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Cost of Living in Atlanta, GA 2022

April 25, 2022

Living in Atlanta comes with mild winters, award-winning restaurants and nightlife, and a growing economy. Although the cost of living in Atlanta is less expensive than in areas like New York, San Francisco, and Boston, there are still expenses to consider.

Learn more about Atlanta's cost of living and what to expect when moving to Atlanta.

Atlanta Housing Costs

Your Atlanta cost of living is largely contingent on how much you spend on housing. Atlanta prices are on the rise, though rents are still reasonable compared to other major cities.

According to our Rent Report, rent in Atlanta is up by 16.2% year-over-year.. However, they’re less expensive than metropolises like New York City. The median rent on a one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta runs $1,394 and a two-bedroom at $1,403.

Where you choose to live can dramatically impact your cost of living in Atlanta. The best Atlanta neighborhoods, like Buckhead, which are known for their amenities, safety, and quality schools will be more expensive than an apartment in a less exciting area.

Home prices are also reasonable around the Atlanta area. Although you can find multi-million dollar properties, the median home prices in Atlanta are around $396,000. The city’s home pricing index also makes it easier for renters to make the transition if homeownership is on their minds.

Atlanta Transportation Costs

Atlanta is primarily a driving city, despite improvements in public transit and walkability. Traffic also isn't for the faint of heart around Atlanta, with many west coasters feeling like they're right back in Los Angeles.

A study by INRIX shows Atlanta is the 10th most congested city in the country. It’s also the 47th most congested city in the world.

Despite all the heavy traffic, the city's current walk score is 48. They also have a transit score of 44 and a bike score of 42.

It's also possible to live in areas around Atlanta like Old Fourth Ward, Downtown, Midtown, or Buckhead and rely on a combination of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s (MARTA) train and bus service, as well as rideshares.

MARTA train transit isn't quite like New York City's transit system, where trains go everywhere. Instead, the trains tend to cut through the city from North, South, East, and West before you need to walk or switch to bus service.

Although using MARTA can lower your cost of living in Atlanta, it also means you’ll need to frequently switch from train to bus and adding your commute time.

A standard MARTA fare is $2.50 with four free transfers within three hours. However, they aren't valid for round-trips.

The relatively new Atlanta Streetcar runs for just $1. It makes a 2.7-mile loop around downtown Atlanta.

It's a fun and easy way for locals and tourists to get around the downtown neighborhood. You can connect to the Streetcar from the Peachtree Center MARTA station. However, there are no free transfers between rail or bus.

How much you spend on transportation in Atlanta depends on how much driving you plan to do. According to MIT's Living Wage calculator, if you're single with no children, you can expect to pay $5,586 on transportation. If you're in a household with two adults and one child, the cost rises to $15,223.

Atlanta Food Costs

Atlanta is championed for its thriving food scene with trendy restaurants and James Beard Award-winning chefs. You're guaranteed to find something to satisfy your palate in Atlanta. There are high-end restaurants, casual eateries, food trucks, and even gourmet donut shops to choose from.

The average price for groceries can vary depending on your lifestyle. Overall, you'll spend $3,480 on food if you're single with no children. A family of two adults and one child can expect to spend at least $10,235 on food per year.

Eating out isn't terribly expensive. However, it can raise your Atlanta cost of living when considering the incredible restaurant options.

You should expect to pay $15 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant, or $65 for a three-course dinner for two people at a mid-range restaurant. Add on alcohol and multiple appetizers, and you'll quickly eat your way through your food budget each month.

Atlanta Healthcare Costs

Healthcare is a significant cost consideration when moving to Atlanta. We referenced MIT estimates that rely on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

A single, full-time employed adult in Atlanta should expect to pay $2,619 per year in Atlanta on their medical and healthcare costs. A family of two full-time working adults and a child will add up to $8,071 per year for healthcare costs.

The good news is, Atlanta has no shortage of clinics and hospitals. The city is home to premier hospitals like Emory University Hospital, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There’s usually no shortage of jobs in Atlanta's healthcare industry. Not to mention, it's easy to find a medical specialist to meet your needs.

Atlanta Utilities

Atlanta weather is relatively mild, though there are some dips and slight snow in the winter months, as well as heat and humidity in the summers. The results are reasonable apartment utilities that fluctuate depending on the season.

Atlanta utilities cost around $188.73 monthly. This total includes fuel bill, water bill, gas bill, and electricity bill costs. You'll need to add an additional $67.79 (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) for the internet.

Fitness and Entertainment

Atlanta received the nickname “City of Trees” for its plentiful outdoor spaces. The best place to start a good workout is jogging, rollerblading, and walking year-round in public parks and areas like the Beltline.

The former railway corridor turned multi-use trail is a beacon for exercise enthusiasts looking for some fresh air or pop-up fitness classes.

If you prefer a gym with more variety, workout equipment, and classes to choose from, plan to spend at least $38.24 for one adult. To compare, gym membership in Dallas runs $37.87 a month. You may be able to find an apartment in Atlanta with an on-site fitness center or set up a home gym in your apartment to save money.

Other Expenses to Consider in Atlanta

Taxes can also make an impact on the cost of living in Atlanta. The city has a sales tax rate of 8.90%.

That figure breaks down to 7% for either Dekalb or Fulton county in Atlanta and 1.9% tax for Atlanta. The income tax rate in Georgia ranges from 1% to 5.75%, with top earners paying the highest rates.

What Salary Do I Need to Live in Atlanta?

Getting a breakdown of how much it costs to live in Atlanta is helpful. However, you still need an idea of the recommended salary to live in Georgia's capital city.

The average monthly salary pre-tax in Atlanta runs $3,570. However, you can undoubtedly earn less and still find an apartment while living a reasonable yet frugal lifestyle. But what if you want to live happily in Atlanta?

According to research from GoBankingRates, you'll need an annual salary of at least $121,170 to be happy in Atlanta. However, they suggest just $69,240 to $86,550 annually for emotional well-being.

The same study says you need $219,765 to be happy living in New York and $190,680 in Boston. A close runner-up to Atlanta is Chicago, where you need $123,690 annually to feel the happy vibes.

So how do those happiness salaries break down when considering median rent prices and the cost of living in Atlanta? As a general rule of thumb, it's wise not to exceed 30% of your monthly income on rent.

Some cities, like New York, make sticking to that 30% rule nearly impossible. However, Atlanta is doable in comparison.

We found that the median rent of a one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta runs $1,394. So, your salary should be at least $4,645 a month, or $55,760 per year.

That number is lower than the happiness standard GoBankingRates suggests. However, it proves you can manage the cost of living in Atlanta.

Regardless of where your salary lies, shoot for a happy medium that allows flexibility while keeping rent affordable.

You can also use our rent calculator to find the best apartments for rent to meet your budget.

Final Thoughts

Atlanta's affordability, entertainment options, and year-round recreational opportunities make it a comfortable place to live, work, and play. With the right approach, you can find an apartment in Atlanta that meets your needs, whether you’re moving out of state or across town. Ready to find a new apartment? Get started on your Atlanta apartment search with Apartment List.

FAQs: What to Know About the Cost of Living in Atlanta

How expensive is an apartment in Atlanta?

Austin rents are steadily climbing. A one bedroom in Atlanta costs $1,394, and a two bedroom costs $1,403.

What is the cheapest rent in Atlanta?

Currently, the cheapest rent in Atlanta for a one-bedroom apartment. You’ll pay an average of $1,394, on rent.

How expensive is it to live in Atlanta?

The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Atlanta is $1,394. Public transportation fares start at $2.50 for a day pass with monthly rates available. Food costs about $3,177 a year in Austin, which includes meals and snacks. Eating out will cost an average of $16.50 for a meal at a low-cost restaurant for a single entree, or $60 for two at a mid-range restaurant.

How far is Atlanta from Savannah?

Atlanta to Savannah is 248.1 miles via I-16 W and I-75 N. It takes about 4 hours and 12 minutes to drive from Atlanta to Savannah. Bus service and flights are also available.

How far is Atlanta from Nashville?

Atlanta to Nashville is 248.2 miles via I-24 E and I-75 S. It takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes to drive from Atlanta to Nashville. Bus service and flights are also available.

How far is Atlanta from Augusta?

The distance between Atlanta and Augusta is 145.7 miles via I-20 W. It takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to drive between Atlanta and Augusta.

How far is Atlanta from Orlando?

Atlanta to Orlando is 437.8 miles via I-75 N and takes about 6 hours and 45 minutes to drive. You can also fly from Atlanta to Orlando. The flight time is about 3 hours and 25 minutes.

What is the population of Atlanta?

According to the US Census Bureau, the population of Atlanta was 1,304,379 in 2020. The entire population of the state of Georgia is 10,711,908.

What is a good salary in Atlanta?

The Census Bureau reports that the average salary for Atlanta residents is $54,747. However, to stick to the rule of spending only 30% on your monthly income on rent, you will need an income of $55,760 to live comfortably in a one bedroom apartment.

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Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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