Cost of Living in California

The cost of living in California is 42% higher than the national average
Cost of Living in California Compared to National Average
Housing (Buy and Rent) 101% higher
Utilities (Monthly) 22% higher
Food 17% higher
Healthcare 9% higher
Transportation 27% higher
Goods & Services 10% higher

The cost of living in California is 42% higher than the national average. Housing is 101% higher than the national average, while utilities are 22% higher. When it comes to basic necessities such as food and clothing, groceries are around 10% higher than in the rest of the country, while clothing costs 10% higher.

Healthcare services such as doctor check-ups and dentistry cost 9% higher in California compared to the national average. At the same time, non-necessary expenses such as entertainment and grooming services are 10% higher.

The Cost of Living in California Largest Cities Compared to the National Average

This is how much pricier or cheaper it is to live in California’s 12 largest cities compared to the national average.
The cost of living in California varies depending on the city you live in. The priciest city in California is Sunnyvale, where the cost of living is 58% higher compared to the state average and 124% higher than in the rest of the U.S. The cheapest major city in California is Fresno, with a cost of living 24% lower below the state average and 7% higher than the national average.
City, State Compared to State Average Compared to National Average
Sunnyvale, CA 58% higher 124% higher
San Francisco, CA 25% higher 76% higher
Truckee, CA 7% higher 52% higher
Anaheim, CA 7% higher 51% higher
Los Angeles, CA 6% higher 50% higher
San Jose, CA 5% higher 49% higher
Oakland, CA 2% higher 44% higher
San Diego, CA 1% higher 44% higher
Stockton, CA 14% lower 22% higher
Tracy, CA 14% lower 22% higher
Palm Springs, CA 15% lower 20% higher
Sacramento, CA 16% lower 19% higher
Modesto, CA 18% lower 16% higher
Bakersfield, CA 23% lower 9% higher
Fresno, CA 24% lower 7% higher
What is a cost of living calculator?

The cost of living calculator tells you how much money you need to maintain your current standard of living in a different city. The cost of living comparison is based on your income and the price of basic necessities such as housing, transportation or food in the two cities you selected. Use the calculator to find out what income you will need in a new city and how much more or less you’ll need to budget for basic expenses.

Where does the data come from?

Consumer goods, services and home prices are sourced from The Cost of Living Index published by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER).
The data on this page is updated bi-annually and it was last published in September 2023.

Average rent data is our in-house proprietary data from Yardi Matrix, where available. For the remaining locations, C2ER rent data was used. Yardi Matrix is a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self-storage sectors, a division of Yardi Systems, Inc.

Household income data is sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent estimates.