Cost of living in Raleigh, NC

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

A drone shot over North Hills showing the skyline.

How expensive is it to live in Raleigh?

Table of Contents

With Raleigh constantly growing and undertaking multiple high-profile developments this year, we figured it was time to talk about the cost of planting some roots in the City of Oaks.

The median household income in Wake County is $83,567, according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, NC is No. 38 in the country for median income at ~$56,642 per household. cost of living charts are based on a US average of 100.

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

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

In the City of Oaks, the cost of healthcare is 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 NC and the country overall.

Breaking down the numbers

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 for rent + utilities would be $1,250. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Raleigh is $1,631 — leaving you over budget.

According to a recent study by Attom Data Solutions, it’s actually more affordable to rent in Wake County than to buy.

Take a look at the chart below to see how Raleigh’s cost of living compares to that of Durham.

A chart comparing the cost of living in Raleigh + Durham.

Raleigh has more affordable health care (by 3.3%) than Durham.

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Interested in seeing Raleigh’s cost of living compared to cities in other states? 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.

For fun — we took a look at the cost of living in Raleigh compared to Manhattan, NY. Here’s what we found:

  • The cost of living is 168% higher in Manhattan.
  • To maintain our standard of living, we would need to bring in $134,053 to our Raleigh household.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $5,102, which is $3,774 more than Raleigh.

Raleigh also has entities such as Affordable Rental Housing properties + 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 Kane Realty Corporation’s North Hills Innovation District to the affordable housing development from DHIC at The Village at Washington Terrace.

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