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Cost of Living in Cincinnati (2024) | Is Cincinnati Affordable?

Last Updated on: 7th September 2023, 07:38 am

Cincinnati is in Hamilton County, Ohio, and is the county seat of the area. Situated along the Ohio River, Cincinnati is known for its waterfront real estate, trendy food scene, and bustling business culture. Residents living in Cincinnati can enjoy popular attractions such as the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cincinnati Zoo and can cheer for major sports teams, including the Cincinnati Reds and the Cincinnati Bengals. All of these amazing attractions make Cincinnati a popular place to live, making it no surprise that the population of the city has grown nearly 5% in the past decade.

If you are thinking about moving to the area, then you may be curious about the cost of living in Cincinnati. You will be happy to know that Cincinnati is a very affordable place to live. In fact, it was recently listed by the U.S. government as having the lowest cost of living of any major metro city in the United States. It was also recognized by SmartAsset for being the most affordable U.S. city for renters living alone. This is everything you need to know about the cost of living in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Cincinnati Cost of Living Index

One way to better understand the Cincinnati, Ohio cost of living is to take a look at the Cost of Living Index. The Cost of Living Index, otherwise known as COLI, compares the everyday cost of goods and services in a given area to the national average. There are many factors that affect your cost of living, such as your household size, your neighborhood, and your lifestyle, but the COLI is a good place to start.

The Cincinnati Cost of Living Index is 92.2. This means that the average cost of living in Cincinnati is 7.8% more affordable than the national average of 100. The cost of groceries, housing, utilities, and healthcare fall under the national average, while the cost of transportation is slightly above the national average.

The Cost of Living Index in the state of Ohio is 91, meaning Cincinnati is only 1.2% more expensive than the state average.

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Is Cincinnati expensive? One way to answer this question is to take a look at the BLS Consumer Price Index. This report is conducted monthly and lists the prices that consumers pay when living in a city. Cincinnati is a part of the Midwest region.

In the Cincinnati area, prices have risen 0.3% over the past few months and 2.9% over the past year. Expenses such as food and beverages, housing, and medical care have all risen over the past few months, while expenses such as transportation, recreation, and energy have all declined.

Consumer Expenditure Survey

Another great way to assess the cost of living in Cincinnati, OH is to take a look at the Consumer Expenditure Survey. This survey is conducted by the Census Bureau and provides data on expenditures, income, and demographic characteristics of consumers in the country. According to the latest survey, Cincinnati households spent an average of $62,118 throughout the 2020/2021 calendar year. This is lower than any other region in the United States, aside from the Southern region. It is also lower than the national average of $64,187.

Here’s how the average household income in Cincinnati breaks down:

  • Housing: 32.3% ($20,055), compared to the U.S. average of $22,046
  • Transportation: 16.5% ($10,223), compared to the U.S. average $10,398
  • Food: 11.9% ($7,407) compared to the U.S. average of $7,803
  • Healthcare: 9.3% ($5,787) compared to the U.S. average of $5,316
  • Entertainment: 5.7% ($2,763) compared to the U.S. average of $1,249
  • Education: 1.7% ($1,051) compared to the U.S. average of $1,249

So, this Cincinnati cost of living comparison tells us that the cost of living in Cincinnati is well below the national average in most categories. The only area where expenses are above the national average is in the entertainment category.

Family Budget in Cincinnati

According to the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator, the salary needed to live in Cincinnati is $79,821 for a family of four with two kids and two adults. This comes out to $6,652 per month. Here’s a breakdown of this salary:

  • Child care: $1,332
  • Health care: $1,182
  • Transportation: $1,165
  • Housing: $916
  • Food: $759
  • Taxes: $690
  • Other necessities: $607

Of course, these numbers can go up or down depending on your specific lifestyle. For example, if you have no children, then you will obviously not have to worry about child care. Without children, you would only need to make $46,954 to live in Cincinnati. 

Cost of Household Items, Utilities, Gas & Groceries in Cincinnati

What is the cost of living in Cincinnati, Ohio? To answer this question, you need to consider the cost of household items, utilities, gas, and groceries. According to Numbeo, these are the prices of common expenses in Cincinnati.

  • Steak (1 pound): $6.21
  • Milk (1 gallon): $3.01
  • Eggs (1 dozen): $3.56
  • Potatoes (5 pounds): $5.75
  • Bread (1 loaf): $2.29
  • Beer (1 bottle): $4.00
  • Movie ticket: $12.25
  • McDonald’s meal: $8.00
  • Average cell phone bill: $41.67
  • Gas (1 gallon): $3.56

The average cost of Cincinnati utilities is $122.82 per month. This includes the average electric bill in Cincinnati as well as the average water bill in Cincinnati. If you drive a car, you will also need to pay the average car insurance price of $34 per month. If you prefer public transportation, then you can utilize the Go Metro bus system. You can buy a one-day bus pass for $4.00 or a 30-day pass starting at $80.00.

Cincinnati Housing Market

Are you thinking about purchasing Cincinnati real estate? You’ll be happy to know that the Cincinnati, OH real estate market is very affordable! According to Redfin, the Cincinnati average home price is $280,000. This is much lower than the national average of $422,137. Although the prices are cheap, you need to act fast when searching for Cincinnati homes for sale. Homes in Cincinnati only sit on the market for an average of 6 days, compared to 41 days last year.

Graph of the median sale price in Cincinnati, OH

Of course, the prices of Cincinnati, Ohio real estate will go up or down depending on the neighborhood you live in. There are many safe and family-friendly neighborhoods in Cincinnati. Some of the most popular areas include:

You can also check out these helpful posts to find the best place to live in Cincinnati for your lifestyle and budget:

Of the 160,420 housing units in Cincinnati, 62% are renter-occupied, and 38% are owner-occupied.

Cincinnati Rental Market

Are you looking for apartments for rent in Cincinnati, Ohio? According to RentCafe, the average rent in Cincinnati is $1,300 per month. Some of the most affordable neighborhoods to rent in include Queensgate ($729 per month), West End Cincinnati ($729 per month), and College Hill ($841 per month). The most expensive neighborhoods are Over the Rhine ($1,900 per month), Pendleton ($1,900), and Mount Auburn ($1,918).

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach Report, an average worker would need to earn an income of $21.02 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the city without spending more than 30% on rent. This comes out to about $43,720 per year. This is slightly more than the Ohio average of $19.09 per hour ($39,702 per year).

A good way to determine whether you should rent or buy Cincinnati real estate is to calculate the price-to-rent ratio. The higher the price-to-rent ratio, the better the area is for renters. To calculate the price-to-rent ratio, you need to divide the median annual rent by the median home price. For Cincinnati, the equation looks like this:

$280,000 / $15,600 = 17.94

This is a low price-to-rent ratio and supports the fact that Cincinnati is better for buyers. This is reflected in the 2022 Rental Affordability Report, where it is stated that it is more affordable to buy than to rent in Cincinnati.

Average Salary & Household Income in Cincinnati

According to the United States Census, the median household income in Cincinnati is $45,235. This is lower than the Ohio average of $61,938. According to PayScale, the average salary in Cincinnati is $72,000 per year.

If you are searching for jobs in Cincinnati, there are many great options to choose from. Cincinnati has the 28th largest economy in the United States and the 5th largest in the Midwest. There are several Fortune 500 companies that are headquartered in Cincinnati, including Procter & Gamble, The Kroger Company, and Fifth Third Bank.

Here are just a few of the most common jobs in Cincinnati, along with their average salaries:

  • Recreation Workers: $29,000
  • Data Entry Keyers: $38,150
  • Billing and Posting Clerks: $41,940
  • Health Education Specialists: $61,670
  • Postsecondary Education Teachers: $76,780
  • Medical Scientists: $102,810
  • Nurse Anesthetists: $189,460
  • Psychiatrists: $255,240
  • Neurologists: $617,100

According to the BLS, the unemployment rate in Cincinnati is 3.5%, which is down from 4.0% from last year.

Income, Sales & Property Taxes in Cincinnati

When calculating the cost of living in Cincinnati, you can’t forget about paying taxes. Cincinnati property tax is 11.47 mills for 2022, which was down from 12.52 mills in 2021. A mill is $1 for each $1,000 of assessed value. The Hamilton County Ohio Auditor is responsible for determining each property’s fair market value and using this value to calculate the property’s assessed value. To learn more about Hamilton County property taxes, check out our guide to the subject.

The Ohio income tax rate ranges between 2.850% and 4.797%. The amount you pay will depend on your taxable income as well as your residency status.

You will also have to pay sales tax, which is a consumption tax on the sale of goods and services. The Cincinnati sales tax rate is 7.800%. Here’s how this number breaks down:

    • Ohio State: 5.750%
    • Hamilton County: 2.050%
    • Cincinnati: 0.000%
  • Total: 7.800%

Ohio has the 20th highest sales tax rate in the country.

Cincinnati vs. Columbus Cost of Living

If you are thinking about moving to one of Ohio’s major cities, then you may also be considering Columbus. It is only about 107 miles from Columbus to Cincinnati. But what is the cost of living in Columbus? The Columbus Cost of Living Index is 91.5, meaning it is 8.5% less expensive than the national average and only 0.7% less expensive than Cincinnati. Overall, the two areas are very similar in price.

Here are a few comparisons of the cost of living in Cincinnati vs. Columbus:

  • Average home price: $280,000 in Cincinnati vs. $285,000 in Columbus
  • Average salary: $72,000 in Cincinnati vs. $72,000 in Columbus
  • Average rent: $1,300 in Cincinnati vs. $1,183 in Columbus
  • Average monthly expenses: $6,652 in Cincinnati vs. $6,743 in Columbus

Overall, Cincinnati is a very affordable place to live. The low housing costs and monthly expenses keep the Cincinnati cost of living lower than many other major cities in the Midwest. If you are ready to call Cincinnati home, then let the experts at Bell Moving help you! As the best Cincinnati movers, we will do everything we can to make your move simple and stress-free. Give us a call today at 513-942-7500 to receive a free quote.


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