Santa Cruz 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.
IndexSanta CruzCaliforniaNational
Cost of living index181137100
IndexSanta CruzCaliforniaNational
Goods & Services index125109100
Groceries index143118100
Health care index133111100
Housing index308189100
Transportation index130130100
Utilities index109112100
The above illustration supplies generalized information for the Santa Cruz, CA cost of living index. Compared to other cities in California and cities across the country, the cost of living index in Santa Cruz, CA is 181, which is 33% higher than the California average and 81% 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 Santa Cruz, CA are 14% higher than the average for California and 25% higher than the rest of the country.

Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Santa Cruz is 33% higher than the California average.
  • The cost of living in Santa Cruz is 81% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Santa Cruz is 208% 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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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 allows you to compare how much your current salary in Santa Cruz, 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 Santa Cruz, CA, the calculator will tell you how much more you need to earn so you can assess job offers more accurately. The Santa Cruz, 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)
How much of your monthly income goes to housing can tell you whether or not you can afford housing in Santa Cruz, CA, 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 Santa Cruz, CA homeowners have a median income of $100,472. Using that number, you will come up with a maximum of $2,344 per month that can be spent on the cost of housing. For those who are renting instead of owning, the median income is $40,195, which means there is a maximum of $938 to be spent on the costs of renting a home or apartment.

California Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax

California Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
The California sales tax and California income tax rates should definitely be considered when determining the overall cost of living in Santa Cruz, CA. 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 California sales tax is 7.5% and the maximum surtax is 10%. 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 California income tax rates range from 1% to 12.3%.

Goods & Services

ItemSanta CruzNational avg.Difference
Haircut $17.55$15.5612.7%
Beauty Salon $40.77$36.1112.9%
Toothpaste $3.61$2.4745.8%
Shampoo $1.23$0.9627.1%
Movie $12.35$10.1321.9%
Bowling $7.64$4.7461.3%


ItemSanta CruzNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $6.33$3.9858.8%
Fried Chicken $2.69$1.4191.3%
Milk $2.92$2.0641.3%
Potatoes $4.70$2.9857.6%
Pizza $13.06$9.4737.8%
Beer $9.48$8.797.8%

Health Care

ItemSanta CruzNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $151.96$101.0450.4%
Doctor $141.39$107.4431.6%
Dentist $138.51$90.4253.2%
Ibuprofen $10.75$9.2815.8%
Lipitor $420.03$426.501.5%


ItemSanta CruzNational avg.Difference
Home Price $645,600.00$175,700.00267.4%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $6,195.07$1,133.23446.7%
Apartment Rent $1,547.00$920.0068.2%


ItemSanta CruzNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $2.74$1.9937.6%
Tire Balancing $51.66$45.7612.9%


ItemSanta CruzNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$204.04$163.8124.6%
Phone $24.95$28.3912.1%
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.
Lompico, CA90013232%
Amesti, CA3,21313636%
Moss Landing, CA20013737%
Watsonville, CA52,08514040%
Zayante, CA85314242%
Santa Cruz, CA62,04518181%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Bethesda, MD62,02419090%
Eden Prairie, MN62,09612121%
Daytona Beach, FL61,91390-10%
Waltham, MA61,90815252%
Dundalk, MD62,1861011%
Santa Cruz, CA62,04518181%
Source: The Santa Cruz, CA cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for the fourth quarter of 2016.