So you’re dreaming of relocating to the golden State—but deserve to you bought the cost of living in California? That’s a smart question to ask prior to you sell your house and also load up a U-Haul v surfboards and also sunscreen.

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According to a 2020 price of life Index, the average city in California has a 38% higher cost of living than the average city in the nation. Store in mind, CA is the third largest state in the U.S. ~ Alaska and also Texas—so the expense to live over there varies considerably from city to city. In fact, cities selection from 5–98% greater in price than the mean U.S. City!1

In order to uncover out if you deserve to afford life in the gold State, you’d have to compare the cost of living in your current city with the CA city of her dreams.

To assist you make a confident decision on even if it is California is ideal for friend cost-wise, we’ll show you just how much CA charges for “super fun” grown-up stuff prefer housing, food, taxes and also bills.

Let’s acquire started!

Housing costs in California

Okay, let’s kick things off with housing costs. In march 2020, median residence prices in California were much more than $600,000—nearly 88% greater than the national median of $320,000!2 Meanwhile, the mean monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment was practically $1,900—about 55% higher than the national mean of $1,200.3 Ouch!


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Sure, prices prefer those have the right to take the wind right out of her sails. Yet remember, California is huge! therefore there’s expect in finding housing prices within your budget range when you look throughout the whole state.

Check the end the expense differences between these renowned CA cities:

California City

Average house Price

Apartment Rent

San Francisco






San Diego









While you might have come strike gold to afford real estate near the golden Gate Bridge, the state still has a city choose Bakersfield that’s practically 9% less expensive 보다 the median U.S. City as soon as you consider full housing expense factors.5

How to handle Housing expenses in California

Whether you decide to rent or buy in your brand-new city, first make sure you deserve to afford it. Overcome off any kind of cities from her list the don’t allow you to keep your monthly housing payment to no more than a fourth of your take-home pay.

For residence buyers that are gaining a mortgage, that 25% limit includes principal, interest, home taxes, homeowner’s insurance, exclusive mortgage insurance allowance (PMI) and also homeowners combination (HOA) fees. Usage our mortgage calculator to get in your down payment amount and try out different home price within her budget.

If you want a clever mortgage you can pay turn off fast, talk to Churchill Mortgage about getting a 15-year fixed-rate traditional loan. Any kind of other form of mortgage will drown you in interest and also fees and also keep you in debt for decades.

If the high housing expenses in California have actually you feeling bummed, cave in there. There’s hope to discover a home you deserve to afford as soon as you job-related with the top real estate agents in the market. Us make that quick and easy because that you to discover the best-performing agents who know the obstacles of to buy a residence in an expensive area. It’s their mission to help you find a house that allows you to keep all your other financial objectives in balance.


On average, Californians salary a little greater than most U.S. Cities for utilities choose energy and phone use. If Bakersfield could have cheaper housing, it has one the the highest possible utility costs in CA—nearly 43% greater than the nationwide average.6

But again, there’s a large range. Bakersfield payment 43% an ext for monthly power than the nationwide average. Orange County, ~ above the other hand, has actually below-average utility costs—paying 6% less than the usual U.S. City.7 for this reason don’t be afraid to crank increase the AC!



Get all set to begin shopping at Safeway! The price of groceries in California ranges in between 5–33% higher than the average U.S. City.8 The City the Modesto has actually some the the least expensive groceries in CA, but expect come ring up greater totals at grocery store stores in Oakland.

Sacramento, top top the other hand, sit somewhere in the middle. The average cost of cereal and a fifty percent gallon of milk in Sacramento is virtually $7—a whole dollar more than the nationwide average!9 for this reason if friend spill her milk in California, it’s it s okay to cry. Just let it out.



Take a deep breath—California has the greatest transportation prices in the country. Prices like auto maintenance and gas price guzzle away 27–45% an ext of her money than almost everywhere else in the nation!

Even though Modesto has the shortest gas prices in California, your pumps still charge 27% much more than the rest of the U.S. And—pump the breaks—San Francisco charges the greatest gas price in the nation at 45% higher!10

But don’t worry. There space still means for friend to save money ~ above transportation expenses in CA. Try bundling your auto insurance for a discount by talking to among the independent insurance allowance agents we recommend.


Health Care

San Francisco comes out on top again through the highest possible health treatment costs in California—30% greater than the average city in the nation. Meanwhile, Stockton ranks the the very least expensive amongst CA cities, i beg your pardon is only 2% much more than the typical U.S. City.11

Sacramento makes a comeback together the center price variety for health care costs in California. Examine out exactly how Sacramento compares to the median city in the country:

Health treatment Type

Sacramento, CA Cost

Average U.S. City Cost

Cost Difference

General doctor








Eye doctor








Prescription drug





If you’re wondering why California sound pricier than most states, friend might point the finger at taxes. The state has actually the greatest income counting in the country! They range all the way up come 13.3% for the greatest tax bracket. Top top the other hand, Californians in the bottom bracket only pay 1% of their revenue to the state.13

The gold State also has the greatest state-level sales tax price at 7.25%! but when you element in their mean local-level sales tax price of 1.41%, CA drops come the ninth highest total sales tax rate in the nation.14 Still, in some cities, it might feel like California taxes you because that breathing.

If all this tax talk renders your eyes glaze over, no worries. Girlfriend can find out exactly how moving to California will influence your counting by connecting with among our trusted taxation advisors. We just recommend tax pros who have actually the love of a teacher.

Miscellaneous Goods and Services

Miscellaneous prices refer to a wide range of goods and also services consisting of things like typical restaurant foods, clothing, entertainment, tasks and an individual care. In California, the price of these goods and services variety all the means from below 11% come above 33% the the national average!15

In Orange County, miscellaneous costs complement the median of many California cities and also rank 10% higher than the rest of the country. Format comes through a price in the OC—a haircut will price you an median of 23% more compared come the remainder of the country and your rad brand-new shirt will be 36% more. However hey, you have the right to order pizza for only about 5% an ext than the usual U.S. City in Orange County—and there’s Disneyland. 16


Compare the expense of life in California come Your current City

Now you understand the price of life in California—but have the right to you purchased it? If you want to it is in sure, shot our cost-free Cost of life Calculator come determine how much much more or much less expensive it would certainly be because that you to live in the CA city that’s calling your name.

If California has actually a higher cost the living 보다 you can at this time afford, not all hope is lost. Shot one of these ideas:

readjust your traditional of living.Try to bump up your salary as soon as you find a new job.Move come an affordable zip password that’s within range of your wanted city.

Ready to move to California?

If you can afford life in the gold State, congrats! The next step on her relocation journey is to handle your housing. Because that a quick and also easy method to find real heritage agents in CA and also your present city, shot our Endorsed regional Providers (ELP) program. We only recommend the best-performing agents who are on a mission to assist you crush your relocation goals.

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Where did We get Our Data?

The data the drives many of this numbers and also our cost of living Calculator comes from the cost of life Index released by the Council because that Community and Economic research (C2ER). Due to the fact that the cost of living in any area is constantly changing, girlfriend can constantly check our calculator to find the many recent data.If you desire to learn more about C2ER, get the scoop here.