An Overview of Cost of Living in Atlanta, GA
Understanding the cost of living in Atlanta can help future residents assess whether their current financial situation aligns with the expenses they will encounter. It enables them to plan for potential changes in their budget and lifestyle. The Atlanta cost of living index is 116, which is 16% higher than the national average. The cost of living index is calculated by taking into account multiple categories, which encompass both the cost of everyday expenditures and larger expenses as well.
Housing costs are a very significant part of the Atlanta cost of living index and generally encompass a large percentage of take-home income. Unfortunately, in this area, the housing costs for both homes and rentals were 57.9% more than the average city. This includes things like home and rent prices, mortgage rates and insurance.
What Do Locals Say About the Cost of Living in Atlanta?
The most insightful perspective on a city comes from its residents. We recently surveyed 61 locals to gauge their perception of the cost of living in Atlanta. The feedback revealed that 38% of respondents found the cost of living to be reasonable, with prices on the decline, while 62% regarded it as notably expensive with prices that continue to rise.
Is Atlanta Affordable?
Is Atlanta affordable? This is a pivotal question, especially when mulling over a move, as affordability carries substantial weight in your decision-making process. Factors such as the cost of living index (discussed earlier), housing expenses and income levels all contribute to a location's affordability. For instance, in Atlanta, the median home price is 70.2% higher than the national average and monthly rent prices are 29.3% higher than the typical rates. Additionally, the median income levels play a role in affordability, with Atlanta boasting a median household income of $64,179, 16% higher than the national average.
What Factors can Influence the Cost of Living in Atlanta?
Urbanization: Urban areas with a wealth of amenities and employment opportunities tend to come with a higher price tag for living. Why? Well, more people want to be there, which drives up home prices and rents. On the flip side, less densely populated rural areas or places where there's not as much demand usually mean fewer attractions, things to do and slower job growth. That often results in a lower cost of living.
Taxes: Cities that enforce higher taxes, covering both sales taxes and income taxes, can be a factor contributing to a higher cost of living. Paying more in taxes for everyday essentials like clothing and food inevitably leads to higher expenses. A higher income tax rate can further contribute to an overall elevated cost of living. In Atlanta, the baseline sales tax rate begins at 4%, and income tax rates start at 1%.
Housing: When everyone's vying for homes in popular areas, it drives up property prices and rents, making the overall cost of living surge. On the flip side, in less sought-after locales, where housing demand is low, prices tend to dip, resulting in a more economical cost of living. In Atlanta, the housing index comes in at 57.9% higher than the national average.
Where is the Data From?
The Atlanta cost of living data you see above is sourced from the C2ER cost of living index, providing a practical and accurate means of comparing living expenses in urban areas. Updated quarterly, this index gathers data from over 300 independent researchers, covering more than 60 goods and services, in 6 different categories. These selections are made meticulously to represent a wide range of consumer expenditure categories. The weightings applied to cost differences are based on government survey data that tracks spending patterns among professional and executive households. It's important to note that while the C2ER index excludes data on sales or income tax rates, AreaVibes factors tax rates into the overall cost of living score for each region.