What’s the cost of living in Massachusetts?

1 min readLast updated January 30, 2024by Charlie Barton

Wondering about the cost of living in Massachusetts? This article summarizes everything you need to know, from tax rates to healthcare costs.  

When considering a move to a new state, understanding the cost of living is vital for effective budgeting and financial planning. If you’re planning a move to Massachusetts, here are some current statistics related to the cost of living in the state that could help you make up your mind.

The average cost of living in Massachusetts 

Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the Northeastern United States and home to over 6.9 million people.   

Massachusetts is also home to one of the highest levels of cost of living in the country.  

While according to data gathered in 2022 from MERIC, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, the state ranks 49th in a list of states with the lowest to the highest cost of living. 

Housing costs in Massachusetts 

As of March 2023, the average home value in Massachusetts is estimated to be around $558,313, according to the Zillow Home Value Index as of March 2023.  

It’s important to note that housing prices can significantly differ across various regions within the state. Here are some examples of typical home prices based on Zillow's data: 

CityAverage Home Value
Boston $690,163
Worcester $375,287
Springfield $253,867
Lowell $415,183
Cambridge $909,958

The monthly rental price ranges across the state for those considering renting in Massachusetts. For example, in Boston, the average rent price is $3,758.   

Utility costs in Massachusetts 

Utility costs play a significant role in Massachusetts's overall cost of living. According to Forbes, the average monthly cost is around $440.  

UtilityAverage cost in Massachusetts
Energy bill $136.37
Monthly water bill $34
Internet $30
Natural gas $77
Phone bill $114
Streaming $49

Grocery and food costs in Massachusetts 

When it comes to groceries and food costs, Massachusetts generally aligns with prices found elsewhere in the United States.   

According to Zippia, those in Louisville pay over $406 on average each month. This is one of the highest grocery bills in the country.  

According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average spending on food at home is $5,259 annually, or about $438 per month for US households.   

Transportation costs in Massachusetts 

Transportation costs, including gas prices and vehicle maintenance, impact Massachusetts's overall cost of living.  

According to MIT, a single adult with no children can expect to pay upwards of $4,400. 

Gas prices in Massachusetts are typically in and around the national average. At the time of writing, Massachusetts was just below the national average. These prices fluctuate over time.   

It is also worth noting that prices can vary across different regions within the state.  

Healthcare costs in Massachusetts 

Understanding healthcare expenses is crucial when considering the cost of living.  

The specific healthcare costs in Massachusetts can vary depending on factors such as insurance coverage and individual circumstances. Therefore, it is advisable to research and consult with healthcare providers and insurance companies to obtain accurate cost estimates. 

MIT estimates:  

ScenarioAnnual healthcare expenditure
One adult, no children $3,508
One adult, one child $8,763
One adult, two children $8,773
Two adults (one working), no children $7,131
Two adults (one working), one child $8,773
Two adults (one working), two children $8,698
Two adults (two working), no children $7,131
Two adults (two working), one child $8,773
Two adults (two working), two children $8,698

Childcare costs in Massachusetts 

Families in Massachusetts currently pay around $17,687 per year for childcare for one child. This figure doubles for two children.   

However, it's important to note that this figure can vary across the state.  

Taxation in Massachusetts 

Massachusetts’s state income tax rate is a flat rate of 5%.  

Here's a comparison of income tax rates among some neighboring states:  

StateIncome Tax Rates
Massachusetts 5.00% (flat rate)
Connecticut 3.00% - 6.99% (progressive)
Rhode Island 3.75% - 5.99% (progressive)
New Hampshire No state income tax
Vermont 3.35% - 8.75% (progressive)
New York 4.00% - 8.82% (progressive)

Please note that the income tax rates for Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont are progressive, meaning they vary based on income brackets. Therefore, the rates provided are the range of rates for each state. 

The sales tax rate in Massachusetts is 6.25%. However, some cities and towns in Massachusetts have adopted an additional local option sales tax, ranging from 0.75% to 2%, depending on the location. Therefore, Massachusetts's total sales tax rate can vary between 6.25% and 8.25%, depending on the local tax rate in a specific area.  

The bottom line 

The amount of money needed to live comfortably in Massachusetts can vary depending on location, lifestyle, family size, and personal preferences. However, as the most expensive state in the US, you may need more than you first think. 

It's essential to consider these factors, along with personal circumstances and preferences, when evaluating the cost of living in Massachusetts. In addition, consulting with a financial advisor can provide valuable insights and assistance in managing expenses and financial planning. 

Whether you’re retirement planning or considering relocating to chase a new career, Unbiased can assist you with your move's financial ins and outs. Find the right advisor for your needs today. 


Charlie Barton

Charlie Barton is a writer at Unbiased. He has been writing about personal finance and investing since 2017, with extensive knowledge of platforms and products. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics.