How Does the Chicago Cost of Living Rank Against Other Top U.S. Cities?

August 16, 2022 | By Gabrielle Gresge
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

No matter where you’re moving from (even if it’s within Chicago!), it’s easy to harbor the assumption that a bigger city implies higher expenses. As the third-biggest city in the US by population, you’d think that Chicago follows this line of thinking – but according to a study by, the cost of living here ranks lower than other top U.S. cities.

The study, completed in 2021, used the average cost of rent, food, transportation and utilities as compared to U.S. Census population data. Interestingly, the data showed that 7 of the top 10 most expensive cities were in California; Honolulu also topped the list.

Read on for a ranking of Chicago’s expenses versus comparable U.S. cities, which together round out the top four most populous in the country.

Chicago Cost of Living Rank: #37

Despite being the third-largest city in the country by population, Chicago ranks lower than its coastal counterparts. Part of this is because cost varies so greatly by neighborhood.

Average costs in Chicago are indicative of this trend:

  • 1-Bedroom Rent: $2,400
  • Food: $358 per person
  • Utilities: $156, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage
  • Transportation: $75 for a monthly CTA ventra pass

New York Cost of Living Rank: #12

When weighing the cost of living in New York vs. Chicago, it’s no surprise that the biggest city in the U.S. also happens to be one of the most expensive. Even as the city’s population declined last year, rent still managed to hover around $4,000 per month on average in Manhattan.

Average costs in New York overall slightly lower than the premiums paid in Manhattan:

  • 1-Bedroom Rent: $3,986
  • Food: $521
  • Utilities: $162
  • Transportation: $129 for a monthly MetroCard

Los Angeles Cost of Living Rank: #13

Known for its laid-back lifestyle and urban sprawl, Los Angeles mirrors Chicago in that it can be very expensive or more affordable depending on neighborhood and area. See how LA compares to Chicago in terms of the average cost of living.

Average costs in Los Angeles are just below those of their east coast counterparts:

  • 1-Bedroom Rent: $2,642
  • Food: $398
  • Utilities: $138
  • Gas: $200

Houston Cost of Living Rank: #51

Boasting 640 square miles, Houston has the largest land area of the country’s top-populated cities, – and therefore, more room to grow (and the ability to keep rent lower). H-Town also saw the smallest rate of population decline last year.

Average costs for Houston rank the lowest among their counterparts:

  • 1-Bedroom Rent: $1,941
  • Food: $328
  • Utilities: $158
  • Gas: $122

If you’re considering moving to Chicago, our LLCR brokerage team is here to share insights into cost of living while finding the right apartment for you.

Interested in learning more about the costs associated with living in Chicago? Follow the link below!

Is It Expensive to Live in Chicago?

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