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Cost of Living in Philadelphia for Renters

What's the cost of living in Philadelphia? We've got the breakdown.

A single person living in a one-bedroom apartment alone will spend $2,058 per month on basic expenses.

Planning to move to Philadelphia? Cost of living indexes show us that it’s not so cheap to live in the City of Brotherly Love. See how this city stacks up to so many of the others in the U.S. and whether or not planning to rent here is within your budget.

Overall, the average cost of living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is 20 percent higher than the national average.

That’s not too bad for a city of Philadelphia’s size. It’s cheaper to live here than to live in NYC, Seattle, Boston, or LA, but it’s more expensive than Newark, Pittsburgh, or Dallas.

By far, the most expensive category is housing, which is at 37 percent over the national average. Utilities are close behind, though, at 24 percent above the national average.

Cost of Living in Philadelphia, PA
by Expense Category
Cost of Living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Expense Category

Cost of Living in Philadelphia, PA
Compared to Other Cities
Cost of Living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Compared to Other Major Cities

Let’s break down the cost of living Philadelphia locals typically pay:

Housing: ~$800-1200

The average rent is fairly high, at an average of $1,556 per month in the metro area. Even if you have a roommate, you should expect to pay at least $799 per adult per month and much more than that if you have kids. You’ll likely spend more than the typical 30 percent of your income on housing (35.4 percent is the average in the area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). The average one-bedroom apartment rent is $1,189 per month. Naturally, you’ll likely find a better listing with a rental agent, but we’ll use this average as our baseline.

Utilities: ~$175

After housing, this is the most costly expense according to those who measure cost of living. Philadelphia has fairly high electricity rates ($150 to $175 per month) but it also piles a water bill on top of that ($35 to $40 per month). Energy prices have actually been falling due to dropping oil prices, but they’re still quite high.

Important Taxes

They call New York the "Nanny State," but it pales in comparison to the huge array of taxes you’ll pay as a Philly local. You’ll pay all sorts of taxes on many different things. The current sales and use tax is at 8%, but you’ll also need to pay things like PECO tariffs on energy costs and a dog license fee for your pooch.

Groceries and Food: ~$300

For the average local in Philadelphia, cost of living is not as heavily influenced by food. Locals will spend about 12.5 percent of their income on food. According to the Living Wage Index, they’ll spend about $292 per month on groceries. A basic, lunchtime meal will cost about $12 to $13, and a more refined meal will often cost around $60. (A Philly cheesesteak sandwich is around $10.)

Transportation: $200-300

There are rail, subway, bus, trolley, car-sharing, and bike-sharing systems in Philly, so there are certainly plenty of transportation options, and they’re often not as crowded as in other cities. A monthly TransPass is $91, and a monthly TrailPass is $101. Gas prices are comparable to much of the Northeast. According to the living wage index, locals will spend about $313 per month on transportation.

Internet Access: $50

Happily, there’s more competition here than in many areas of the country, with prices for Internet providers ranging from $29.99 per month to $67.99 per month. Locking in a low monthly rate to begin with is easy, but you’ll likely see it spike up in about 12 to 48 months. The average now seems to be about $49.15 per month. That’s higher than the national average.

cost of living in philadelphia

Image source: mint.com

According to these estimates, a single person living in a one-bedroom apartment alone will spend $2,058.15 per month on basic expenses.

So that’s basically the average cost of living in Philadelphia, PA, though factors may change if you need a larger apartment, plan to get roommates, or have kids, say. If you’re trying to figure out whether living in Philly would be easy or difficult for you, contact a rental broker online today. An expert will be able to help you find a gorgeous apartment that’s affordable and right for you. Connect with Jumpshell to fit the city life into your budget today!

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