B+
11%
Overall NAT. AVG.
1%
Goods & Services NAT. AVG.
38%
Housing NAT. AVG.
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Date & Last Updated: This data reflects 2023 and was released from C2ER in January, 2024; 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.
Index Raleigh North Carolina National
Cost of living11194100
Goods & Services9998100
Groceries9898100
Health care112108100
Housing13885100
Transportation9392100
Utilities9894100

An Overview of Cost of Living in Raleigh, NC

Are you thinking about relocating, but curious about the potential cost of living in Raleigh? Is it more expensive or more affordable than average? Based on the most recent report, the cost of living in Raleigh stands at 111, making it 11% higher than the national average. The cost of living directly affects the affordability of one's desired lifestyle. Knowing the cost of housing, transportation, groceries and other essentials in the new area allows people to gauge whether they can maintain their preferred standard of living.

Housing costs are a very significant part of the Raleigh 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 38.3% 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 Raleigh?

When it comes to knowing a city, its residents are the experts. We conducted a survey with 66 locals to understand their opinions on the cost of living in Raleigh. The results indicated that 53% found it reasonably priced with decreasing prices of goods and services, while 47% viewed it as quite expensive, with increasing prices.

Is Raleigh Affordable?

Wondering if Raleigh is affordable? It's a question that often comes up when you're thinking about a new city since affordability can really shape your decisions. The cost of living index (covered earlier), housing expenses and income levels all play a part in the affordability equation. In Raleigh, for example, the median home price is 44.5% higher than what folks pay nationally, and monthly rent is 23.8% higher than the usual rates. Plus, income levels matter too, with Raleigh boasting a median household income of $69,720, which is 26% higher than the national average.

What Factors can Influence the Cost of Living in Raleigh?

Utilities: Much like any other costs, utility expenses can exhibit considerable variations, influenced by factors such as climate, available energy sources, geographic location and state regulations. The costs associated with electricity, water, heating, and waste disposal can vary significantly depending on the city or state in question. In Raleigh, the utilities index stands at 1.8% lower than the national average.

Taxes: Cities that impose higher taxes, including sales and income taxes, can contribute to an escalated cost of living. The added expense of taxes on everyday goods like clothing and food naturally results in higher overall costs. Similarly, a higher income tax rate can further elevate the cost of living. In Raleigh, the general sales tax rate starts at 4.75%, and income tax rates begin at 4.99%.

Housing: High demand for housing in desirable locations can drive up property prices and rental rates. This can be a primary contributor to a higher cost of living. While low demand for housing, especially in undesirable locations, can have the reverse effect and drive prices down, resulting in a lower cost of living. The housing index in Raleigh, is 38.3% higher than the national average.

Where is the Data From?

The Raleigh cost of living data displayed above is derived from the C2ER cost of living index to provide a useful and reasonably accurate measure of living cost differences in urban areas. The index takes into account data from 300 independent researches, covering more than 60 goods and services across 6 different categories, to create an overall index for each area, with 100 being the average. The C2ER index does not include sales or income tax rates in their data, however AreaVibes does include both income and sales tax rates in the overall cost of living score for each area.

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Cost Of Living Quick Facts

  • The cost of living in Raleigh is 18% higher than the North Carolina average
  • The cost of living in Raleigh is 11% higher than the national average
  • Raleigh housing is 38% higher than the national average
  • North Carolina general sales tax is 7% lower than the national average
  • North Carolina state income tax is 121% higher than the national average

Most Affordable Places to Live in and Around Raleigh

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Compare Raleigh, NC Cost of Living

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      This is how much you would need to earn in
      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 Income Per Year Per Month Max Budget (28% DTI) Max Budget (36% DTI)
      Owners$98,688$8,224$2,303$2,961
      Renters$47,469$3,956$1,108$1,424
      The percent of monthly income spent on housing can be a good indicator of the affordability of housing in Raleigh, NC, as well as the overall cost of living. As a general rule of thumb, the debt-to-income ratio (DTI) for homeowners or renters should be not more than 28 percent of gross income to be spent on housing related costs and not more than 36 percent of income on all expenses, including debts. The median income for Raleigh homeowners, is $98,688. This would allow for a maximum of $2,303 per month to be spent on housing costs. For renters, the median monthly income is $47,469 which would result in a maximum of $1,108 to be spent on rental costs.

      North Carolina Sales Tax

      State General Sales Tax With Max Surtax
      North Carolina 4.75% 7.5%

      North Carolina Income Tax

      State Income Tax (Low) Income Tax (High)
      North Carolina 4.99% 4.99%

      Goods & Services

      Item Raleigh National avg. Difference
      Haircut $19.00$24.2621.7%
      Beauty Salon $29.58$45.5635.1%
      Toothpaste $3.65$3.701.4%
      Shampoo $1.09$1.2815.1%
      Movie $10.27$12.1315.3%
      Bowling $11.00$18.0038.9%

      Groceries

      Item Raleigh National avg. Difference
      Ground Beef $5.93$5.841.5%
      Fried Chicken $1.59$1.570.9%
      Milk $4.57$4.672.1%
      Potatoes $5.18$4.934.9%
      Pizza $10.47$12.0913.4%
      Beer $10.29$10.411.1%

      Health Care

      Item Raleigh National avg. Difference
      Optometrist $141.56$125.6812.6%
      Doctor $136.38$135.780.4%
      Dentist $100.17$113.2911.6%
      Ibuprofen $10.24$10.653.9%
      Lipitor $429.52$468.608.3%

      Housing

      Item Raleigh National avg. Difference
      Home Price $266,900.00$184,700.0044.5%
      Avg. Mortgage Payment $1,813.02$2,346.6922.7%
      Apartment Rent $1,175.00$949.0023.8%

      Transportation

      Item Raleigh National avg. Difference
      Gasoline $3.45$3.460.5%
      Tire Balancing $63.55$59.926.1%

      Utilities

      Item Raleigh National avg. Difference
      All Electricity $201.14$193.993.7%
      Phone $187.32$192.252.6%
      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 Population Cost of Living Index National Avg.
      Clayton, NC23,1791021.9%
      Garner, NC30,3451054.9%
      Knightdale, NC16,7981055.4%
      Durham, NC276,3411055.4%
      Fuquay-Varina, NC29,11011312.8%
      Raleigh, NC469,69811110.5%

      Cities with similar population

      City Population Cost of Living Index National Avg.
      Colorado Springs, CO471,68611919.3%
      Long Beach, CA462,08115757.0%
      Miami, FL461,08012423.8%
      Omaha, NE479,529964.3%
      Halifax, NS451,852n/a 
      Raleigh, NC469,69811110.5%
      Date & Last Updated: This data reflects 2023 and was released from C2ER in January, 2024; this is the most current data available.