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Cost of Living in San Jose, CA 2023

March 5, 2023
Interested in moving to San Jose, but unsure about the cost of living? Learn about the cost of living in the Silicon Valley from housing costs to food expenses!

San Jose is the largest city in Northern California. Residents of this Silicon Valley hotspot are drawn to the booming tech scene, job opportunities, great climate, and the chance to live that sweet, sweet, California dream.

Whether you’re looking to land your dream job at PayPal or want to enjoy Cali living, San Jose is the place to be — if your budget is big enough.

San Jose has a notoriously high cost of living, so it’s essential to check and double-check your budget if you want to make the city your home.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about San Jose’s cost of living from housing to gym memberships.

Let’s dive in!

San Jose Housing Costs

Housing costs are no joke in San Jose. With some of the most expensive median house prices in the country, San Jose’s rental market is no exception. Here are the average rent prices for San Jose apartments.

So, yeah. Pretty expensive, even by the traditional standards for an expensive city. Notably, San Jose’s $2,456 median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $407 higher than that of New York City. Overall, the median rent in San Jose rose 1.2% over the last month and 4.3% year-over-year. That figure outpaces the state growth of 1.6% and national average of 3.0% increase in rent.

Even if you land one of those high-paying jobs in the thriving tech sector, you’re still going to want to pull some frugal money moves to bolster your savings.

For starters, you can rent with roommates. As 41.8% of San Jose residents are doubled up, you’ll be in good company.

Fortunately, splitting rent can cut your rent in half, despite the inconvenience of living with another person. That said, if you do your research and put the work in to find a good roommate, you might just end up living with your new best friend.

If you prefer living alone, you may be able to find a cheap San Jose apartment by looking for move-in specials. You’ll usually be able to catch a deal with reduced rent, waived fees, or other amenities and attractions.

If not… well, at least you’ve been forewarned.

San Jose from Above on Clear Day

San Jose Transportation

According to data from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, an average single San Jose resident spends $5,316 annually or around $443 monthly on transportation costs (read: owning a car). A family of four with two working adults and two children pays an average of $14,058 annually or about $1,171.50 monthly to cover transportation costs.

Unfortunately, with a low 51 walk score and a 40 transit score, you’ll need your own set of wheels to get around in the city.

On the upside, San Jose has a 62 bike score. You may experience some obstacles to getting around by bike, but it’s still possible. If you prefer four-wheeled transportation and want to avoid the high costs associated with car ownership, an annual pass for public transit in San Jose costs $990 for a single adult passenger.

San Jose Food Costs

Single San Jose residents can expect to pay $4,686 annually or $390.50 a month on groceries.

A family of four with two children and two adults in San Jose spends an annual average of $13,802 on groceries or $160.17 per month.

That said, you probably won’t spend every day making meals. If you choose to eat out once in a while, we don’t blame you!

San Jose is a foodie haven with restaurants and high-class eateries lining the city’s streets.

From excellent seafood to the best tacos on this side of the Mississippi, San Jose cuisine is enough to tempt anyone for a night of dining out. You'll spend around $20 for an inexpensive meal, not including tip, alcohol, or dessert.

If you grab a friend and indulge in a three-course meal at a mid-level restaurant, you can expect to pay $80.

Kaiser Permanente medical office entrance and exterior. Kaiser Permanente is an American integrated managed care consortium - San Jose, California, USA - 2020

San Jose Healthcare Costs

Healthcare costs in the US are rising, and have continued on this upward trend for many years.

San Jose healthcare costs reflect those across the nation, in that they are relatively high.

Average healthcare costs for an individual with an employer-sponsored health insurance plan are $3,136 annually. For a family of four, these healthcare costs increase to $9,411 annually.

If you are currently uninsured or will be after you complete your move to San Jose, head to to sign up for a health insurance plan that suits your needs.

San Jose Utilities

San Jose residents are lucky when it comes to their average utility bills.

While the average utility bill in the US is $240 a month, San Jose residents pay $243 for basic utilities, including gas, water, fuel, and electricity.

Fortunately, the Mediterranean climate does a lot to keep costs down.

If you plan on creating a more in-depth utility budget line item, you might consider adding your cell phone and internet service bills.

The average internet service bill in San Jose costs $80.62, depending on your needs, while the average cell phone bill in the US is $127.37 per month or $1,528.44 per year.

You can save on these costs by looking into discount internet and cell phone service providers, bundling services with a single provider or switching providers to get new customer benefits.

Just make sure you do some thorough research before pursuing any of these options, as you don’t want to end up with spotty cell service in an emergency or WiFi that cuts out during an important Zoom meeting.

Learn more about the estimated utility costs per city!

SAP Center indoor arena exterior. Its primary tenant is the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League - San Jose, CA, USA - 2020

Fitness and Entertainment

Staying fit and having fun are pretty much the pillars of California living.

According to data from Numbeo, the average gym membership in San Jose costs $78 per month or $936 annually.

While the cost is pretty steep compared to other major cities, fitness is the key to a good long life. So, it’s an investment with a great ROI.

The vast majority of San Jose residents spend their free time taking advantage of the many awesome entertainment options the city has to offer.

If you intend to join them, be sure to understand how those outings may impact your budget.

Although San Jose isn’t a big sports city, they have a professional hockey team, the San Jose Sharks. If you’re planning on catching a home game at some point, expect to pay around $127 (on average) for a ticket.

For those who prefer to do a bit of learning and exploration on off days or have fun with their children, head over to The Tech Interactive, a massive interactive museum. Tickets start at $27 for an adult, so plan accordingly!

If you find yourself pining for free entertainment, head to one of San Jose’s many public parks. Start with the Municipal Rose Garden. It’s gorgeous, smells great, and it’s free. Win-win-win across the board.

Other Expenses to Consider in San Jose

If you’re making the move to San Jose, it’s important to consider additional expenses that are unique to the location.

This is especially true if you are moving from out of state, from one of the few states or cities that did not impose an income tax.

San Jose residents pay a 9.375% combined state and city sales tax rate, as San Jose levies a 3.375% sales and use tax in addition to the state of California’s standard 6% sales and use tax.

If you are looking to purchase a home in San Jose, prepare to meet price tags that start in the seven-figure range.

 Residential multifamily building situated on a corner on top of telecommunication hill, San Jose, California

What Salary Do I Need to Live in San Jose?

The living wage in San Jose is $26.20, which is the minimum needed to pay for the necessities. This figure does not include lots of eating out, travel, or saving up an emergency fund. However, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that San Jose residents make bank, pulling in a median household income of $125,075 or about $62.50 an hour.

We generally recommend that renters earn at least three times the cost of rent before taxes. That’s a standard that most landlords follow.

The metric also roughly follows the 30% budgeting rule, which states that a person should spend less than or equal to 30% of their earnings on housing costs like rent or a mortgage.

If we were to follow the 30% rule, here’s what you’ll need to earn to comfortably afford an average-priced San Jose apartment.

  • It’s recommended that a renter earns an annual pre-tax income of at least $80,560 to rent a 1-bedroom apartment in San Jose that costs $2,014.
  • It’s recommended that a renter earns an annual pre-tax income of at least $98,240 to rent a 2-bedroom apartment in San Jose that costs $2,456.

Final Thoughts

San Jose’s thriving tech industry, Mediterranean weather, and bustling cityscape make it a top option for renters considering a move to Northern California. However, it’s a pretty expensive place to call home.

If you’re interested in something a little more affordable, check out options in other major California cities.

That said if you’re determined to make Silicon Valley your new home, get started on your apartment hunt with Apartment List.

FAQs: Cost of Living in San Jose in 2023:

How expensive is an apartment in San Jose?

A one-bedroom apartment in San Jose, California costs $2,014. A two bedroom apartment in San Jose costs $2,456.

What is the cheapest rent in San Jose?

Currently, the cheapest rent in San Jose, California for a one-bedroom apartment. You can expect to pay an average of $2,014 in rent.

How expensive is it to live in San Jose?

You’ll spend an average of $2,014 for a one bedroom apartment in San Jose. Locals also spend about $5,316 annually or around $132.90 monthly on transportation. A family of two working adults and two children spend an average of $14,058 a year or about $1,171.50 monthly to cover transportation costs. A monthly pass on public transit in San Jose costs $990 for a single adult passenger.

How far is San Jose from San Francisco?

San Jose to San Francisco is 48.4 miles via US-101 S and takes about 50 minutes to drive. You can also take Caltrain to get from San Jose and San Francisco.

How far is San Jose from Sacramento?

San Jose is 119.8 miles via I-80 W and I-680 S and takes just under two hours to drive in reasonable traffic. Amtrak train service is also available between San Jose and Sacramento, California.

What is the population of San Jose?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of San Jose was 983,489 in 2020.

What is a good salary in San Jose?

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average salary for San Jose, California residents is $125,075. However, to stick to the rule of spending only 30% of your monthly income on rent, you only need an income of $80,560 to live comfortably in a one bedroom apartment in San Jose.

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Davina Ward
Davina G. Ward is an esteemed journalist and expert on the apartment rental market. Read More

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