The Cost of Living in Philadelphia – How Affordable Is Philly?
Is it always sunny in Philadelphia, the town of brotherly love? The largest town in the state of Pennsylvania became known worldwide due to the title of the longest-running sitcom, but how sunny can it be when we look at the cost of living in Philadelphia?
It sure isn’t as expensive as New York, but what is expensive for one person does not necessarily have to be for someone else. We are going to show the real costs, compare them to other cities, and leave it up to you to determine whether you can really afford it.
Do not forget that it’s all about the context. Life in a large, coastal metropolis can never be as cheap as living in a provincial, rural community, but moving to the countryside is not so popular nowadays as moving to a big city. And it is not just about the costs of bare necessities and groceries. Bigger cities offer more opportunities, new things, and services – and they can cost a lot.
The Main Categories of the Cost of Living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Plenty of categories have to be taken into consideration when talking about the overall costs of city life. As in most large cities, housing is the most expensive item on the list, but that does not have to mean that other expenses are not equally important. So we decided to cover a few of the main categories of things on which we spend the majority of our money on a monthly level, including fees. Take a look at the data, and check if you can afford to live in Philly.
Costs of Renting and Housing in Philadelphia in 2020
Many people believe that buying a property in a big town is an investment they cannot afford. Well, that is because they have not discovered the market in Philly. The majority of residents live in their own homes, and they were able to achieve that because, until recently, the expenses of housing in Philly were really affordable. And they are still, but the prices are slowly going up, so prepare a calculator, and do the math.
In comparison to cities like NY or San Francisco, properties in Philly can be considered affordable. So if you are looking to settle down, the situation is still very favorable for purchasing a property. For example, the median price for a home is $449,365, and one-bedroom ones are the cheapest, at around $287,000. Meanwhile, a three-bedroom home can be found for $325,000.
If you are looking to rent a property, the costs can vary from $1,200 for a one-bedroom house to $1,400 per month for a three-bedroom property. Larger places with four and five rooms are more expensive, and they can be rented for $1,650 and more. If you’re moving alone to another state, you can always find a roommate and cut costs significantly and avoid relocation depression.
How Much Does the Food Cost?
If we assume that you only eat food you prepare at home, then the usual daily amount you spend on food would be around $12,20, which is slightly higher than the US average, 1,5% to be precise. That is, if you only buy groceries and cook on a daily level. But if you go out to eat, you can easily spend at least $12 for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, and the price goes up for the best restaurants in Philadelphia. A cup of cappuccino is $3.77, while a pint of domestic beer is $5 at a restaurant.
The town’s trademark dish, the cheesesteak, can cost you $9, a carton of eggs $2, while a gallon of milk is around $4. For a loaf of bread, you will have to pay $3, 1 pound of apples is around $3, while bananas are $0.69. Chicken breasts are $4, while beef is around $6 per pound.
Gas costs around $3 per gallon, an average phone bill is about $222, and the energy bill is $208. An appointment at the dentist’s office will be roughly said $100. Overall, the prices in Philly are 16% above the US average, but the calculator of expenses shows that life there is still affordable, and the price tags are not over the top crazy.
How High Are Taxes in Philly and Pennsylvania in 2020?
Surprisingly, Philly has an incredibly low tax rate index, and the average effective property tax rate is 0.98%. On the other hand, in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County, the rate is 2.08%. Philly also has a 6% flat tax income rate, which is excellent news for those who prefer a flat system. Currently, only eight states use the flat income system, and Philly is leading with the lowest possible rates.
On top of that 6%, you will have to pay a local earned income tax, which is 3.924%. Sales tax is 6% in entire Pennsylvania, but Philly has an additional 2%, which puts it in the range of NY, where the sales tax rate is 8.875%. According to the index data and tax calculator, Chicago is still high in the first place, with a rate of 10.25%.
How Much Money Do You Need for Comfortable Living?
This is another important, yet relative question. It is not the same if you are a single person or if you have a family, whether you’re looking to live in the city center, or you do not mind moving to the suburbs area. If you’re having trouble figuring out a sound budgeting strategy, you should consider the famous 50-30-20 rule. It implies that you should spend 50% of your earnings on bare necessities, 30% is reserved for your personal spending, and the rest of 20% is for saving.
Real median household income in Philly is significantly higher than the median income in entire Pennsylvania but lower than the US average. Although the average income in Philly varies from one area of town to another, you do not need a calculator to figure out that Philly is still a town with plenty of job opportunities and reasonable costs.
The Average Income in Philly and Other Towns in PA
Philly is the most populated town in PA, with 1,580,863 residents, followed by Pittsburgh and Allentown. So do not be surprised if the prices are higher in Philly than anywhere else in the state, considering the size and economic significance of this metropolis.
Even though Pittsburgh is the second most populated town in PA, it has significantly fewer residents than Philly, five times less to be precise, so make sure to keep all those things in mind when figuring out your priorities. Life in a bigger city comes with a price, but it also brings a lot of benefits and plenty of opportunities. In the chart below we are going to briefly summarize the main costs and average salaries in these three towns.
Prices in Comparison to Other Major Cities
Philly is close to some other big cities like New York City and Washington DC. The former has more residents than Philly, while the latter has two times less, so let’s check the expenses there and compare them to get the full picture.
Perhaps you can make more money in the Big Apple or the US capital, but check out the prices of housing and other categories. It is easy to get confused and tricked into thinking that Philly is so expensive when comparing it to significantly smaller towns in Pennsylvania. Hence, now we go beyond the borders of PA, to other states to inspect the real situation, keeping the same categories and prices for reference.
Is Philly a Good Place to Live In?
If you think that sunny Philly is the right place to settle down, spend the rest of your life or just a few years, congratulations, you have made the right choice. This town has a lot to offer, including a good education, well-connected public transportation, and there are plenty of exciting things to do in Philadelphia. Did we mention that Philly was the first capital of the US? That’s right, back in 1682 was the base of the Independence Hall and the first capital city.
- Living in Philly. If you are looking for the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia, we suggest Fairmount, Manayunk, Chestnut Hill, East Falls, Ardmore, and Fishtown. This town has more than 200 schools, and 59 of them earned a spot in the US News Best High School Ranking list. Public transportation offers a variety of options, there are buses, trolleys, and subways.
- Different things to do in Philly. The town has a lot to offer, starting with stunning architecture, culture, history, and local beer. It is widely known for its local specialty, cheesesteak, which you should definitely try out. Plenty of museums, theaters, parks, and art galleries can be found all around the town, so there is always something to do and somewhere to go if you decide to visit Philly.
- Moving to Philly. Philly is a great place for a fresh start in 2020, and it welcomes expats with open hands. If your job requires relocation to Philly, don’t be in doubt. Make sure you plan your moving budget thoroughly and to get enough boxes and packing supplies if you’re relocating on your own with the cheapest way to move out of state. Another option is to find reputable Philadelphia movers with professional moving and packing services. That can be an affordable option if you choose to relocate during the cheapest time of the year. There are plenty of job opportunities waiting for you, and although it has more than one million residents, Philly is still easy to get around, unlike some other urban jungles. If you’re considering getting auto transport services, be sure that you know how car shipping works.
How Sunny Philadelphia Really Is?
If you had any doubts about the prices and other financial matters, we hope they are all gone now, no need to feel anxious about moving out. When you take into consideration all the things this town has to offer, you will find out that it is not expensive at all. In fact, price tags can be considered reasonable – some things are perhaps slightly more expensive than in other places of similar size, but others are cheaper. If you do not want or cannot afford to pay high lease, you can move into a smaller home or search for a home outside the central area, where the prices are much lower. We do not have any doubts that you will manage to get around and find your spot under the sun in Philly.