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‌Cost of Living in West Virginia (vs. Your State)

West Virginia is known as The Mountain State for a reason. Standing proud as part of the Appalachian Mountain Range, West Virginia is a wonderland of natural beauty. 

Here, national parks and forests are commonplace, as protected lands stretch from border to border. Harper’s Ferry awaits you at the meeting of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, inviting you to explore the area’s rich history and culture. 

West Virginia is also the D.C. Metro-area’s secret. Many areas are close enough to large roads to allow commuters to work near or in D.C., while living out in the beautiful wilderness. The mountains of West Virginia really can separate work and life in the best way. 

With a lower cost of living than the national average, West Virginia is a gem to new-home shoppers seeking their forever home. But the true cost-of-living test is to see how it compares to where you live now. To learn why you should look for a home here, let us examine side-by-side comparisons and discover why living in West Virginia is so magnificent!

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

Cost of Living in West Virginia vs. Alabama

We’re going to use Birmingham to compare West Virginia to Alabama. Both have just about the same cost of living, with Alabama being about 2% higher. The average home costs the same in both states. Birmingham’s price of gas is about 11% lower, while healthcare is almost even (1% lower in Alabama). Coffee, however, is almost 20% less expensive in Alabama.

Cost of Living in West Virginia vs Alaska

Here, we’ll use Anchorage as a stand-in for Alaska. The cost of living in this cold state is 28% higher, with the average home having a 71% higher price tag. Gas is a little over 11% higher in Alaska, and healthcare is 51% higher. To warm you up, that cup of coffee is going to cost 15% more in the 50th state. 

Cost of Living in West Virginia vs California

Heading to the other side of the country (but not as north as Alaska), we’ll use San Francisco to compare California to West Virginia. California’s cost of living is about 49% higher, with new homes going for a whopping 279% more. Gas is 27% higher on the West Coast, and healthcare is 32% higher. Even coffee will stretch your wallet, being almost 24% higher than West Virginia.

Cost of Living in West Virginia vs South Carolina

Back on the East Coast, we’ll look at Columbia as a reference point for South Carolina. The cost of living here is 4% higher than West Virginia, yet new homes are 6% less expensive. Gas costs almost 18% less in South Carolina, and healthcare is 11% lower. Coffee is very close, but still almost 5% less expensive than West Virginia.

Cost of Living in West Virginia vs Washington

Let’s examine Washington, using Seattle as an average city. Here, the cost of living is 39% higher, with new homes being 165% more expensive. Gas is almost 20% more expensive in Washington, and healthcare is almost 34% more. And coffee (remember, Starbucks began and is headquartered in Washington) is over 17% more expensive than in West Virginia. 

Cost of Living in West Virginia vs Missouri

Springfield (our proxy for Missouri) has a slightly lower (5%) cost of living than West Virginia. New home prices are 7% lower here too. Gas is about 15% less expensive and healthcare is about the same in Missouri. And yet coffee is just a bit more expensive (about 2%).

Cost of Living in West Virginia vs Ohio

And now we’ll take a look at Cleveland, Ohio, where the cost of living is about 4% higher than West Virginia. Homes cost 5% higher, yet gas is a little over 1% lower. Healthcare costs are also about the same, and coffee is almost 4% less expensive in Ohio.

Cost of Living in West Virginia vs Pennsylvania

Finally, let’s look at West Virginia’s northern neighbor: Pennsylvania. Here, we’ll be using Pittsburgh to represent the state. Pennsylvania’s cost of living is about 9% higher, and new homes will cost 16% more. Gas is about 3% higher than West Virginia, yet healthcare is 4% lower. And the final cup of coffee for this comparison? That will cost you just about 2% more in Pennsylvania.

Living in West Virginia: Final Thoughts

West Virginia offers homeowners the ability to commute to the D.C. area, without living in the D.C. area. Or to just live and work in a state that surrounds you with natural beauty and all the history and adventure that entails.

Band festivals, dance festivals, live-performances, and many colleges and universities offer amazing opportunities for enjoyment, enlightenment, and community connection. 

When you are ready to find your new home in Morgantown, Berkeley County, Harrison County, Jefferson County, Marion County, Monongalia County, or the Eastern Panhandle, DRB Homes has you covered! Once you find your ideal location and home, schedule a tour and enjoy living in West Virginia.