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Cost of living in Austin

We’ve broken down the cost of living in Austin, TX, comparing it to other states and the US national average.

The Austin skyline as seen from Lady Bird Lake, with pink sunset sky

Let’s take another look at the cost of living in Austin, TX.

Photo by @a_veggie_in_austin

It’s no surprise to hear Austin is getting a little expensive.

Housing costs in ATX have skyrocketed in recent years — we’re talking increasing by ~170% in the last decade — earning the Capital City the title of second-most overpriced housing market in the country this summer. Things have cooled down a bit in recent months, but home prices are still on the rise.

All that said, we were curious: how does the cost of other expenses in Austin compare to the state or nation? And how does Austin compare to other major Texas cities? Let’s break it down.

Getting started

The median household income in Austin is $75,752 according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, Texas is No. 21 in the country for median income at ~$63,800 per household.

A graphic comparing the cost of living in Austin and the nation

The overall cost of living in Austin is higher than the national average.

Screenshot via

The overall cost of living in Austin is higher than the national average, and higher than the rest of the state.

In Austin, the cost of healthcare is barely lower compared to other parts of the state + the US. And the cost of groceries, housing, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses in the city have higher average costs than other cities in Texas and the country overall.

Breaking down the numbers

Okay, we do need to talk about housing for a moment. Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $50,000 annuallyaccording to experts — you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly gross income on rent and utilities.

Don’t worry, we did the math for you — your max monthly budget would be $1,250. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Austin is currently $1,826 — putting you over budget.

However, according to a recent study by Attom Data Solutions, it’s more affordable to rent than to buy a home in Travis County.

Interested in seeing Austin’s cost of living compared to other cities? We played around on NerdWallet’s cost of living calculator, where you can put in any city along with your current pre-tax household income to find out what other cities you could actually afford to live in.

We took a look at the cost of living in Austin compared to Dallas. Here’s what we found:

  • The cost of living is 10% higher in Dallas.
  • To maintain our standard of living, we would need to bring in $83,095 to our Dallas household.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,607, which is $87 more than Austin.

(You can also check out comparisons to Houston + San Antonio.)

Austin also has entities such as Foundation Communities, Austin Habitat for Humanity, and the Austin Housing Coalition + other government-funded programs to help develop more affordable units.

There are also a number of local development firms working on apartments seemingly all the time — from Zilker Studios along South Lamar to new affordable housing units in the old HealthSouth building on East 12th Street.

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