Nov 20, 2023 - News

How much it costs to live in Austin

Cost-of-living index in Austin, Q3 2023
Data: The Council for Community and Economic Research; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Goods and services tend to cost less in Austin than in other U.S. cities — but housing costs more, per a new analysis

Driving the news: Each quarter, the Council for Community and Economic Research assembles a cost-of-living index designed to measure "regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services."

  • The group's proverbial bucket includes housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services, and is based on spending by "professional and managerial households in the top income quintile."
  • The result: A snapshot in time useful for comparing relative costs across cities.

How it works: An index value of 100 represents the national average cost of living across 269 cities.

  • If a city has a value over 100, its cost of living is higher than average. Under 100, lower than average.

By the numbers: Austin's cost-of-living index value, as of the third quarter of 2023: 97.8.

  • Relatively speaking, Austin's most expensive category was housing (104.9), and its least expensive was transportation (91.3).
  • Which makes sense since, if you haven't noticed, housing prices climbed through the roof here during the pandemic but, as in much of Texas, we enjoy relatively cheap gasoline.

The big picture: Among cities with more than 100,000 residents, Honolulu (179.2), San Jose (171.3) and San Francisco (169.5) had the country's highest relative cost of living as of Q3 2023.

  • If Manhattan were its own city, it would hold the top spot, at 227.8.

Meanwhile: Residents of Texas cities McAllen (80.2) and Amarillo (84.4) were among those enjoying the lowest cost of living.

The bottom line: Looking to cut costs? New Yorkers who can work remotely might want to take their big city salary to, say, Amarillo, known as the cultural capital of the Texas high plains.


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