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Average Cost of living in Boston, MA

Living in Boston, a city renowned for its historical significance and cultural richness, offers a unique lifestyle. As a hub of education, healthcare, and business, Boston attracts a diverse population. 

However, one of the main considerations for anyone planning to move here is understanding the cost of living in Boston, which is known to be on the higher side compared to many other US cities. This article delves into the various expenses you’ll encounter living in Boston, providing a detailed picture for those considering making this vibrant city their home.

Boston’s charm lies in its blend of historical sites, modern skyscrapers, prestigious universities, and lush parks. But living in Boston, MA also means grappling with high living costs, which can be a crucial factor in decision-making for potential residents. 

From housing to healthcare, each aspect of life in the city has its own set of costs, and this article aims to offer an in-depth understanding of what it truly means to live in Boston financially.

Housing Costs in Boston

When it comes to housing, Boston’s market is as dynamic and varied as the city itself. The cost of purchasing a home in Boston is a significant financial commitment. As of the latest data, the median purchase price for a single-family home in Boston proper hovers around $644,000. 

This is comparable to other major US cities but significantly higher than the national median. For those looking at the suburbs, prices remain high, reflecting the desirability of the Greater Boston area.

Renting in Boston is also a costly affair. A furnished 900 sqft apartment in an expensive area can cost about $5,025 monthly. Even in more affordable neighborhoods, rent for a similar apartment is around $3,461. 

It’s crucial for anyone considering living in Boston to factor in these substantial housing costs. Whether buying or renting, the housing market in Boston demands a considerable portion of one’s income, making it a critical factor to consider for both families and single individuals.

For students or young professionals, living in Boston, MA, might involve sharing apartments to mitigate these high rental costs. The housing expenses also play a significant role in the overall cost of living in Boston for a single person, which can be considerably higher than living in smaller towns or cities. 

Potential residents should prepare for these high housing costs, which significantly contribute to the overall living expenses in Boston.

Food and Dining in Boston

Food expenses in Boston reflect the city’s status as a culinary hotspot. The cost of groceries is approximately 24% higher than the national average, making Boston one of the more expensive places in the US for everyday food items. 

For example, a basic lunchtime menu in the business district costs around $23, while a combo meal in a fast-food restaurant is about $12. Regular grocery items like chicken breast, milk, eggs, and cheese also come with a higher price tag compared to other areas.

Dining out in Boston offers a range of experiences, from high-end restaurants to casual eateries. The prices for a meal out vary significantly based on the type of establishment. One can expect to pay between $15 and $40 per person, aligning Boston with other expensive cities like New York and San Francisco. 

These costs don’t include sales taxes, which in Boston apply to restaurant meals, adding 6.25% to the total bill. For those living in Boston, these dining costs need to be factored into their monthly budget, especially if they enjoy exploring the city’s diverse culinary scene.

For residents, managing food costs involves a mix of dining out and cooking at home. Boston’s numerous farmers’ markets and local grocery stores offer fresher, albeit sometimes pricier, alternatives to supermarket chains. Balancing these options is key to managing the overall food-related expenses while living in Boston.

Transportation Expenses in Boston

Transportation in Boston is an integral part of daily life and contributes significantly to the cost of living. The city’s public transportation system, managed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), includes buses, subways, commuter rails, and ferries. 

A regular monthly MBTA pass costs about $90, providing unlimited travel and is a cost-effective option for daily commuters. Single one-way tickets for local transport are priced at $2.40, making public transport a viable and affordable option for residents.

For those who prefer driving, it’s important to consider costs such as gasoline, which averages around $3.67 per gallon, and parking and maintenance. Parking in Boston can be challenging and expensive, with monthly garage parking varying from $135 to $530 depending on the neighborhood. 

The cost of purchasing a vehicle also adds to the overall expenses, with prices for popular models like the Toyota Corolla averaging around $21,733. These factors make owning a car in Boston a more expensive option compared to using public transportation.

For daily commuters, the bus cost in Boston is another critical aspect to consider. While the MBTA offers a comprehensive network covering most areas of the city, it’s important to plan for these costs as part of the monthly budget. 

The affordability and convenience of Boston’s public transportation system often make it a preferred choice for residents, especially given the city’s dense layout and traffic conditions.

Utilities and Internet Costs in Boston

Monthly utility costs in Boston can vary, but on average, residents can expect to pay around $225.58 for basic utilities like electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a standard 915 sqft apartment. 

These costs are influenced by factors like apartment size, energy efficiency, and seasonal changes. Additionally, internet services and mobile phone plans are necessary expenses for most residents. 

A typical internet plan with 60 Mbps speed and unlimited data costs about $70.85 per month, while mobile phone plans with substantial data can add $60 per month to living expenses.

For individuals living in Boston, managing utility costs involves careful usage and selecting appropriate service plans. Energy-efficient appliances, mindful heating and cooling practices, and choosing internet and mobile plans that match usage needs can help in reducing these monthly expenses.

Healthcare Costs in Boston

Healthcare in Boston is known for its high quality, with numerous top-rated hospitals and medical institutions. However, this also translates to higher healthcare costs for residents. Health insurance premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, and costs for specialized medical services can be significant. 

While specific figures for average healthcare costs in Boston are not provided in the sources, it is safe to assume that they are higher than many other parts of the country, in line with the city’s overall high cost of living.

Residents living in Boston should consider these healthcare costs, especially if they have specific medical needs or require regular treatments. Having a robust health insurance plan is crucial to manage these expenses effectively.

Education Costs in Boston

Education is a major draw for living in Boston, home to prestigious institutions like Boston University. However, the cost of education here is substantial. The cost of attending Boston University includes tuition, fees, and living expenses, which can amount to a significant yearly expense. For families, childcare and preschool costs are also considerable, with average monthly fees for preschool around $2,340 per child.

For students and families considering moving to Boston for education, it’s essential to plan for these expenses. Scholarships, financial aid, and part-time work can help offset some of the costs of higher education in Boston.

Leisure and Entertainment Expenses in Boston 

The city offers a wide array of activities, from cultural events to outdoor activities. For fitness enthusiasts, a monthly membership at a fitness club averages around $117.50. Sports fans can enjoy various activities, with costs like tennis court rentals averaging $40 per hour. Boston’s rich cultural scene includes cinemas and theaters, with movie tickets typically costing around $16. 

These leisure activities, while enriching, add to the monthly expenses of living in Boston.

Entertainment and leisure are essential for a balanced lifestyle, especially in a bustling city like Boston. 

Residents often indulge in the city’s vibrant arts scene, sports events, and various festivals. While these contribute to a higher quality of life, they also need to be budgeted for when calculating the overall cost of living in Boston.

Clothing and Personal Expenses in Boston

The cost of clothing and personal expenses in Boston is generally in line with other major cities. With a range of shopping options from high-end boutiques to affordable retail chains, residents have diverse choices for their clothing needs. 

However, these costs can add up quickly, especially for those who follow the latest fashion trends or require specific attire for work or social events. Personal care items, too, contribute to monthly expenses, though prices vary widely based on brand and quality preferences.

For those living in Boston, it’s important to budget for these expenses, considering their impact on overall living costs. Shopping during sales, opting for budget-friendly brands, or even exploring second-hand options can help manage these costs effectively.

Taxes and Financial Services in Boston

Boston residents face a range of taxes, including state and local taxes. Massachusetts has the 9th highest state tax rate in the US, impacting the overall financial planning of residents. Financial services in Boston are plentiful, offering residents options for managing their finances, from savings and investments to loans and insurance.

Understanding and effectively managing taxes and financial services are crucial for anyone living in Boston. It’s advisable to seek professional financial advice to navigate these aspects, ensuring a stable financial footing in the city.

Safety and Crime Rates in Boston

Safety and crime are important considerations for anyone living in a city. Boston’s overall crime rate is 2.20%, with a property crime rate of 1.65% and a violent crime rate of 0.55%. While these figures suggest that Boston is relatively safe compared to other major cities, residents need to be aware of their surroundings and take standard precautions.

Living in Boston, MA provides a sense of security to its residents due to the city’s robust law enforcement and community safety programs. However, like any major city, being vigilant and informed about safety measures enhances one’s living experience.

Employment and Income in Boston

Employment opportunities and income levels in Boston are significant factors contributing to its appeal. The average salary in Boston is around $74,878 per year, with a median household income of $76,298. These figures reflect the city’s strong job market, particularly in sectors like technology, healthcare, education, and finance.

For those considering living in Boston, understanding the job market and potential income levels is crucial. While the high cost of living is a factor, the city’s dynamic job market offers opportunities for career growth and financial stability.

Cost of Living for a Single Person in Boston

For a single person living in Boston, managing expenses can be a challenging yet manageable task. The cost of living for a single person includes rent, which averages around $3,461 for a 900 sqft apartment in a normal area, to $5,025 in a more expensive part of the city. Adding to this are the costs of utilities, food, and transportation, which can bring the total monthly expenses to a significant amount.

In addition to the basic living costs, a single person in Boston should also budget for personal expenses, entertainment, and healthcare. This includes costs for outings, dining, fitness, and occasional travel within or outside the city. 

The total cost can vary greatly depending on lifestyle choices, but it’s clear that living in Boston requires careful financial planning, especially for those living alone. The cost of living in Boston for a single person demands a balance between enjoying the city’s amenities and maintaining a sustainable budget.


Living in Boston, a city steeped in history and brimming with cultural and academic richness, presents a unique and desirable lifestyle. 

However, this comes with the caveat of a high cost of living, encompassing significant expenses in housing, food, transportation, and leisure activities. Despite these financial considerations, Boston moving experts have noted an increasing trend of people relocating to the city, drawn by its numerous advantages.

The allure of Boston is multifaceted. It offers world-class educational institutions, including Boston University, leading healthcare facilities, and a robust job market, particularly in sectors like technology, finance, and healthcare. 

The city’s rich cultural tapestry, from its historical landmarks to its vibrant arts and dining scene, further adds to its appeal. These pros are compelling reasons why individuals and families are choosing to make Boston their home, despite the higher living expenses.

The decision to move to Boston requires balancing the high cost of living with the benefits the city offers. For those who can navigate the financial landscape, living in Boston, MA, is a rewarding experience. 

The city’s vibrant lifestyle, combined with its educational and professional opportunities, make it a magnet for those seeking a dynamic urban life. As Boston continues to attract new residents, it stands as a testament to the city’s enduring appeal, outweighing the challenges of its cost of living. 

For more detailed information about living in Boston, the aforementioned sources provide extensive insights into various aspects of life and expenses in the city.

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