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 175, which is 29% higher than the California average and 75% 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 8% higher than the average for California and 15% higher than the rest of the country.