Washington 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.
IndexWashingtonDistrict of ColumbiaNational
Cost of living index136136100
IndexWashingtonDistrict of ColumbiaNational
Goods & Services index9898100
Groceries index112112100
Health care index9494100
Housing index211211100
Transportation index121121100
Utilities index9898100
A general overview of the cost of living index for Washington, DC is displayed above. In Washington, DC, the overall cost of living index is 136, which is equal to the District of Columbia average and 36% higher than the U.S. average. The following categories are used to calculate the overall cost of living index: goods/services (33%), housing (30%), groceries (13%), utilities (10%), transportation (9%) and health care (5%). From the list, it is clear that the categories of goods/services and housing are responsible for the largest portions of the overall cost of living index. As a general rule, everyday goods and services provide an accurate measure of the general cost of goods in any given city. In the case of Washington, DC, the city's goods and services are equal to the District of Columbia average and 2% lower than the U.S. average.

Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Washington is equal to the District of Columbia average.
  • The cost of living in Washington is 36% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Washington is 111% higher than the national average.
  • District of Columbia general sales tax is 13% higher than the national average.
  • District of Columbia state income tax is 80% higher than the national average.

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Salary Calculator

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The salary calculator allows you to compare how much your current salary in Washington, DC 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 Washington, DC, the calculator will tell you how much more you need to earn so you can assess job offers more accurately. The Washington, DC 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$106,435$8,870$2,483$3,193
Renters$43,794$3,650$1,022$1,314
The affordability of the housing market in Washington, DC as well as the overall cost of living can be indicated accurately by what percent of the monthly income is spent on housing related costs. This is konwn as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). The overall rule of thumb is that no more than 28% of your gross income should ever be used on the overall costs related to housing and no more than 36% of gross income on all expenses and debts. Among Washington, DC homeowners, the median income is $106,435. This indicates that a monthly maximum of $2,483 should be spent by homeowners on all housing related costs. Renters have a median income of $43,794. This indicates that renters should have a maximum of $1,022 used for their rent related monthly costs.

District of Columbia Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax
District of Columbia5.75%5.75%

District of Columbia Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
District of Columbia4%8.95%
When you are determining the total cost of living in Washington, DC you will want to make sure you consider both the District of Columbia sales tax and the District of Columbia income tax rates. Sales tax come in the form of taxes levied on both services and goods that are sold. The sales tax rates are different state to state and range from zero sales tax to higher than 7%. The sales tax in District of Columbia is 5.75%, with the highest surtax being 5.75%. Tax that is on income by the government is income tax. Different states have different income tax rates and these rates can be higher or lower dependent on the corresponding tax bracket. The state income tax rates are different state to state and range from no income tax to more than 9% income tax. The income tax rates in District of Columbia have a range from 4% to 8.95%.

Goods & Services

ItemWashingtonNational avg.Difference
Haircut $17.50$14.5919.9%
Beauty Salon $53.25$34.6853.5%
Toothpaste $2.24$2.479.4%
Shampoo $1.02$1.020.2%
Movie $12.71$9.8728.8%
Bowling $5.38$4.3922.5%

Groceries

ItemWashingtonNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $3.49$4.4822.0%
Fried Chicken $1.66$1.4613.4%
Milk $2.68$2.3613.7%
Potatoes $3.69$3.0620.5%
Pizza $8.00$9.2413.4%
Beer $9.29$8.637.6%

Health Care

ItemWashingtonNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $73.50$99.7826.3%
Doctor $87.20$105.0317.0%
Dentist $86.40$88.702.6%
Ibuprofen $11.38$9.4120.9%
Lipitor $293.64$298.501.6%

Housing

ItemWashingtonNational avg.Difference
Home Price $443,000.00$181,400.00144.2%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $2,743.63$1,081.03153.8%
Apartment Rent $1,200.00$889.0035.0%

Transportation

ItemWashingtonNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $2.59$2.0923.8%
Tire Balancing $52.00$45.2914.8%

Utilities

ItemWashingtonNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$167.80$170.801.8%
Phone $27.32$28.263.3%
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.
Stewart, OH10272-28%
Hockingport, OH18972-28%
Vincent, OH40778-22%
Elizabeth, WV99387-13%
Parkersburg, WV31,48289-11%
Washington, DC605,75913636%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Nashville, TN605,85997-3%
Denver, CO604,3561077%
Seattle, WA612,91614242%
Louisville, KY597,23192-8%
Milwaukee, WI594,32893-7%
Washington, DC605,75913636%
Source: The Washington, DC cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for the fourth quarter of 2015.