Overall 50%
Goods & Services 10%
Housing 130%
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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.
IndexSan DiegoCaliforniaNational
Cost of living150140100
Goods & Services110109100
Health care108109100

Key findings

  • The cost of living in San Diego is 7% higher than the California average
  • The cost of living in San Diego is 50% higher than the national average
  • San Diego housing is 130% higher than the national average
  • California general sales tax is 42% higher than the national average
  • California state income tax is 59% lower than the national average

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Compare San Diego, CA Cost of Living

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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)
      The percent of monthly income spent on housing can be a good indicator of the affordability of housing in San Diego, CA, 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 San Diego homeowners, is $96,503. This would allow for a maximum of $2,252 per month to be spent on housing costs. For renters, the median monthly income is $50,692 which would result in a maximum of $1,183 to be spent on rental costs.

      California Sales Tax

      StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax

      California Income Tax

      StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)

      Goods & Services

      ItemSan DiegoNational avg.Difference
      Haircut $23.83$20.2717.6%
      Beauty Salon $65.72$40.3962.7%
      Toothpaste $2.26$2.364.1%
      Shampoo $1.38$1.0828.5%
      Movie $14.91$10.9935.7%
      Bowling $22.56$15.4945.6%


      ItemSan DiegoNational avg.Difference
      Ground Beef $4.52$4.305.1%
      Fried Chicken $1.79$1.4028.2%
      Milk $2.30$2.204.4%
      Potatoes $2.99$3.227.1%
      Pizza $12.70$10.7418.3%
      Beer $9.93$9.603.5%

      Health Care

      ItemSan DiegoNational avg.Difference
      Optometrist $123.80$109.7312.8%
      Doctor $125.00$118.345.6%
      Dentist $109.73$100.948.7%
      Ibuprofen $11.49$9.9315.7%
      Lipitor $490.43$469.534.5%


      ItemSan DiegoNational avg.Difference
      Home Price $488,600.00$184,700.00164.5%
      Avg. Mortgage Payment $2,789.33$1,229.62126.8%
      Apartment Rent $1,427.00$949.0050.4%


      ItemSan DiegoNational avg.Difference
      Gasoline $3.97$2.7146.6%
      Tire Balancing $55.77$51.867.5%


      ItemSan DiegoNational avg.Difference
      All Electricity$239.65$170.8440.3%
      Phone $179.39$187.184.2%
      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

      CityPopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
      Spring Valley CDP (Lake County), CA1,1541066.0%
      Bostonia, CA16,29512323.2%
      National City, CA60,34912726.5%
      La Presa, CA37,11012928.6%
      Winter Gardens, CA21,25513130.5%
      San Diego, CA1,374,81215049.7%

      Cities with similar population

      CityPopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
      Calgary, AB1,371,990n/a 
      San Antonio, TX1,439,3589010.3%
      Dallas, TX1,278,433972.7%
      Phoenix, AZ1,555,324972.5%
      Philadelphia, PA1,559,9381021.9%
      San Diego, CA1,374,81215049.7%
      Source: This data reflects 2021 and was released from C2ER in January, 2022; this is the most current data available.