What’s the cost of living in Pennsylvania?

1 min readLast updated June 27, 2023by Rachel Carey

Wondering about the cost of living in Pennsylvania? 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 Pennsylvania is at the top of your list, 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 Pennsylvania 

Nearly 13 million people call Pennsylvania home.  

According to data gathered in 2022 from MERIC, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, the state ranks 27th in a list of states with the lowest to the highest cost of living. 

While to the Bureau of Economic Analysis 2021 Personal Consumption Expenditures, data shows that Pennsylvania's average cost of living is $49,040 per year.  

Housing costs in Pennsylvania 

As of March 2023, the average home value in Pennsylvania is estimated to be around $243,859, 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
Philadelphia $218,435
Pittsburgh $224,478
Allentown $257,162
Erie $163,947
Reading $221,397

The average price of rental apartments nationwide is $1,702. In Pennsylvania, the average rent for an apartment in Philadelphia is $1,896. 

Utility costs in Pennsylvania 

Utility costs play a significant role in Pennsylvania's overall cost of living. According to Forbes, the average monthly cost is around $443.  

UtilityAverage cost in Pennsylvania
Energy bill $117.11
Monthly water bill $31
Internet $30
Natural gas $103
Phone bill $114
Streaming $48

Grocery and food costs in Pennsylvania 

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

According to Zippia, those in Philadelphia pay $401 on average each month.   

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 Pennsylvania 

Transportation costs, including gas prices and vehicle maintenance, impact Pennsylvania'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 Pennsylvania are typically in and around the national average. Pennsylvania was above the national average at the time of writing. These prices fluctuate over time.   

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

Healthcare costs in Pennsylvania 

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

The specific healthcare costs in Pennsylvania 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 $3,178
One adult, one child $9,501
One adult, two children $9,511
Two adults (one working), no children $7,023
Two adults (one working), one child $9,511
Two adults (one working), two children $9,437
Two adults (two working), no children $7,023
Two adults (two working), one child $9,511
Two adults (two working), two children $9,437

Childcare costs in Pennsylvania 

Families in Pennsylvania currently pay around $9,532 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 Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania’s state income tax is a flat rate of 3.07%. 

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

StateIncome Tax Rates
Pennsylvania 3.07% flat rate
New York 4.00% - 8.82% (progressive tax brackets)
New Jersey 1.40% - 10.75% (progressive tax brackets)
Delaware No state income tax
Maryland 2.00% - 5.75% (progressive tax brackets)

The state sales tax rate in Pennsylvania is 6%. However, it's important to note that additional local sales taxes can be imposed by individual municipalities, which can vary. Pennsylvania's local sales tax rates can range from 0% to 2%, depending on the specific location. Therefore, Pennsylvania's total sales tax rate can be higher than the state rate of 6% due to the inclusion of local taxes. 

The bottom line 

The amount of money needed to live comfortably in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania. 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. 

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.