Overall 15%
Goods & Services 3%
Housing 52%
Date & Last Updated: This data reflects 2020 and was released from C2ER in January, 2021; this is the most current data available.
The cost of living index is based on a national average of 100. For example, if the cost of living is 90, then it is 10% lower than average. If the cost of living is 110, then it is 10% higher than average. The breakdown for each index is as follows: goods & services (33%), groceries (13%), health care (5%), housing (30%), transportation (9%) and utilities (10%). If the cost of living data was unavailable for this city, estimates based upon nearby cities were used.
IndexCaryNorth CarolinaNational
Cost of living11595100
Goods & Services103100100
Health care105108100

Key findings

  • The cost of living in Cary is 21% higher than the North Carolina average
  • The cost of living in Cary is 15% higher than the national average
  • Cary housing is 52% higher than the national average
  • North Carolina general sales tax is 7% lower than the national average
  • North Carolina state income tax is 113% higher than the national average

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Compare Cary, NC Cost of Living

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      Goods & Services index
      Groceries index
      Health care index
      Housing index
      Transportation index
      Utilities index

      Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

      Median IncomePer YearPer MonthMax Budget (28% DTI)Max Budget (36% DTI)
      The affordability of the housing market in Cary, NC as well as the overall cost of living can be predicted 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 be spent on the overall costs related to housing and no more than 36% of gross income on all expenses and debts. Among Cary homeowners, the median income is $117,239. This indicates that a monthly maximum of $2,735 should be spent by homeowners on all housing related costs. Renters have a median income of $55,177. This indicates that renters would have a maximum of $1,287 for their rent related monthly costs.

      North Carolina Sales Tax

      StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax
      North Carolina4.75%7.5%

      North Carolina Income Tax

      StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
      North Carolina5.25%5.25%

      Goods & Services

      ItemCaryNational avg.Difference
      Haircut $18.07$18.623.0%
      Beauty Salon $48.42$39.0524.0%
      Toothpaste $2.04$2.3412.7%
      Shampoo $0.95$1.069.8%
      Movie $10.04$10.686.0%
      Bowling $17.13$14.6716.8%


      ItemCaryNational avg.Difference
      Ground Beef $4.93$4.2216.9%
      Fried Chicken $0.97$1.3929.8%
      Milk $1.61$2.0521.3%
      Potatoes $3.88$3.2918.1%
      Pizza $11.04$10.623.9%
      Beer $9.99$9.386.4%

      Health Care

      ItemCaryNational avg.Difference
      Optometrist $98.89$108.578.9%
      Doctor $145.22$116.1725.0%
      Dentist $99.00$99.130.1%
      Ibuprofen $9.48$9.682.0%
      Lipitor $444.00$466.924.9%


      ItemCaryNational avg.Difference
      Home Price $309,800.00$184,700.0067.7%
      Avg. Mortgage Payment $1,004.85$1,197.4216.1%
      Apartment Rent $1,084.00$949.0014.2%


      ItemCaryNational avg.Difference
      Gasoline $2.27$2.222.0%
      Tire Balancing $37.07$50.0726.0%


      ItemCaryNational avg.Difference
      All Electricity$162.80$167.672.9%
      Phone $179.92$175.642.4%
      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.
      Moncure, NC55288-12%
      Garner, NC27,62597-3%
      Durham, NC251,76195-5%
      Fuquay-Varina, NC22,7221033%
      Raleigh, NC441,3261033%
      Cary, NC155,82211515%

      Cities with similar population

      City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
      Salinas, CA155,88911717%
      McKinney, TX156,82111111%
      Palmdale, CA156,82311616%
      Hayward, CA154,50714949%
      Fort Collins, CO157,25111111%
      Cary, NC155,82211515%
      Source: The Cary, NC cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for 2020.