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‌Cost of Living in Raleigh (vs. Your State)

Raleigh continues to be one of the most popular cities on the southern East Coast. A tight community with a small-town feel, nestled inside big-city accessibility combines with a booming tech sector to make this such a valued place to live, work, and play.

One way to see how amazing Raleigh is to compare it with a city near where you already live. To learn why you should come here to live, let’s examine some side-by-side comparisons and discover why living in Raleigh is so great!

(Details in the following comparisons use Forbes Advisor’s Cost of Living Calculator comparing Raleigh with an equivalent city using a pre-tax household income of $70,000.)

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs. Arizona

For Arizona, we compared Phoenix to Raleigh. Phoenix’s cost of living is 8% more than Raleigh, and the average home cost is about 17% higher. Gasoline is about 7% more expensive in Phoenix, though healthcare is about the same (1% lower). Many other sundry goods are also more expensive in Phoenix, like bread being almost 17% more and coffee being about 41% more. Paying more for a cup of java and hotter weather? No thank you. 

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs Colorado

Let’s look at Denver, which actually has a cost of living equal to Raleigh. Homes, however, cost about 37% more in Denver, and transportation costs are about 6% higher. Healthcare costs a tiny bit less (3%), but many other goods and services are more expensive. Milk will cost you about 4% more in Denver and coffee almost 29% more. 

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs California

To compare North Carolina to California, let’s look at Sacramento. Here, the cost of living is 19% higher than Raleigh and a new home will cost you about 31% more. Gas is much more expensive on the West Coast and will take about 30% more from your wallet with each fill-up. Healthcare is, on average, about 11% higher in Sacramento, and coffee costs almost 33% more! 

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs Connecticut

Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, has a 10% higher cost of living than Raleigh. Home costs are almost the same, but Hartford will cost you about 1% more. Gasoline is 11% higher, but healthcare is 9% lower. And that ever-important cup of coffee is about 36% higher in Hartford. Plus, it gets cold up there during the winter!

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs Florida

For Florida, let’s travel to Miami. This sunny city has a 20% higher cost of living than Raleigh and homes are about 32% higher. Transportation costs are about 14% higher in Miami. Healthcare, however, is 8% lower. But the cost of regular goods is almost always significantly higher in Miami, with milk costs being 45% higher and coffee up 31%.

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs Michigan

And now we head to Detroit, where the cost of living is 8% higher than Raleigh and new homes can cost almost 17% more. Even though it’s known as the “Motor City,” Detroit’s transportation costs are 7% higher. Healthcare is just a bit lower than Raleigh (4%), but miscellaneous goods and services are an average of 12% higher—with coffee being 27% more!

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs Ohio

We turn now to Columbus, where many costs are, indeed, a bit lower than Raleigh. The cost of living is 7% lower and homes are about 9% lower. Gasoline costs about 2% less in Columbus and healthcare is, on average, about 16% lower. But in Columbus, you can expect colder winters and paying more for a cup of coffee to warm up: about 39% more.

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh has just a touch higher cost of living than Raleigh: 4%. It balances out, though, as the cost of homes is about 4% less in Pittsburgh. Transportation is 9% higher in Pittsburgh, but healthcare is 8% lower. Your preference will depend more on the climate, as Pittsburgh is quite a bit colder than Raleigh. And, a cup of coffee will cost almost 34% more there.

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs Texas

Dallas is our example city for Texas, and here the cost of living is 6% higher. Housing costs are about 1% lower than Raleigh, and transportation costs are about 10% lower. A doctor’s visit, however, will cost you about 14% more in Dallas and coffee is a little over 23% more. Certainly, things to consider when looking for your new home. 

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs Tennessee

Nashville’s cost of living is 2% higher than Raleigh’s, with home prices being a little over 17% higher. Transportation and healthcare costs are lower (3% and 11%, respectively), but the cost of many common goods and services are more expensive in Nashville. Here, you’ll be paying about 15% more for your milk and over 28% more for the coffee to put your milk in!

Cost of Living in North Carolina vs Virginia

Richmond is one of the closest cities to Raleigh on this list, so it makes sense that they are comparable. The cost of living in Richmond is 1% higher and the average housing costs are about even. Transportation costs are a mere 1% higher in Richmond, as are costs associated with healthcare. Coffee, however, is 21% more expensive in Richmond. 

Living in Raleigh: Final Thoughts

Raleigh offers homeowners wonderful places to dine, memorable places to shop, picturesque escapes into nature, and convenient travel methods connecting them all. 

Cutting-edge sports and entertainment venues means there’s always something fun to do—when you’re not enjoying Raleigh’s vivacious nightlife, miles of parks and trails, and cultural centers, that is.

Raleigh is also a hub of opportunity, with major companies like Apple, Google, and Fidelity Investments flocking to the area's tech boom. It's no wonder The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) rated Raleigh as one of the top 5 hottest job markets in America! This means more than just job growth: It means economic prosperity for years to come. In fact, Raleigh's economy is projected to grow by over $209 billion in the next couple of decades. 

With all this potential, there's never been a better time to pursue your dreams in Raleigh. When you’re ready to find your new home in Raleigh, check out the new homes we have for sale. Then, come for a visit, schedule a tour, and stay for a lifetime as you call Raleigh home.