Iowa City 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.
IndexIowa CityIowaNational
Cost of living index10290100
IndexIowa CityIowaNational
Goods & Services index10496100
Groceries index10198100
Health care index97100100
Housing index10073100
Transportation index121101100
Utilities index8598100
Here we can see a simple outline of the cost of living in Iowa City, IA. As you can see, with the average cost of living in Iowa City, IA being 102, that puts it 13% higher than the average of Iowa and 2% higher than our nation's average. This simple outline of the cost of living index was formulated using prices of: goods and services (weighted 33%), housing prices (weighted 30%), groceries (weighted 13%), utilities (weighted 10%), transportation (weighted 9%), and health care (weighted 5%). Thus, goods/services, along with housing influences the majority of the cost of living index. The price of daily goods and services is a valuable and reliable number to be aware of when considering the general price of the city's goods. In the case of Iowa City, IA, the price of goods and services are 8% higher than the average of Iowa as well as 4% higher than the nation's average.
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Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Iowa City is 13% higher than the Iowa average.
  • The cost of living in Iowa City is 2% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Iowa City is equal to the national average.
  • Iowa general sales tax is 18% higher than the national average.
  • Iowa state income tax is 84% lower than the national average.

Compare Iowa City, IA Cost of living To Other Cities

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
Use the salary calculator to compare your current income in Iowa City, IA to any other city in the country. The calculator will tell you how much income you would need to make in a particular city to live at the same level based on the cost of living in each city. For example, if the cost of living in the city you are looking to move to is higher than that of Iowa City, IA, then you would need to earn a higher salary in order to enjoy the same standard of living. To use the Iowa City, IA salary calculator, enter the name of the new city, then move the slider to your current salary level. The salary calculator will do the rest and let you know if your salary would need to increase or decrease for the new city. You will also see a complete overview of the cost of living.

Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

Median IncomePer YearPer MonthMax Budget (28% DTI)Max Budget (36% DTI)
One can approximate the cost of living and the housing affordability in Iowa City, IA by the percentage of a person’s income that he or she spends on the monthly housing, otherwise known as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). To stay on the safe side and keep one’s head above the water, a consumer should never spend more than 28 percent of his or her gross income on housing-related expenses and costs and not more than 36 percent of income on all expenses and debts. Homeowners in Iowa City, IA have a median income of $82,899. Therefore, the amount that a consumer should spend on housing costs should be no more than $1,934 per month to avoid calamity and poverty. The renters in the city have an income of about $21,677, which would make their monthly maximum allowable rental costs $506.

Iowa Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax

Iowa Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
When considering the overall cost of living expenses in Iowa City, IA, it's important to take into account the sales tax for Iowa, as well as the rate for income tax in Iowa. Goods and services sold to consumers in any state have some form of sales tax. Each state has its own tax code, which means that sales tax rates vary from state to state, ranging from over 7% in some states to as low as 0% in others. The maximum surtax for Iowa is 7%, and the sales tax in the state of Iowa is 6%. Alternatively, the tax imposed on your income by the state government is known as income tax. The rate for this tax also varies from state to state, and your rate is affected by your tax bracket, which is determined by your level of income. Income tax rates might be as high as 9%, down to as low as 0%. The range for income tax rates in Iowa starts from 0.36% and goes up to 8.98%.

Goods & Services

ItemIowa CityNational avg.Difference
Haircut $17.63$17.490.8%
Beauty Salon $20.99$38.1745.0%
Toothpaste $3.31$2.3242.6%
Shampoo $0.82$1.0119.0%
Movie $11.42$10.726.5%
Bowling $18.05$13.8630.2%


ItemIowa CityNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $4.43$3.9013.6%
Fried Chicken $1.49$1.406.8%
Milk $2.68$1.9636.6%
Potatoes $2.57$3.1819.3%
Pizza $10.49$10.390.9%
Beer $8.91$9.233.5%

Health Care

ItemIowa CityNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $140.00$106.3431.7%
Doctor $107.00$115.257.2%
Dentist $80.67$98.3818.0%
Ibuprofen $11.38$9.2622.9%
Lipitor $498.66$466.476.9%


ItemIowa CityNational avg.Difference
Home Price $191,100.00$184,700.003.5%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $1,216.77$1,273.324.4%
Apartment Rent $873.00$949.008.0%


ItemIowa CityNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $2.67$2.593.1%
Tire Balancing $76.00$48.9055.4%


ItemIowa CityNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$127.38$167.6024.0%
Phone $173.49$163.426.2%
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.
Frytown, IA841033%
Nichols, IA36089-11%
West Liberty, IA3,73791-9%
West Branch, IA2,58194-6%
Oxford, IA87494-6%
Iowa City, IA72,3851022%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Layton, UT72,4131000%
Waldorf, MD72,41311919%
Rapid City, SD72,44194-6%
Canton, OH72,16382-18%
Goodyear, AZ72,6291077%
Iowa City, IA72,3851022%
Source: The Iowa City, IA cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for 2019.
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