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Money Consciousness

How Much One Needs To Make To Live Comfortably In All 50 States

Darren October 14, 2023

Global inflation is unfortunately driving up costs across the United States. It’s not exactly easy to support a family in certain cities around the United States due to these rapidly rising costs. To give you a better idea of where it’s easier to live comfortably and where it may not be, we looked at how much people must make to live comfortably in each of the 50 states.

We’ve covered this important topic before, but you probably know how much prices for essential services and items are going up fast. So it’s time to update that info. Check out how much it costs to live well in each state now due to the following figures from GoBankingRates.com using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2023. We hope these numbers help you discover the best places in the country to live.

Alabama – $46,577

The Heart of Dixie is one of the cheapest places to live in the entire nation. Residents require just $40,000 to live comfortably in Alabama. Birmingham is 25 percent cheaper than New York but it’s even cheaper outside the state capital.

Alabama Weather Blog

However, it’s important to remember that Alabama is one of the U.S.’s poorest states with 800,000 people living below the poverty line. Real estate is extremely cheap compared to some parts of the nation (via Up Homes).

Alaska – $71,570

Many people think that Alaska must be a cheap place to live, but the opposite is actually true. Costs are on the rise in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. Also, expect to pay high utilities because of the extreme weather. Furthermore, groceries are also costly.

Travel + Leisure

It’s not cheap to leave the state either because of the distances involved. Alaska can be a very rewarding place to live with incredible natural landscapes. Another massive advantage is that Alaska doesn’t have a state income tax.

Arizona – $60,026

Phoenix is one of several major cities that has seen a population influx in recent years. To afford basic living expenses, residents must earn $38,000 before tax. But they must make almost double this figure to live comfortably in The Copper State (via Fox 10 Phoenix).

Visit Arizona

There are great options outside Phoenix like Tucson and Scottsdale. These smaller cities boast incredible landscapes and great developments. But remember, the desert heat isn’t a joke and job opportunities can be limited.

Arkansas – $47,111

They call it The Land of Opportunity and this may be true because Arkansas is one of the nation’s cheapest states. Local Arkansans are struggling with inflation because income levels are lower. But cities like Little Rock remain a great option for incoming residents (via Kark).

Arkansas Tourism

Little Rock is a fantastic city for retirees and it’s a decent place to live comfortably with a young family. But Arkansas struggles with high crime figures and some of the most depressed communities in the country so that must be considered for potential residents.

California – $80,013

It won’t surprise anyone to learn that living comfortably in California costs a small fortune. Berkeley has the most expensive neighborhoods in the U.S. while the state has the ninth-highest tax burden in the country (via KTLA).

Secret San Francisco

Millions continue to flock to L.A., San Francisco, and other parts of the state. But there has also been an exodus in recent years because of severe homelessness. The Golden State has incredible landscapes and opportunities but it’s not cheap.

Colorado – $59,218

Denver is one of several cities that is witnessing an influx of people. Excellent urban development, transport links, and a closeness to nature make it very popular. Furthermore, the relative affordability compared to other cities is very attractive.

Visit The USA

However, housing remains expensive and the costs are increasing. (via Denver Post). Nonetheless, job opportunities and the proximity to mountains make Colorado a generally exciting option for people from many backgrounds.

Connecticut – $63,078

The Constitution State has long been a popular option for people looking to escape New York while remaining relatively close to it. It’s cheaper than its neighbor but remains an expensive option. New Haven and Hartford County are particularly costly.

New York Times

However, this densely populated region also has the highest income per capita in the nation. The average salary is $72,000 per year, which is much higher than the cost of living comfortably. This makes it one of the best places to live in the U.S. (via Zumper).

Delaware – $56,571

Delaware is one of the cheapest places to live on the East Coast with high rates of home ownership. That’s why it’s a desirable option for people who want to live comfortably and make money. Meanwhile, the lack of sales tax makes it attractive.

Live Love Delaware

The First State has beautiful beaches and a great history. It’s a fantastic option for retirees and it will also suit young families because of the top schools. In short, it’s a brilliant option for the East Coast (via Movoto).

Florida – $57,064

Mostly everyone knows about Florida’s outstanding tax breaks so it’s no surprise that people still flock there. It’s one of the most popular states for retirees in North America because of its weather and lifestyle.

Conde Nast Traveler

However, one side-effect is that housing and utilities are slightly higher than the national average. But groceries remain cheaper. Florida also offers amazing variety with areas like Miami, the Keys, and Tampa (via Rent Cafe).

Georgia – $49,051

Georgia is slightly complicated because there’s a massive disparity between Atlanta and the rest of the state. Unsurprisingly, Atlanta is the most desirable yet expensive place to live in The Peach State.


However, areas like Dublin in central Georgia are 40 percent cheaper than the U.S. average. There are pros and cons because of limited job opportunities and higher crime rates (via Ramsey Solutions).

Hawaii – $112,411

These days Hawaii is the most expensive state overall to live in the U.S. Housing costs more than almost everywhere else in the nation because of limited land space. Meanwhile, food is also up to 65 percent more expensive because Hawaii has to import it.

Go Hawaii

The Aloha State is paradise but there is a dark side. However, if someone can get a good job there they will be able to live comfortably. Despite this, many native Hawaiians struggle below the poverty line (via Kakaako).

Idaho – $58,634

Boise is another U.S. city that has experienced a population explosion over the past few years. East Idaho News reported that the state is the 17th-costliest in the union but has the fourth-lowest income.

Bank Rate

In short, it’s not an easy place for singles to live. However, it’s possible to find bargains outside of the bigger population centers. The magnificent scenery and affordable housing are another positive.

Illinois – $49,372

The cost of living in Illinois varies starkly depending on where people live. Unsurprisingly, Chicago is massively expensive so single citizens need to make $65,500 to live comfortably.

Travel + Leisure

But life outside the Windy City is very different. Housing is up to 20 percent cheaper than the national average outside of Chicago. The state has great job opportunities too but Chicago dominates these (via Fox 32).

Indiana – $49,855

Indiana residents must make about $50,000 per year to live comfortably. This will stretch further in places like Fort Wayne but it won’t go far in Indianapolis (via The Crazy Tourist).


Fortunately, the cost of living is lower than in many other parts of the nation with affordable groceries. There’s also a small-town town-feel to much of the state with low crime and wonderful nature.

Iowa – $48,518

The average rent in Des Moines is $936 per month, so it’s not a cheap place to live. There are bargains across the state though with cheaper costs in places like Sioux City and Cedar Rapids. These may attract retirees and young families.

Travel Lens

Iowa is one of the cheapest states to buy a home with just an 11 percent mortgage to income level. Meanwhile, this state is more than just cornfields with great education and good healthcare (via Bank Rate).

Kansas – $47,379

The Sunflower State is one of the most affordable places in the nation. It won’t be for everybody but it’s a great option for people in pursuit of a quieter lifestyle with a lower cost of living.

Kansas Tourism

Urban centers like Arkansas City, Wellington, and Newton offer great local amenities as well as cheap housing. No, there aren’t massive corporate opportunities in Kansas but everybody has different priorities (via Get Jerry).

Kentucky – $47,318

Kentucky is becoming an increasingly attractive option for new homeowners because there’s an affordable market and low property taxes. Meanwhile, people can afford to live there with cheaper utilities and groceries. There’s a lot to like about the Bluegrass State.


Furthermore, experts regard Lexington as one of the most liveable cities in the nation. The home of the Kentucky Derby has amazing BBQ and a great entertainment scene too (via Courier-Journal).

Louisiana – $50,087

The Bayou State has some of the richest culture in the entire nation with fantastic cuisine and, of course, Mardi Gras. New Orleans is the most expensive urban center but Baton Rouge and Shreveport are more affordable.

Baton Rouge Business Report

The latter is particularly attractive to retirees because it has a lower crime rate than most of the state. Groceries are cheaper than most of the U.S. so it may be easier to live comfortably (via Bayou Mortgage).

Maine – $60,862

Maine is a state with many rural communities but it also has a massive seasonal tourism industry. This drives up the price of housing and makes life difficult for its residents. Sadly, it’s not all about lobster rolls and green forests because it’s not cheap to live there comfortably.

National Geographic

However, the quality of life is very high because nature is on everybody’s doorstep. Coastal houses are in high demand because people adore this state with its phenomenal landscapes (via Movoto).

Maryland – $67,915

Maryland isn’t a cheap place to live right now. The state has high rates of home ownership so this drives housing costs up. Meanwhile, many people appreciate Baltimore’s proximity to other cities like Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York.

Visit Baltimore

However, residents pay a price for this convenience because the cost of living is 22 percent higher than the national average. Baltimore also has a notoriously high crime rate (via Rent Cafe).

Massachusetts – $87,909

It’s not easy to live comfortably in the Bay State because it’s one of the most expensive in the U.S. Boston is one of the most costly cities in the world, never mind North America.


However, it has a rich history, compact size, as well as great educational and work opportunities. Luckily, Massachusetts has many smaller towns like Northampton and Concord with high quality of life (via Exprealty).

Michigan – $50,049

The cost of living is hitting everywhere in the U.S. and Michigan is no exception. Single residents must earn about $50,000 to live comfortably in cities like Ann Arbor and Detroit. Downtown Detroit is even more costly but that’s no shock.

Travel + Leisure

However, The Great Lake State has more affordable housing than other parts of the nation. Outside of the big cities, there are astounding natural beauty spots. Furthermore, it has an excellent university and a strong economy (via Vittana).

Minnesota – $51,668

The good news is that life in Minnesota is cheaper than the U.S. average. But the bad news is that inflation continues to drive up costs in The North Star State.


On average, Minnesota’s costs are 2.8 percent lower than the rest of the union. Meanwhile, Minneapolis is a stagger 35 percent cheaper than New York but expect to earn less money (via Salary.com).

Mississippi – $45,906

Living comfortably in the Magnolia State is officially the cheapest in the entire U.S. This is brilliant news for incoming residents with money because there is great higher education and affordable housing (via The Guardian).

Visit The Delta

However, it’s trickier for the State’s natives because it has the highest poverty rates in the nation. A staggering 18.1 percent are struggling to make ends meet while crime rates are also high.

Missouri – $47,771

Missouri is a state of sharp contrasts because St. Louis and Kansas City are thriving urban centers. However, many depressed rural communities drive the cost of living average down.

Time Out

These days Kansas City is growing in popularity with job opportunities and a good lifestyle. It’s cheaper than other major cities across the nation with much lower housing prices (via Ozarks First).

Montana – $57,056

This may raise eyebrows because Montana is surprisingly expensive. Bozeman is playing a big part in this because it’s not a cheap place to live. Many people moved there in the past few years and now it’s much more expensive.

Bon Appetit

However, it’s possible to live comfortably in other parts of the state like Belgrade or Livingston. Bozeman is 22 percent more expensive than the national average so these may be tempting (via Montana Beyond).

Nebraska – $49,009

Nebraska remains one of the U.S.’s cheaper states. The cost of living is a tempting 11.5 percent lower than the national average. Meanwhile, the crime rate is low and there are job opportunities in Omaha.

Red Fin

Some people will say that this is because nobody lives there. But that’s not true and there are many advantages of living in The Cornhusker State (via USA Today).

Nevada – $58,580

Nevada is a relatively expensive state but it remains much cheaper than relatively close cities like Phoenix and L.A. Las Vegas is one of the cities that saw rents increase during the pandemic.

Kimpton Hotels

Some people will hate living in the desert but others love the allure of Sin City and Reno. Meanwhile, the desert offers amazing outdoor opportunities too (via Apartment List).

New Hampshire – $62,935

It’s easy to see why people love New Hampshire because there are so many opportunities to have a good lifestyle. The education, healthcare, and crime rates are all excellent so it’s one of the safest places to live comfortably.


Meanwhile, we’ve all seen photos of the incredible Fall foliage and nature. But this comes at a cost because living rates are substantially higher than the national average (via Media Feed).

New Jersey – $64,463

The Garden State is a place of stark differences depending on the location. Newark and Hoboken boast close proximities to New York City so it’s not shocking that they’re more expensive.


They also drive up the state average because it’s possible to live comfortably in South Jersey. However, there are high insurance premiums and taxes in the state too (via Show News Network).

New Mexico – $51,214

The cost of living in New Mexico is slightly above the national average. It’s one of those states that provides amazing opportunities if people arrive with money. That’s because it’s difficult to make big bucks here while there are high crime rates (via Best Places).


Nonetheless, the warm weather, affordable housing, and fascinating culture make New Mexico a great place to be. Everywhere has its pros and cons.

New York – $73,226

Nobody will suffer a shock to learn that New York is one of the most expensive states in the U.S. There’s a good reason why people flocked from the Big Apple in recent years. Housing costs a fortune while taxes are the highest in the nation.


But Upstate New York offers opportunities. Even Niagara Falls offers relatively affordable rental prices so there are bargains. The Empire State isn’t the cheapest place to be but incomes are also higher as well (via Fool).

North Carolina – $53,551

Whisper it but North Carolina is having a moment right now. The cost of living is relatively low while there is a flourishing job market. Add in the great climate and the gorgeous scenery and it’s easy to see why it’s popular.


Charlotte is the most expensive part of the state and is higher than the national average. This won’t shock anybody because it’s the biggest population center (via CBS 17).

North Dakota – $52,807

The Flickertail State boasts plenty of attractive qualities. Firstly, there are the low crime rates and taxes. Then there’s the number of affordable homes available for new buyers.

Fifty Grande

According to Rent Cafe, housing is 12 percent lower than the national average. Meanwhile, groceries are also significantly cheaper so it’s a great option!

Ohio – $50,157

There are plenty of reasons to move to Ohio. Firstly, it boasts three major cities; Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus. These urban centers have many job opportunities and a relatively affordable housing market.

Visit The USA

However, there are higher crime rates in parts of these cities. The cost of living is generally lower in Ohio but public transport isn’t great so this drives up costs (via Red Fin).

Oklahoma – $46,024

The Sooner State is one of the most affordable places to live comfortably in the nation. According to Vittana.org, an income of $47,000 in Oklahoma City will stretch as far as $60,000 in Atlanta.


Meanwhile, the state has experienced significant earnings growth over the past couple of years. It’s also one of the best places to start a business with low overheads.

Oregon – $65,763

The high costs don’t stop people from pouring into Oregon. Portland is a very expensive city but people still love the work-life balance and proximity to nature. However, money doesn’t go very far in this Pacific Northwest city.


But Oregon boasts some beautiful small communities with a high quality of life. Places like Hillsboro and Bend are some of the most liveable areas in the U.S. but are still costly (via That Oregon Life).

Pennsylvania – $53,838

The Keystone State is arguably the cheapest region to live in the Northeast. Yes, costs are still above the national average but they’re much cheaper than in neighboring New York or New Jersey.

AZ Animals

Furthermore, they have a single income tax rate of three percent which is unusual. There are many jobs in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh but housing is a growing issue (via Sofi).

Rhode Island – $59,936

Affordable housing and a great education system make Rhode Island an attractive place for young families. But taxes are high for retirees while there’s also a high sales tax.


The cost of living is high while harsh winters drive up the utility costs. That’s bad news when the price of oil and gas is inflating across the world (via Get Jerry).

South Carolina – $52,222

The Palmetto State is slightly cheaper than its Northern counterpart, but not by much. But it’s also attractive for similar reasons with a great job market and a relatively low cost of living.

Eastwood Homes

These are things that people don’t take for granted in other parts of the country. Columbia is a surprisingly affordable major city with plenty of opportunities (via Travel + Leisure).

South Dakota – $52,095

Some people will instantly disregard South Dakota as a boring place where nothing happens. But it’s one of the most reasonable states in the nation with plenty of jobs and affordable housing.

Dakota Post

The cost of living is lower than the national average, including rent and groceries. It’s easier to live comfortably there than in other regions (via Best Places).

Tennessee – $48,774

Moving to Tennessee offers so many opportunities that it’s difficult to know where to start. No income tax, a low cost of living, and a thriving cultural scene make it very dynamic and exciting. Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville are great cities.

Eater Nashville

However, it’s a different story for people who grew up in the state. That’s because there is high poverty and shocking crime rates (via The Honest Local).

Texas – $50,497

The cost of living in Texas is relatively affordable compared to other states. Austin experienced a massive influx over the past couple of years from California and New York. Zero income tax and an open job market make it a desirable place to live.

Eater Austin

But Texas has its problems including massive property taxes and natural disasters. Meanwhile, it’s also one of the most unequal states in the union in terms of income (via Progress Texas).

Utah – $55,293

Utah is experiencing massive highs and lows right now. First, let’s focus on the positives. Unemployment is practically non-existent while there are also very low mortgage rates and taxes.


But the housing market is the least affordable in state history. This is driving up rent costs too so it’s challenging to live comfortably in Salt Lake City and other urban areas (via Salt Lake Tribune).

Vermont – $65,923

Many people dream of relocating to Vermont because it’s beautiful, there’s almost no major crime, and it’s very developed. But it’s also incredibly expensive so it’s not cheap to live comfortably.


The limited housing market drives up prices and also affects the rental market. This became critical in late 2022 because there was a massive shortage of rental units in Burlington (via SoFi).

Virginia – $57,293

Old Dominion boasts a superb location but that’s also why it’s expensive. Many people live there but work in Washington D.C. That’s also why the northern area is pricier than other parts of Virginia.


Richmond is surprisingly affordable compared to other large cities. It has a great housing market and there are many jobs so it’s a fantastic, underrated option (via The Holm Group).

Washington – $65,640

It’s easy to see why people want to live in Washington State because it’s an amazing place to be. The economy is booming while there’s amazing scenery and a pleasant climate. Seattle is one of the most dynamic cities in the nation.

Visit The USA

But it’s also ludicrously overpriced. The cost of living in Seattle is 57 percent higher than the national average. Housing costs inflated since the pandemic and now it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world (via Seattle Times).

West Virginia – $47,732

Whisper it but West Virginia is quietly one of the best states to live comfortably in the U.S. right now. Housing remains relatively affordable compared to its neighbors while there are also good jobs.

The Telegraph

It’s one of the best places for retirees because of the high quality of life and low crime rates. Overall, the cost of living is eight percent lower than the national average (via The National News).

Wisconsin – $53,122

The Badger State enjoys a relatively low cost of living with affordable rental units. It’s a great place to buy houses because they’re much cheaper than in neighboring states (via Red Fin).

Inc. Magazine

There’s no denying that it’s easier to live comfortably in Milwaukee and Madison than in other big cities in the region. However, residents pay high utilities because of the harsh winter.

Wyoming – $49,666

Indeed, some people would never dream of living in Wyoming because they think it’s too isolated. Nonetheless, it may be attractive because the average salary in Cheyenne is $51,000.

Cheyenne Wyoming

This is above the estimated amount to live comfortably in the state. Housing is also incredibly cheap and there’s no income tax. But Wyoming has brutal winters and the isolation won’t be for everyone (via The Honest Local).