Cost of living in San Diego, CA

Are you planning a move to San Diego, CA and wondering if it is an expensive place to live in? We’ll break down the cost of living in San Diego by answering the following key questions - what is expected cost of living San Diego, what is the median income in San Diego, what is a good livable salary in San Diego, and what are the average rent and home prices in San Diego.

Is San Diego expensive to live in?

San Diego is part of San Diego-Carlsbad Metro metro area, which is ranked 14 out of 273 cities across the US in terms of cost of living. According to C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research), the cost of living in San Diego is estimated to be 140.4% of the national average making it one of the more expensive cities in the US.

Total monthly expenditure you can expect to incur depends on the cost of housing, food, utilities, transportation, healthcare, other miscellaneous goods and services. Note that your household composition (single or married, number of kids) and home ownership status (renting vs. owning) might affect your monthly expenses.

San Diego, CA is ranked
14/273 cities in the US
estimated to be 140.4% of the national average making it one of the more expensive cities in the US

What is a cost of living calculator?

A cost of living calculator helps you to assess how much you will need to make in order to live comfortably in a specific city. It takes into account various expenses that you will make in your daily lives (on housing, food, utilities, transportation, entertainment, etc.) and helps you determine a livable salary. The prices of goods and services vary in different cities, and hence having a cost of living index or calculator can make the decision to move easier by allowing you to directly compare one city with another.

How does San Diego compare with the rest of the US?

San Diego is ranked 14 out of 273 cities across the US in terms of cost of living. The cost of living in San Diego is 140.4% of the national average.

Compare San Diego to:

CategorySan DiegoU.S. Average
Hamburger$5.27 (+14.14%)$4.52
Chicken (2 pcs)$4.31 (+3.85%)$4.14
Large Pizza$11.99 (+11.27%)$10.64
Milk (1/2 gal)$2.12 (+4.42%)$2.03
Bread$3.35 (-0.45%)$3.37
Doctor Visit$125 (+7.37%)$115.79
Dentist Visit$109.75 (+9.39%)$99.45
Rent$2,324.4 (+49.64%)$1,170.47
Mortgage$2,515.63 (+52.45%)$1,196.14
Gas$3.02 (+29.75%)$2.12
Energy Bill$247.61 (+33.06%)$165.76

Compared to national average
40% higher

Housing compared to national average
107% higher

Cost of Living Calculator for San Diego

Get an estimate of the pre-tax and post-tax income, your expected expenditure on food, utilities, transportation, housing, and more with our cost-of-living calculator. Simply pick your marital status and family type from the drop-down. The calculator will give you a breakdown of your monthly spends on food, utilities, transportation, housing, healthcare, and other miscellaneous items to help you determine your cost of living in San Diego. Try it now.

Marital Status

Family Type

Your required pre-tax income
$0
Your required post-tax income
$0
CategoryExpenditure
Food$0
Utilities$0
Transportation$0
Healthcare$0
Housing (Rent / Mortgage)$0
Other Housing$0
Miscllaneous$0
Total Annual Expenditure$0

What is a livable salary in San Diego?

The median household income in a city certainly helps gauge the cost of living. The median household income in San Diego is $79,673, which is 5% more than that of the state. The median income for an individual is $39,977, which is 8% more than that of the state.

The minimum salary you need to live in San Diego is the sum of your daily expenses (groceries, utilities, transportation, entertainment), your monthly housing-related costs (rent, mortgage, insurance, maintenance), any debt expenses (monthly interest payments and principal paydowns), as well as your savings and investment goals.

A good rule of thumb for housing affordability is the 28% rule: your monthly rent or the sum of your monthly mortgage, property taxes, and insurance should not exceed 28% of your gross income (income before tax).

Understanding the expected costs in San Diego can help you determine whether a given salary is a livable salary. For instance, if you know the typical housing costs in San Diego, you can use widely followed simple rules to determine if you can afford it on your salary. A good rule of thumb for housing affordability is the 28% rule: your monthly rent or the sum of your monthly mortgage, property taxes, and insurance should not exceed 28% of your gross income (income before tax). Another good rule of thumb is the 50-30-20 rule which says 50% of the net income (income after tax) should be spent on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings and investments. So plan to ensure that your net income covers your needs and wants, so that you can live comfortably in San Diego, CA.

Median Household Income
$79,673

Median Individual Income
$39,977

What is the average rent in San Diego?

Housing is generally the biggest monthly cost that you would need to account for. The average rent in San Diego (located in San Diego-Carlsbad Metro) metro area for a 2-bed home is $2,324, which is 98% more than the average rent across the US. However, this average takes into account both metro and suburban areas. So, the costs may go up or down depending on which neighborhood you eventually decide to stay.

Rent compared to national average
98% more

What is the median home price in San Diego?

The median home price in San Diego is $760,000 with a median price per sqft of $561.

The cost of living index for housing estimates the cost of housing in San Diego to be 206.6% of the national average. This makes it one of the most expensive cities in the US.

Median Home Price
760k
Median Price Per Sqft
$561
Average Rent
$2,324
Housing Index
206.6%

About the cost of living data

  1. To calculate the cost of living, data has been taken from C2ER (Council for Community and Economic Research)
  2. The Cost of Living Index takes into account the data from 273 cities across the US
  3. The Cost of Living Index and hence, the ranking reflects cost differentials for professional households in the top income quintile

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