Overall 15%
Goods & Services 4%
Housing 48%
Date & Last Updated: This data reflects 2019 and was released from C2ER in January, 2020; 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.
IndexForest CityIowaNational
Cost of living8590100
Goods & Services9696100
Health care98100100

Key findings

  • The cost of living in Forest City is 6% lower than the Iowa average
  • The cost of living in Forest City is 15% lower than the national average
  • Forest City housing is 48% lower than the national average
  • Iowa general sales tax is 18% higher than the national average
  • Iowa state income tax is 87% lower than the national average

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Compare Forest City, IA Cost of Living

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      Salary Calculator

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      Price difference in compared to
      Cost of living index
      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)
      A good indicator of the general affordability of housing in Forest City, IA, is the percentage of monthly income that should be spent on housing expenses, otherwise known as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Generally speaking, no more than 28 percent of your total gross income should be spent on your housing expenses and not more than 36 percent of your gross income on total expenses, including debts. In Forest City, the median monthly income is $56,912 for those who own their own homes. Under the standard rule, that income level would allow for $1,328 to be budgeted for housing expenses each month, at the most. Renters, on the other hand, earn about $23,901, per the median income in the area. That would allow for renters to spend up to $558 on monthly rental expenses.

      Iowa Sales Tax

      StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax

      Iowa Income Tax

      StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)

      Goods & Services

      ItemForest CityNational avg.Difference
      Haircut $25.76$17.4947.3%
      Beauty Salon $29.22$38.1723.4%
      Toothpaste $2.82$2.3221.5%
      Shampoo $0.99$1.012.2%
      Movie $10.50$10.722.1%
      Bowling $10.00$13.8627.9%


      ItemForest CityNational avg.Difference
      Ground Beef $3.27$3.9016.2%
      Fried Chicken $1.65$1.4018.2%
      Milk $2.07$1.965.5%
      Potatoes $2.99$3.186.1%
      Pizza $11.49$10.3910.5%
      Beer $8.93$9.233.2%

      Health Care

      ItemForest CityNational avg.Difference
      Optometrist $94.00$106.3411.6%
      Doctor $130.00$115.2512.8%
      Dentist $92.00$98.386.5%
      Ibuprofen $7.79$9.2615.9%
      Lipitor $465.99$466.470.1%


      ItemForest CityNational avg.Difference
      Home Price $95,900.00$184,700.0048.1%
      Avg. Mortgage Payment $927.46$1,273.3227.2%
      Apartment Rent $502.00$949.0047.1%


      ItemForest CityNational avg.Difference
      Gasoline $2.92$2.5912.8%
      Tire Balancing $43.98$48.9010.1%


      ItemForest CityNational avg.Difference
      All Electricity$204.31$167.6021.9%
      Phone $178.59$163.429.3%
      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.
      Duncan, IA9699-1%
      Hayfield, IA899-1%
      Miller, IA099-1%
      Hutchins, IA1399-1%
      Scarville, IA6676-24%
      Forest City, IA4,04385-15%

      Cities with similar population

      City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
      Heron Bay, GA4,0421055%
      Tabor City, NC4,04487-13%
      Northwest Harwich, MA4,04413838%
      Hebron, IN4,04192-8%
      Pocola, OK4,04580-20%
      Forest City, IA4,04385-15%
      Source: The Forest City, IA cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for 2019.