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Cost of Living in Cleveland, OH 2023

April 24, 2023
Are you thinking of moving to Cleveland but not sure what the cost of living is really like? We did all the research for you to make your decision easy.

Situated on the banks of Lake Erie, Cleveland is known for its vibrant art and culture scene, musical history, healthcare industry, and loyal sports fans. Its downtown is undergoing a resurgence, with surrounding neighborhoods boasting award-winning restaurants, pubs, and music venues. Living in Cleveland also comes with an affordable price tag for all of the urban amenities it offers.

Cleveland isn't growing as fast as other urban areas, though the job market increased by 1.0% over the last year. The next decade is predicted to see a job market rise of 21.4%, which is lower than the US average of 33.5%. Depending on who you ask, the rate of growth is just right. You can still live an affordable lifestyle and find more apartment options in Cleveland's trendiest neighborhoods, especially compared to areas like Chicago.

If you're unsure how to figure out Cleveland's cost of living, don't worry, we did all the research for you. Here's a convenient guide outlining the costs to help you figure out whether or not moving to Cleveland is the right choice for you and your finances.

Cleveland Housing Costs

Housing costs and rent will probably account for your most significant expenses when determining the cost of living in Cleveland. Although Cleveland is the third-largest third largest city in Ohio, it's among one of the cheapest metropolitan areas to live in.

According to our Apartment List Renter Migration Report, people are moving to Cleveland from Akron and Columbus. There are also residents moving from out of state, probably to flee the high cost of living in New York City. Newcomers find education opportunities at Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University. Major employers include Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Progressive Insurance, and the US Federal Government.

Despite Cleveland's slow and steady growth, the city's rents are still reasonable. Cleveland rents climbed over the past two years, but are now down 3.1% year-over-year. Currently, the average rent in Cleveland is $615 for a one-bedroom and $786 for a two-bedroom, which are steals compared to the rising rents in areas like Chicago and New York City. The city's year-over-year rents have fallen behind the state average of 5.4% growth and the national increase of 4.0%.

Finding the Best Cleveland Apartment for You

If you're uncertain about a neighborhood, consider a month-to-month apartment before making a long-term 12-month commitment. If it's your first time renting or if you don't have a high credit score, consider no credit check apartments. Lastly, if you prefer to rent from the owner of an apartment and have a more personal relationship with them rather than property managers, consider a for rent by owner apartment.

A street in downtown Cleveland Ohio's trendy Warehouse District, with the Justice Center rising behind

Cleveland Transportation

Cleveland is primarily a driving town. Single adults should expect to spend $5,305 on transportation annually. If you are a family of two full-time employed adults and a child, you will pay $14,456 a year to get around town.

Cleveland's public transportation system is another option if you want to reduce your reliance on a car. The RTA also connects the city with rail, bus trolley, and Park & Ride opportunities. One-way cash fares start at $2.50, with pre-paid options available for $95 per month. The Cleveland Metroparks system also offers extensive paths for biking, jogging, and taking a stroll.

Cleveland Food Costs

According to the MIT estimates, a single full-time employed adult living in Cleveland that cooks their meals (including snacks) will spend approximately $3,423 per year on food. A family of four with two working adults and two children will spend $10,068.

Cleveland is known for its "foodie-friendliness" and authentic Pierogies, Polish Boys, and paczki introduced by its long-standing generations of Eastern European immigrants. To make the most of Cleveland's food scene, expect to spend $13 for an inexpensive meal without appetizers and alcohol. Having dinner for two people at a mid-range restaurant will cost you $75 on average, not including tip.


Cleveland Healthcare Costs

Healthcare will also take up a significant portion of your budget in Cleveland. MIT uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to determine the typical health expenditure for a single full-time working adult in Cleveland is $2,637 per year. A family of two adults and two children will increase up to $6,921 per year.

Cleveland Utilities

A basic utility bill, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a 915 sq ft apartment, averages $191.73 a month. You'll also need to get connected in Cleveland. The average utility bill plus Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) will increase the total monthly cost of utilities by approximately $69.44, totaling $261.17 a month. Remember to factor in a utility spike during winter months to stay warm on snowy days.

Fitness and Entertainment

If you enjoy staying fit, prepare to shell out another $34.45 on monthly gym membership fees in Cleveland. You can also save by looking for an apartment complex with an on-site fitness center or making the most of the city's Metro Parks trails. If your preferred type of entertainment is going to the movies, it will cost you about $12 per ticket without concession stand snacks.

 Cleveland, Ohio, USA skyline on the river.

Other Expenses to Consider in Cleveland

Although Cleveland ranks as one of the least expensive cities in the country to live in, grocery costs tend to be higher than you might expect. Costs rank at 94 out of the national average of 100. Of course, you can save at discount grocers like Aldi's or the bodegas and delis around Cleveland.

What Salary Do I Need to Live in Cleveland?

Now that you have a sense of what everything costs in Cleveland, it's helpful to know what kind of salary provides a comfortable lifestyle. The living wage in Cleveland is currently $15.30 an hour, which only covers your basic needs. It also doesn't account for entertainment, emergencies, or travel.

However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Cleveland is $33,678, or about $16.19 an hour.

When you use the 30% rule, you can get a rough estimate of the salary needed to rent an apartment in Cleveland without breaking the bank. If you're trying to keep costs low, neighborhoods on the city's outskirts or finding a roommate help reduce costs on rent.

  • If you are renting an average-priced one-bedroom apartment in Cleveland, your annual salary should be around $24,600 or higher.
  • If you are renting an average-priced two-bedroom apartment in Cleveland, your annual salary should be around $31,440 or higher.

Have trouble settling on how much rent you can afford living in Cleveland? Try using a rent calculator.

Final Thoughts

You've got plenty of info to figure out Cleveland's cost of living and begin your apartment hunt. Start your next Cleveland apartment search today with this quiz! If you're looking to save even more on rent, check out our round-up of cheap apartments in Cleveland.

FAQs: Cost of Living in Cleveland

How Expensive Is an Apartment in Cleveland?

A one-bedroom apartment in Cleveland costs $615. A two-bedroom apartment in Cleveland costs $786.

What Is the Cheapest Rent in Cleveland?

A one-bedroom apartment is the cheapest rent you can get in Cleveland, with the median rent sitting at $615. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Cleveland is higher at $786.

How Expensive Is It to Live in Cleveland?

Living in Cleveland is relatively expensive. In Cleveland, rent averages $615 for a one-bedroom apartment. Transportation costs in Cleveland amount to $5,305 a year. Food costs $3,423 a year on average for a single resident of Cleveland.

How Far Is Cleveland from Chicago?

Cleveland is 344.2 miles away from Chicago. It takes 5 hours and 24 minutes to get to Chicago from Cleveland by car, 31 hours by bike, and 110 hours by foot.

What Is the Population of Cleveland?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Cleveland is 367,991. It is the second most populated city in the state of Ohio.

What Is a Good Salary in Cleveland?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Cleveland is $33,678 a year. However, the recommended salary in Cleveland is only $24,600. This total reflects the 30% rule of only spending 30% or less of your income on rent. This salary should allow a renter to live comfortably and afford to cover the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment which sits at $615.

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Susan Finch
Susan is an accomplished freelance writer whose passion for rental real estate, travel, and digital marketing has been the driving force behind her nearly 15-year career. Throughout her professional journey, Susan has become a seasoned veteran in creating compelling and informative content focused on the tenant/landlord relationship. Read More

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