$1.4641.4%
Milk $2.77$2.3617.5%
Potatoes $3.69$3.0620.5%
Pizza $9.00$9.242.6%
Beer $9.93$8.6315.0%

Health Care

ItemPalo AltoNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $120.44$99.7820.7%
Doctor $127.57$105.0321.5%
Dentist $122.43$88.7038.0%
Ibuprofen $11.97$9.4127.2%
Lipitor $254.50$298.5014.7%

Housing

ItemPalo AltoNational avg.Difference
Home Price $2,028,300.00$181,400.001,018.1%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $3,294.70$1,081.03204.8%
Apartment Rent $1,865.00$889.00109.8%

Transportation

ItemPalo AltoNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $2.80$2.0933.8%
Tire Balancing $55.37$45.2922.3%

Utilities

ItemPalo AltoNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$213.39$170.8024.9%
Phone $24.12$28.2614.6%
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.
Mabie, CA011818%
Warm Springs, CA2,93311414%
East Palo Alto, CA28,33213939%
Newark, CA42,71215050%
Union City, CA69,82015454%
Palo Alto, CA64,514336236%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Walnut Creek, CA64,51516565%
Eagan, MN64,53811111%
Skokie, IL64,58812222%
Yuba City, CA64,64112121%
East Orange, NJ64,35611515%
Palo Alto, CA64,514336236%
Source: The Palo Alto, CA cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for the fourth quarter of 2015.