The Cost of Living in Boston

From the “hub of the universe” to the “Athens of America” to the “cradle of liberty,” Boston is known by many names, each paying tribute to the city’s impressive culture, education, and innovation.

Boston offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication, with many opportunities for those looking to live there. The median household income in Beantown is around $81,744, nearly $25,000 more than the national average.

With all the fantastic things it has going on, it may be no surprise that Boston’s overall cost of living is roughly 50% more than the US average.

If you’re considering a move to Boston, keep reading. We’ll look at the factors contributing to its high cost of living, giving you the information you need to determine if living in Beantown is the right fit for you and your wallet!

Cost of Living in Boston Massachusetts

How Much is The Cost of Living in Boston, Massachusetts?


Whether you’re considering purchasing a home or renting an apartment in Boston, it’s crucial to budget accordingly. Housing is one of the most significant factors impacting the cost of living, largely because the demand for housing often outpaces the supply, resulting in elevated prices.

Rental prices may vary greatly depending on the neighborhood, with areas like Back Bay, Seaport, and Beacon Hill commanding higher rates due to their central locations and historical appeal.

To alleviate housing costs, some Bostonians opt for roommates or explore housing options in the surrounding suburbs, where prices are slightly more affordable.

Property taxes tend to be high, as expected for a state with the nickname “Taxachusetts.” Many people who relocate to Massachusetts plan on living in Boston and then find themselves with sticker shock.

Some surrounding towns just outside the city are no better for affordability. Those looking for affordable housing options must move further West of the city.


Keeping a car in the city comes with expenses, such as parking fees (including potentially hefty tickets downtown if you’re not careful) and steep gas prices of $4.32 per gallon. That’s not counting insurance and maintenance costs.

Boston’s robust public transportation system, known as the “T,” offers a convenient, cost-effective way to navigate the city without needing a car. Just be sure to factor monthly passes and fares into your budget.

The decision to either rely on public transportation or own a car largely depends on individual preferences and lifestyle, but because of the city’s extreme walkability and affordability of public transport, there’s a good reason why many Bostonians choose to go car-free.

Food & Groceries

The overall average grocery bill in Boston weighs about 12% higher than the US average, but this can vary depending on the item, the season, what brands you prefer, and where you shop. For example, a loaf of bread will set you back roughly $4.87, nearly twice as much as the national average of $2.50, but a gallon of 2% milk averages $3.13, while the US average is $4.86.

Boston offers various dining options, from trendy eateries to historic seafood markets. Ask the locals about their world-famous clam chowder and lobster rolls, and you’re sure to have a lot of options for a delightful meal.

However, frequent eating out can quickly add up, especially since the average price for two people to eat at a mid-range restaurant is roughly $100. The average cost of a mid-range restaurant in the US is $70.

Boston has many local farmers’ markets and discount grocery stores that can help cut a little off your grocery bill, allowing you to enjoy the city’s culinary delights and budget-friendly meals.


One of Boston’s most prominent features is its world-renowned medical facilities. While residents may have access to top-notch healthcare, they must consider how the city’s healthcare expenses affect the cost of living.

A visit to a walk-in clinic for an annual wellness exam will likely average $165.83, nearly $30 more than the national average of $138.20. The cost of health insurance premiums typically varies between age, lifestyle, the policy you choose, and which insurance company you choose.

For an average 30-year-old, the healthcare policy runs about $458 for a PPO plan. In Boston, that same person can expect to pay roughly $491.

Entertainment & Lifestyle

Boston’s vibrant cultural scene offers many entertainment options, from museums and theaters to sports events and music festivals. The city is diverse, offering something engaging and fun for all ages and tastes, from Gen Zs to Boomers and everyone in between. Engaging in these activities enriches the city experience but can also impact your budget.

If you’re in the mood for a day of culture, day passes offer discounts on tickets and entrance fees to select attractions. Many places of interest offer discounts or even free access on certain days, so it pays off to plan.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a quiet evening at the movies, an average adult ticket in Boston runs about $14.30, while the US average is $12.09.

Enjoy Boston

Living in Boston is a unique and rewarding experience, offering access to world-class amenities, a rich history, and a thriving job market.

However, it’s essential to approach the city’s cost of living with careful consideration and planning. By budgeting wisely, exploring cost-saving strategies, and making informed choices, you can embrace the city’s opportunities and still pay your bills on time!

Mihaela Buzec About the Author: Mihaela Buzec is a senior writer and online content developer for RentCafe. Mihaela covers everything related to the renting lifestyle, from decorating and interior design to finding the right apartment, frugal living, money-saving advice, and more. She delves into topics of interest, writing well-researched in-depth guides on subjects such as renting with pets, saving on utilities, or avoiding rental scams to help renters stay informed. Mihaela holds a BA in English and German Language and Literature and an MA in Current Linguistics. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in neurolinguistics.