Cost of living -

How Much Does It Cost to Live in California? — 2024

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What is the average monthly cost of living in California?
The average cost of living in California is $3,804.26 per month

California is one of the largest states in the United States. Lots of people dream of living in California, however, the reality is that the most populous U.S. state is also one of the most expensive.

Although California has a relatively strong job market, living a luxurious life in California is not easy. 

If you are interested in moving to California, keep reading to learn what the California’s major cities cost of living looks like! 

Methodology

The main data collection source for this article is Numbeo and trusted city-related websites, including the transit system and the CA city counties for Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose. The costs presented are estimates and pertain to an individual living alone on a monthly basis in these three most populated cities in California.

Cost of Living in California – 2024

Housing costs in California

California has a crazy housing market. It is difficult to rent or buy a place for less than $1000 a month in California. Even though the state has over 14 million housing units, the average price of a home is 250% higher than the U.S. average.

Below is the list of average costs for renting and buying properties in the 3most populated cities in California:

Cost of rent in California

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

California (Outside city center)

$2,916.97

$4,041.81

Cost of buying a property in California

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price

California

$747,352

Zillow (Oct 2023)

Utility costs in California: Internet, electricity and water

Whether you own a house or pay rent, you must cover the utility cost. Notably, the utility cost in California is less than in the rest of the United States. According to the March 2022 Save on Energy Electricity Bill Report, Californians consume an average of 572 kWh per month.

The average basic utility package that includes heating, electricity, water, and garbage in 3 most populated cities in California is as follows:

Utilities

Cost in California

Basic

(Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m² apartment)

$266.43

Internet

(60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)

$82.81

Total

$349.24

What is the average monthly cost of utilities in California?
The average monthly cost of utilities in California is $349.24

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Grocery costs in California

On average, grocery costs in California tend to be slightly higher than the U.S. national average. One of the causes is the higher cost of living in the state of California, which influences the prices of various products.

Below is the list of grocery costs in the 3 most populated cities in California:

Grocery items

Costs

Milk (regular), (1 gallon)

$4.79

Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)

$4.21

Rice (white) (1 lb)

$2.63

Eggs (regular) (12)

$5.35

Local Cheese (1 lb)

$6.54

Chicken Fillets (1 lb)

$6.79

Beef Round (1 lb)

$8.47

Apples (1 lb)

$2.44

Banana (1 lb)

$0.87

Oranges (1 lb)

$1.65

Tomato (1 lb)

$2.45

Potato (1 lb)

$1.65

Onion (1 lb)

$1.33

Lettuce (1 head)

$2.43

Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)

$14.50

Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)

$2.21

Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)

$3.16

What is the average monthly cost of groceries in California?
The average monthly cost of groceries in California is $285.88

Public transit in California

California is notorious for its bad traffic. Whether you live in San Diego or Sacramento, be prepared to spend much time in the car. The public transportation system of California is convenient for those who live near transit lines, and many neighborhoods are not accessible by transit. Also, the gas prices in California City are the highest in the country.

Below is a compilation of public transportation costs in the 3 most populated cities in California:

Type of fare

Cost in California

Single ticket

$2.25

Daily pass

$6.16

Monthly pass

$81.00

US Dept. of Transportation (Oct 2023)

What is the monthly transit pass cost in California?
The monthly transit pass costs in California is $81.00

Entertainment costs in California

California offers its residents a wealth of local activities and unique places to see, such as Theme Parks in Disneyland, beaches, and, of course, a visit to Hollywood.

Entertainment 

California

Mid-range restaurant meal

$48.33

1h taxi ride

$35.50 

1 movie ticket

$15.83

Total

$99.66

Sales tax in California

In a specific California location, sales tax consists of three parts: state, local, and district taxes. California’s base rate is 6%, but local governments can add their own taxes, causing rates to vary.

As of July 2023, California’s total sales tax is 7.75%. The reduced sales tax rate in California benefits consumers, increases economic activity, and helps local businesses.

CDTFA (July 2023)

Healthcare costs in California

In 2020, California made health coverage mandatory for residents, removing the individual mandate penalty. They also introduced a state-funded premium subsidy program to help low-income individuals get health insurance, promoting universal coverage.

California, California, boasts a strong healthcare system with known institutions like UC California Health, Scripps Health, and Sharp HealthCare. These hospitals provide a variety of medical services, contributing to the city’s reputation for high-quality healthcare. Healthcare in California can be pricey, but the good news is there are lots of different health plans to choose from. 

Healthcare costs in California are as follows:

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$101.23

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance (average cheapest)

$486.00

Gym

$71.51

Numbeo (August 2023)CA Health Care Foundation (April 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Sept 2023)

What is the average monthly cost of employee-sponsored health insurance in California?
The monthly cost of employee-sponsored health insurance in California is $101.23

Conclusion

Moving to California is challenging because the cost of living in California is high. Nevertheless, if rightly budgeted, you can live in California in no time. To prepare for your move, use the provided data as a reference to calculate the average cost of living and check with the best movers in California to assist you. This will help you manage your money well and make your move easier.

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$2,916.97

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($71.47 multiplied by 4)

$285.88

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$266.43

Internet with 60 Mbps

$82.81

Transit pass

$81.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$99.66

Gym membership 

$71.51

Total

$3,804.26

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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