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Cost of Living in Los Angeles, CA 2023

December 23, 2022
Thinking about moving to Los Angeles but don’t know how much you can spend? Here’s what to expect from the cost of living in Los Angeles and how to plan accordingly.

From mansions to dive bars, Los Angeles is known for its eclectic makeup of ambitious city dwellers looking to carve out their paths. Whether you want to conquer the entertainment industry or live in a diverse neighborhood teeming with hipster bars and venues, you'll be able to find it.

Howvwer, remember that the price tag of living in LA doesn't come cheap. With the many perks of Los Angeles, residing here comes at a higher cost of living than in most places. The trade-offs may be worth it, depending on your lifestyle preferences and desire for incredible weather.

Here's how expensive it is to live in Los Angeles and areas where you can save.

Los Angeles Housing Costs

The cost of living in Los Angeles requires a robust salary, an affordable apartment, or a mix of both. The city is growing, although rents are more reasonable than in previous years due to the pandemic.

Now’s the time to find more affordable rents in your dream neighborhood. However, rents are expected to rise as pandemic conditions ease. You can also find Los Angeles neighborhoods growing in popularity that are more affordable, like Van Nuys.

More desirable, central areas like Downtown Los Angeles or Silver Lake will prove more expensive and competitive for an affordable apartment. Come prepared with all of your paperwork and ready to sign to score the best deals in LA.

To get a better idea of the cost of living in the city, a one-bedroom in Los Angeles will typically cost you $1,660 while a two-bedroom will cost around $2,192.

Housing just scratches the surface of what you'll need to thrive in Los Angeles. You should also factor in the kind of lifestyle you want to live, from nightlife to fashionista.

To make sure you have enough money to go around, a good rule of thumb is to spend 30% or less of your gross monthly income on rent. For example, you should earn $66,400 a year, or $5,533 per month, to comfortably afford a one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Transportation

Los Angeles is a driving town. However, it's becoming easier to get around by relying on public transportation and rideshares.

The LA Metro takes residents through the city by public bus. However, transferring at multiple stops is the norm. There's also a Los Angeles Metro Rail urban rail system, which spans six lines and two subway lines.

If you want to ditch the car, living in a walkable neighborhood that's near your workplace is your best bet. You'll also need a rideshare budget, a bus route backup, and the occasional rental car to get to where you need to go.

Plan your transportation expenses accordingly. A single person living in Los Angeles will spend $4,938 per year on transportation. That figure quickly rises to $13,456 for two working adults and one child.

Los Angeles Hamburger

Los Angeles Food Costs

Los Angeles is a dining paradise and requires its own budget. Of course, you can do it cheaply. According to the MIT living wage estimates, a single adult that cooks their meals (including snacks) at home will spend around $3,999 per year on food.

If you moved to Los Angeles to eat your way through the city, expect to spend at least $20 per meal at an inexpensive restaurant without appetizers, alcohol, and dessert. A three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant will run an average of $87.09.

Los Angeles Healthcare Costs

Healthcare can get pricey, but it’s a must-have to protect your health. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MIT estimated the typical health expenditure for a single full-time working adult in Los Angeles costs up to $2,288 per year. For a family of two adults and a child, that’ll increase up to $7,559 per year.

Los Angeles Utilities

Los Angeles' fabulous weather keeps utility bills reasonable, especially during the winter months. You may need to factor in your air conditioning budget rising during the summer months.

An essential utility bill in Los Angeles that includes electricity, gas, water, and fuel is $245.67.

If you include Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL), that’ll increase the total monthly cost of utilities by around $67.95 on average.

Los Angeles Hollywood Hike

Fitness and Entertainment

Los Angeles is a fitness and entertainment town that likes to look good and play hard. Jogging is free, but snagging sidewalk space in your neighborhood may get competitive.

A fitness club will cost around $45.73 per month. However, you may be able to find cheaper options at small community gyms. Fortunately, there are free trails and hiking spots you can explore, like Griffith Park or nearby beaches.

You'll need to factor in your nightlife budget when living in Los Angeles. Going out on the town every night quickly adds up, especially if you add door covers or drink minimums.

But to give you an idea of what to expect, a new release at the cinema runs $15.99, not including snacks and add-ons.

Other Expenses to Consider in Los Angeles

After a surge in Los Angeles rents over the few years, apartment hunters are enjoying declining rates due to the pandemic. You should expect those prices to rise as conditions improve.

Beyond rent, you need to factor in taxes. Los Angeles is also home to one of the highest sales tax rates in the country. Some rates reach 9.5%.

The average sales tax is 7.3% in the rest of the country. Income tax will also compromise your budget at 9.3% instead of the national average of 4.6%.

Property taxes are also a consideration if you're thinking of long-term homeownership. California residents pay an effective tax rate that ranges from 1% to 12.3%, and the sales tax rate in Los Angeles is 7.25% to 10.75%.

Moving expenses will also put a dent in your budget. Are you moving out of state to Los Angeles? You'll need a cross-country moving company. The other option is, come prepared to find a furnished apartment at a premium.

Outfitting your entire apartment can also get costly. However, there are ways to decorate on a budget.

What Salary Do I Need to Live in Los Angeles?

If you followed the 30% rule to find your apartment, you discovered you needed to earn around $5,000 a month before taxes to rent a $1,660 apartment in Los Angeles. That comes out to $66,400 a year or $33.20 an hour.

Of course, if you want to live a more lavish lifestyle or have kids in tow, you need to raise your income or lower your rent.

You should also consider the living wage when calculating the cost of living in Los Angeles. The living wage is the minimum amount of money needed to live above the poverty threshold.

According to MIT calculations, Los Angeles’ living wage is around $22.89 for a full-time employed individual. The calculations do not include extra expenses like vacations, eating out, or entertainment.

It also won't help you save, as you're living on the bare minimum and won't have any breathing room for an emergency expense.

Costs can add up quickly when you live in an urban epicenter. Make sure you consider the job market and salary expectations before you move. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the household income is $69,778, whichi is close to the national average of $69,021.

Considering Moving to Los Angeles?

Here's how to find apartments in Los Angeles and how to find an apartment in Santa Monica, a nearby city!

Los Angeles beckons creatives, ambitious professionals, students, and sunshine seekers to its city of opportunity. If Los Angeles seems too pricey for you, read about the cheapest places to live in CA!

Start your own journey by finding your dream neighborhood with Apartment List today.

FAQs: What to Know About the Cost of Living in Los Angeles in 2023

How expensive is an apartment in Los Angeles?

A 1 bedroom apartment in Los Angeles costs $1,660. A 2 bedroom apartment in Los Angeles costs $2,192.

What is the cheapest rent in Los Angeles?

The cheapest apartment in Los angeles is a 1 bedroom apartment at $1,660. . The average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is higher at $2,192.

How expensive is it to live in Los Angeles?

In Los Angeles, rent averages $1,660 for a 1 bedroom apartment. Transportation costs in Los Angeles amount to $4,938 a year. Food costs $3,999 a year on average for a single resident of Los Angeles.

How far is Las Vegas from Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is 294 miles away from Las Vegas. It takes 4 hours and 40 minutes to get to Las Vegas from Los Angeles by car, 27 hours by bike, and 94 hours by foot.

How far is San Diego from Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is 120 miles away from San Diego. It takes 2 hours and 1 minute to get to San Diego from Los Angeles by car, 12 hours by bike, and 43 hours by foot.

How far is San Francisco from Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is 382 miles away from San Francisco. It takes 5 hours and 55 minutes to get to San Francisco from Los Angeles by car, 42 hours by bike, and142 hours by foot.

How far is Oakland from Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is 370 miles away from Oakland. It takes 5 hours and 45 minutes to get to Oakland from Los Angeles by car, 41 hours by bike, and 140 hours by foot.

How far is Long Beach from Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is 24 miles away from Long Beach. It takes 25 minutes to get to Long Beach from Los Angeles by car, 2 hours by bike, and 7 hours by foot.

What is the population of Los Angeles?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Los Angeles is 3,849,297. It is the second-largest city in the country, falling only behind New York City.

Is Los Angeles cheaper than Seattle?

Currently, Los Angeles is more expensive than Seattle. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles sits at $2,192, while the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Seattle sits at $1,921.

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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
Tristian Brown
Tristian Brown is a Senior Content Marketing Associate at Apartment List, where he manages high-quality content that helps modern renters find the perfect home. He brings an immense wealth of knowledge to the team, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and European Management from the University of San Diego and EM Strasbourg Business School. Read More
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