Average Cost of Living in Chicago

Although the cost of living in Chicago can be high, it's still more affordable than other major metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles or Washington, D.C. Read on to discover the average cost of living in Chicago.

Melissa Veseli

Data Scientist

Blerina Miftari

Sr. Content Editor

Last Updated: 22.02.2023

Key Takeaways: February 2023 Data

Section 01

Average Cost of Housing

Section 02

Average Cost of Transportation

Section 03

Average Cost of Utilities

Section 04

Average Cost of Groceries

Section 05

Average Cost of Healthcare and Taxes

Section 06

Average Cost of Living for Students
Section 01

Average Cost of Housing

In this section, we present the latest trends and facts about housing in Chicago, which is 60% more costly than the average in the United States.

Despite being 52.9 percent higher than the national average, housing costs in this area are experiencing a decline in the real estate market.

This figure is 8.8 lower than last year's average.

At present, there is a slight rise in rent prices in Chicago.

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment has increased by 12 percent, with a monthly cost of $2,000.

The price of two-bedroom apartments has increased by nine percent.

This is an average monthly cost of $2,622.

The median price for homes in Chicago is $370,000.

It has increased by 4.2 percent compared to the previous year.

On average, homes in this area tend to stay on the market for a longer period of time compared to other major cities, with an average of around 54 days.

In pricier neighborhoods of Chicago, such as Fulton Market, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $2,850.  

Hyde Park has an average monthly rent of $2,715.

River North offers all the glitz without significantly raising the average rent, with an average monthly rent of $1,900 for a one-bedroom apartment.  

As of January 2023, the median listed home price in Chicago, IL was $330K, remaining flat compared to the previous year.

There are currently 10,362 homes available for sale, with prices ranging from $1 to $30M.

The median listed home price per square foot was $232.

The median price of homes sold was $295K.  

Section 02

Average Cost of Transportation

Chicago's transportation costs are 8% higher than the national average. Here are some details on the average cost of transportation in the city.

Chicago's transportation costs are 33.7% higher than the national average.

As a single adult in Chicago, you can expect to spend around $5,305 per year on transportation.

For a family of three with two working adults and a child, the transportation cost will increase to $7,809 per year.

In Chicago, you can expect to pay $4.13 per gallon for gas, which will contribute to your overall transportation costs.

A local monthly pass for transportation in Chicago typically costs around $75 per month.

Alternatively, you can pay $2.50 for a single one-way trip on the L in Chicago.

The L train to O'Hare costs a full fare of $5.

The cost of an unlimited monthly pass for Metra Rail varies depending on the daily route, ranging from $116 to $239.

Public transit is a convenient choice for many Chicago residents, as the city boasts the second-largest transportation system in the country.

Approximately 30% of people in Chicago choose to use public transportation instead of owning a car.

If you want to drive, you need to pay the Wheel Tax, which is a distinctive fee found only in Chicago.

To settle the tax, you must acquire a Chicago City Vehicle Sticker, which may cost anywhere from $90.88 and up.

It can cost up to $144.44 depending on the size of your vehicle.

For a distance of 5 miles traveled by taxi, the fare would be around $20.

However, if you choose a medium-sized van or SUV, the cost would be $136.54.

At $2.67, the average gas price in the country is nearly 28% less than the rate in this city, which is higher than other cities in America.

On average, commuting by car takes 40 minutes.

As per the 2019 North American Parking Index, Chicago is ranked second in the country for having the highest off-street parking rates for a duration of two hours.

The average cost of parking for two hours is $21.18.

In contrast, the corresponding figure in New York City is $37.07.

Section 03

Average Cost of Utilities

In this section, you will learn that your utility expenses while living in Chicago need not be excessively high.

The cost of utilities in Chicago is approximately 7% less than the national average, in general.

The average cost for basic electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a 915 square foot apartment is around $150 per month.

The cost of internet service in Chicago is typically around $64 per month, exceeding the national average.

This is because Chicago puts a 9% tax on streaming services.  

The tax rate imposed on cellular plans is 43%, which is one of the highest rates in the country.

In Chicago, the average cost of a basic utility bill, covering electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for an apartment, is approximately $238.69 per month.

An estimated energy bill of about $156.96 can be anticipated.

The cost of utilities such as electricity, water, gas, and internet is nearly $25 lower per month in Chicago compared to New York City, and a significant $118 lower per month compared to San Francisco.  

Expatistan reports that utilities for a two-person household in an 85 square meter apartment cost around $190 per month.

For a 45 square meter studio apartment, a single individual should anticipate paying approximately $110 per month for utilities.

Section 04

Average Cost of Groceries

If you want to have a clearer understanding of the possible costs of the essential items in Chicago, then start reading the section below.

You can expect to pay around $15 for a meal at an economical restaurant.

You would need to spend roughly $72 for a three-course meal at a moderately-priced restaurant.

Chicago imposes an additional 0.5% tax on restaurants.

The cost of groceries in Chicago is comparable to that of other Midwestern cities like Minneapolis, with an average monthly expense of approximately $300.  

According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, an individual who works full-time and prepares their own meals and snacks can expect to spend approximately $3,423 annually on food.

In Chicago, a loaf of bread costs $3.74.  

A dozen eggs are priced at $2.35.

At a mid-priced restaurant, a meal for two individuals would cost approximately $80.

Expatistan estimates that having lunch with a drink in the business district would cost around $13.

You can expect to pay approximately $8 for a Big Mac meal.  

The cost of one pound of boneless chicken breast is approximately $4.29.

In terms of pricing, two pounds of potatoes come to approximately $1.50.

A pound of rice costs around $1.20.

Chicago already has a high 10.25% sales tax.  

Section 05

Average Cost of Healthcare and Taxes

One of the most important aspects to a good quality of life is good healthcare. Some areas have more affordability and availability of healthcare options than others, and depending on your specific needs, you may need to prioritize moving to areas with lower healthcare costs.

According to estimates, healthcare will cost $2,715 per year for a single full-time working adult.

In addition, healthcare will cost $7,778 per year for a family of three.

In general, healthcare costs in Chicago are 21 percent higher than the average cost across the country.

This is a 23.4 percent increase over last year.  

A doctor's visit in Chicago is $181.50 on average.

A trip to the dentist, on the other hand, costs $137.50 on average (without insurance).

The average price of ibuprofen at your local pharmacy is $10.10.

Illinois is one of only 13 states that taxes groceries.  

However, in the spring of 2022, the state's 1% tax on groceries was temporarily suspended.

Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the nation.

The average statewide effective property tax rate is 2.27%.

This is significantly higher than the national average.  

Illinois has a flat income tax of 4.95%.

Currently, the combined sales tax rate for Chicago is 10.25%.

Locals pay the highest combined tax rate in the country.

The price of a laptop with a $1,000 price tag will be $1,102.50 with taxes.  

Section 06

Average Cost of Living for Students

As a student, you may be wondering about the cost of living in Chicago. International students may be particularly interested in tuition and housing costs. Keep reading to learn more about the cost of living in Chicago for students.

A family would typically spend around $3080, while a student would spend $1470. For a single person or bachelor, the average cost of living is approximately $1350.

The University of Illinois charges varying tuition fees for different degree programs. Pursuing a 4-year degree can cost anywhere from $80,000 to $260,000, whereas a 2-year degree program may cost between $38,000 and $130,000.

On the other hand, on average, the cost of studying at the University of Chicago is approximately $63,000.

The Illinois Institute of Technology has an average tuition rate of approximately $50,000.  

For a single person, the estimated monthly cost of living in Chicago for students falls within the range of $2,075 to $2,107 approximately.

The typical cost of living for students in Chicago for renting a one-bedroom apartment averages at $1,104.

A two-bedroom apartment in Chicago has an average rental cost of $1,917.

The typical rental cost for a three-bedroom apartment in Chicago averages at $2,533.

A studio apartment in Chicago has an average rental price of $726 per month.

Depending on factors such as the location within the city and whether the living space is shared with roommates, the monthly rental cost in Chicago could range between $547 and $867.

Residing in an accommodation entails additional expenses for utilities.

The average cost of electricity is $0.15/kWh.  

The average cost of water is 0.04/gallon.

The average cost of internet is $50/month (fast).

For slow internet, the average cost is $30/month.

Heating and cooling expenses may vary based on the season and location within the city, but they generally do not exceed $100 per month for an individual residing in Chicago.