D
21%
Overall NAT. AVG.
7%
Goods & Services NAT. AVG.
60%
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 State College Pennsylvania National
Cost of living12198100
Goods & Services10799100
Groceries9999100
Health care11094100
Housing16091100
Transportation108106100
Utilities93107100

An Overview of Cost of Living in State College, PA

Understanding the cost of living in State College can help future residents assess whether their current financial situation aligns with the expenses they will encounter. It enables them to plan for potential changes in their budget and lifestyle. The State College cost of living index is 121, which is 21% higher than the national average. The cost of living index is calculated by taking into account multiple categories, which encompass both the cost of everyday expenditures and larger expenses as well.

The cost of living in State College is among the highest in the country, making it a very expensive place to live. Only a small fraction of regions boast a cost of living that is at least 20% higher than the national average, and regrettably, State College falls into this category, which may not be suitable for those seeking an economically favorable living environment.

Housing costs are a very significant part of the State College 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 60.1% more than the average city. This includes things like home and rent prices, mortgage rates and insurance.

Is State College Affordable?

Is State College affordable? This is a pivotal question, especially when mulling over a move, as affordability carries substantial weight in your decision-making process. Factors such as the cost of living index (discussed earlier), housing expenses and income levels all contribute to a location's affordability. For instance, in State College, the median home price is 79.8% higher than the national average and monthly rent prices are 14.1% higher than the typical rates. Additionally, the median income levels play a role in affordability, with State College boasting a median household income of $38,076, 31.2% lower than the national average.

What Factors can Influence the Cost of Living in State College?

Transportation: If public transportation is limited or not available, residents may need to own and maintain vehicles, which can add to the cost of living. Gas, insurance, regular maintenance and potentially lease or finance payments will all need to be paid on a monthly basis. In State College, the transportation index is 8.4% higher than the national average.

Urbanization: Larger, urban hubs brimming with ample amenities and robust employment opportunities often showcase a heightened cost of living. This surge is primarily attributed to the amplified demand for services and increased residential migration, culminating in elevated home prices and elevated rental rates. Conversely, less densely populated rural locales or regions characterized by reduced demand tend to offer a more limited array of amenities and undergo slower job market growth, ultimately yielding a more affordable cost of living.

Taxes: Areas with higher taxes, including sales taxes and income taxes, can contribute to a higher cost of living. Paying more tax for everyday goods and services like clothing and food will result in higher costs, as will paying a higher rate of income tax. The general sales tax rate in State College starts at 6% and the income tax rates start at 3.07%.

Where is the Data From?

The State College 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. Published on a quarterly basis, it compiles data from more than 300 independent researchers, encompassing over 60 goods and services. These items have been meticulously selected to represent various consumer expenditure categories, in 6 categories. Weightings assigned to cost differentials draw from government survey data tracking spending patterns among professional and executive households. While the C2ER index excludes data on sales or income tax rates, AreaVibes incorporates tax rates into the overall cost of living score for each region.

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Cost Of Living Quick Facts

  • The cost of living in State College is 23% higher than the Pennsylvania average
  • The cost of living in State College is 21% higher than the national average
  • State College housing is 60% higher than the national average
  • Pennsylvania general sales tax is 18% higher than the national average
  • Pennsylvania state income tax is 36% higher than the national average

Most Affordable Places to Live in and Around State College

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Compare State College, PA 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 Income Per Year Per Month Max Budget (28% DTI) Max Budget (36% DTI)
      Owners$115,645$9,637$2,698$3,470
      Renters$27,127$2,261$633$814
      A good way to judge both the affordability of the housing and the cost of living in State College is by simply calculating the maximum that should be spent on housing, otherwise known as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). The plan is to avoid spending more than 28 percent of the gross income on costs that pertain to housing and no more than 36 percent on all expenses and debts. State College has a median income of about $115,645 for people who own homes. Based on that number, a maximum of $2,698 should be spent on expenses related to housing. Renters have a slightly different median income, which is $27,127. Based on this average, renters should spend no more than $633 on all rental costs if they want to maintain a non-impoverished standard of living.

      Pennsylvania Sales Tax

      State General Sales Tax With Max Surtax
      Pennsylvania 6% 8%

      Pennsylvania Income Tax

      State Income Tax (Low) Income Tax (High)
      Pennsylvania 3.07% 3.07%

      Goods & Services

      Item State College National avg. Difference
      Haircut $26.17$24.267.9%
      Beauty Salon $40.39$45.5611.4%
      Toothpaste $3.77$3.701.9%
      Shampoo $1.43$1.2811.4%
      Movie $12.52$12.133.2%
      Bowling $15.56$18.0013.6%

      Groceries

      Item State College National avg. Difference
      Ground Beef $5.65$5.843.2%
      Fried Chicken $1.45$1.578.0%
      Milk $4.49$4.673.8%
      Potatoes $5.37$4.938.8%
      Pizza $11.67$12.093.4%
      Beer $11.13$10.416.9%

      Health Care

      Item State College National avg. Difference
      Optometrist $123.25$125.681.9%
      Doctor $177.40$135.7830.7%
      Dentist $118.44$113.294.6%
      Ibuprofen $10.64$10.650.2%
      Lipitor $469.00$468.600.1%

      Housing

      Item State College National avg. Difference
      Home Price $332,100.00$184,700.0079.8%
      Avg. Mortgage Payment $2,026.41$2,346.6913.6%
      Apartment Rent $1,083.00$949.0014.1%

      Transportation

      Item State College National avg. Difference
      Gasoline $3.66$3.465.7%
      Tire Balancing $68.88$59.9215.0%

      Utilities

      Item State College National avg. Difference
      All Electricity $169.62$193.9912.6%
      Phone $195.81$192.251.9%
      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.
      Baileyville, PA871010.8%
      Barrville, PA1821043.7%
      Hublersburg, PA1951000.1%
      Potlicker Flats, PA2698514.9%
      Juniata Terrace, PA5978614.2%
      State College, PA42,10012120.6%

      Cities with similar population

      City Population Cost of Living Index National Avg.
      Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC42,121n/a 
      Beverly, MA42,06214948.5%
      Annandale, VA42,24014848.0%
      Odenton, MD42,25812928.7%
      Midland, MI41,922964.2%
      State College, PA42,10012120.6%
      Date & Last Updated: This data reflects 2023 and was released from C2ER in January, 2024; this is the most current data available.