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Cost of Living in Greensboro, NC 2021

By: Emily Kho
June 30, 2021

Greensboro is known as the Gate City for symbolic purposes, as it is located in the center of North Carolina. The city gained popularity in the late 1900s as the gateway to the West and South, seeing as many as 60 trains passing through daily.

Today, the city offers temperate weather year-round paired with an abundance of outdoor trails, lakes, and parks to enjoy. With Southern hospitality, a booming art scene, and incredible local restaurants, it’s no wonder Greensboro continues to be such a popular city.

Whether you’re looking to move to Greensboro to be a part of the evolving art scene, enjoy nature or a combination of both, you’ll want to get a good idea of your potential costs. Let’s take a closer look at the cost of living in Greensboro to understand better how much you need to live there.

Greensboro Housing Costs

Most cities across the country experienced significant drops in rent prices as a direct result of the pandemic. But, as things begin reopening, we will start to see increases once again, with Greensboro the following suit. Thankfully, despite these increases, Greensboro’s rent prices fall below the state and national averages.

According to the latest Rent Report on Greensboro, the median rent index is $905 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,050 for a two-bedroom. Rent prices took a minor hit from mid-November 2020 through the end of the year. At the start of the new year, though, rates began taking a turn and have continued to trend upward.

Overall, the city's year-over-year rent growth still falls below the state average of 11.7%. However, at 10%, Greensboro’s rent growth rate is above the national average of 8.4% by 1.6%.

Compared to other major cities in North Carolina, Greensboro’s rent prices are significantly lower. For example, Cary’s median rent index is $1,274 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,514 for a two-bedroom. Another popular North Carolina city, the state capital, is Raleigh, with a median rent index of $1,201 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,375 for a two-bedroom.

The Greensboro housing market is also seeing steady growth, with median home prices currently at $192,488. These prices fall far below competing areas like Cary, with a median price index of $422,737 and Raleigh at $340,303.

Greensboro Transportation

Greensboro’s official public transportation operator is the Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA), which covers 16 routes Mondays through Saturdays and seven on Sundays. The GTA also partners with local universities and colleges to provide the Higher Education Area Transit (HEAT), adding another five routes to local institutions.

With the GTA’s and HEAT’s combined efforts, public transportation in Greensboro covers over two million revenue-earning miles per year with 1,056 GTA bus stops and 46 HEAT bus stops throughout Greensboro and Jamestown.

One ride for single riders on GTA costs $1.50 or $0.75 for discounted riders, including seniors 65+, Medicare, Medicaid, children ages 6-17, persons with disabilities, and veterans. Children five and under and transfer riders will ride for free. For frequent riders, one-day unlimited ride passes cost $4, while a regular 31-day unlimited ride pass costs $58.

While public transportation in Greensboro is highly dependable and likely the most cost-effective method of getting around the city, others might utilize other available options, such as ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. There are also taxis, car rentals, and chauffeur services, but these tend to be the more expensive options.

If you're a single adult with no children, you'll spend about $5,113 for transportation in Greensboro over a year. However, if you’re a family of four, including two working adults and two children, you will pay $13,896 for transportation in one year. Thankfully, gasoline prices are around $2.44 per gallon, lower than the national average of $3.04.

Greensboro Food Costs

Greensboro offers countless dining options, including bistros, grills, and southern kitchens. Eating out in Greensboro costs an average of $15 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant, while a three-course dinner for two people at a mid-range restaurant will run $62.50 without alcohol or dessert.

Expect to spend at least $3,177 on food per year for single adults without children. However, if you're a family of four with two working adults and two children, you can expect to pay $9,305 per year for food.

You can anticipate spending around or slightly below the national average for food items regarding grocery market pricing. For example, one gallon of regular milk will run you $2.92 in the grocery store, with the national average being $3.58.

Greensboro Healthcare Costs

You will also want to account for proper medical care when planning your budget in Greensboro. A single adult without children will pay around $2,728 for medical care over the year, while two working adults with two children will pay $7,688.

Whether you have a medical condition that requires you to see a doctor regularly or go in for your annual checkups, having medical insurance helps keep these costs minimum. Additionally, should any emergencies arise in your new hometown, it is nice to know you’ll be able to afford to have the proper care as needed.

Greensboro Utilities

With an average of 217 days of sun each year, more than the national average of 205, Greensboro has some incredible weather allowing you to save a bit on your utility bills each month. The coldest month in Greensboro is in January, with an average overnight temperature of 28.2°. Summers are known for being mild, with July being the hottest month, where the average daytime high is typically 87.6°.

To stay warm through the relatively cool winter nights, you'll need to account for higher utilities. Greensboro’s basic utilities include electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, running $151.67 for a 915-sq. ft. apartment. Adding on the Internet with 60 Mbps or more with unlimited data, cable/ADSL will cost you an extra $66.67 for a total of $218.34 each month.

Get a better idea of how much utilities will cost in an apartment before you move. That way, you can be sure to budget accordingly for this sometimes overlooked expense.

Greensboro Fitness and Entertainment

Greensboro has plenty of fitness and entertainment opportunities for people enjoying a broad scope of activities. If you like to spend your time in a local gym for workouts, you’ll want to consider club membership costs. Thankfully, these costs are relatively low, with the monthly fee for a fitness club membership for one adult costing $24.88.

Otherwise, you can easily enjoy the beautiful outdoor scenery Greensboro has to offer, as weather typically permits throughout the year. Enjoy one of the 124 park facilities within the city, including The Bog Garden, the Greensboro Arboretum, or the Country Park. For those with kids, have a fun day at popular playgrounds like the Arboretum Lindley Park Playground, the Cascade Park Playground, or the LeBauer Park Playground.

On warmer days, if you’re looking to enjoy some free air conditioning, a seat at the local cinema will cost you $10 without snacks or drinks. Of course, you can always check out the Greensboro History Museum, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, or the Ambleside Gallery if you’re trying to save some cash.

Other Expenses to Consider in Greensboro

North Carolina has a flat state income tax rate of 5.25%. Luckily for anyone looking to purchase, the effective property tax rate is below the national average. Sales taxes in North Carolina are 4.75% but add up to 6.75% in Greensboro when combining state, county, and city sales tax rates.

Other expenses to look out for, especially for anyone moving out of state, including cross-country movers, storage, hotels, and transportation. These moves also often require additional fees such as apartment application fees, security deposits, pet deposits, and other add-ons. Furnishing your home is another considerable expense, which adds up quickly once you get started. Find tips and tricks on decorating your apartment on a budget to help keep you in line with your budget.

You can determine your recommended salary by first figuring out what lifestyle you plan to lead in Greensboro. The living wage in Greensboro is $14.19 per hour, which is the basic wage needed to pay for essentials such as housing, food, and necessities. Just remember that this living wage does not account for any extra costs like dining and entertainment.

The average salary index in Greensboro is $61,000 per year, which is roughly $16.40 per hour. Remember that the living wage, average salary, and recommended salary are three very different things. To determine your recommended salary for living in Greensboro, you can follow the 30% rule for rent.

The 30% rule claims that you should not be spending more than one-third, or 30%, of your gross income on rent to live comfortably. For example, if your rent is close to the median for a one-bedroom apartment in Greensboro at $905, according to the 30% rule, your monthly wages should be at least $2,715 a month, or an annual salary of $32,580.

This recommended salary is for a very basic lifestyle while in Greensboro. If you think you may have additional living costs, such as dining, entertainment, etc., you’ll need to anticipate these needs and search for a higher salary, a less expensive apartment, or both.

Thankfully, the typical annual salaries for common professions in Greensboro are highly competitive. The three highest typical annual salaries belong to Management, Computer, and Mathematical, and Architecture and Engineering positions, respectively.

Job Market in Greensboro

The current job market in Greensboro might not be the best situated compared to other similarly sized metropolitan areas. The current unemployment rate in Greensboro is slightly higher than the national average and is currently sitting at 4.1%. The income rate is also lower than the national average, currently at $44,570.

The top employers in the city of Greensboro include Guilford County Schools and the Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. There are also plenty of employment options thanks to the many local colleges and universities in the area.

The most significant industry in Greensboro is health care and social assistance, employing over 45,600 residents. Next up is administrative and support and waste management and remediation services, employing 29,400 finance and insurance employing 13,600.

Final Thoughts

If you are interested in moving to a city full of art, nature, and southern charm, Greensboro might be the place for you. With a relatively low cost of living and beautiful year-round weather, it’s hard to resist. Register with Apartment List today and start checking out the thousands of available apartments to rent in Greensboro!

If you're interested in exploring other cities in North Carolina, check out our best places to live in NC blog! If Greensboro seems too pricey, learn about the cheapest places to live in NC.

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EMILY KHO
Emily is a professionally trained writer who covers a wide range of topics but specializes in business and hospitality content. With over a decade of professional writing experience in the hospitality industry, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a BS from the world-renowned William F. Read More
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