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Cost of Living in Utah, 2021

By: Emily Kho
June 10, 2021

Utah is known for having some of the country’s best skiing and mountains that average approximately 500 inches of snow annually. However, what few people know is that this beautiful state got its name from the Native American tribe “Ute,” which directly translates to “people of the mountains.”

Home to the “Mighty Five” national parks, Utah boasts Zion, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands. Beyond these, there are 43 state parks and recreation areas within the state lines, spanning various interests, including wildlife viewing to Puebloan ruins and wetlands.

If you’re looking to enjoy some of the best sights the country has to offer, moving to Utah might seem like an excellent option for you. However, before you start packing your things up for your big move, you might want to take a moment to consider a few things.

First, check out this apartment guide. Next, you’ll want to find out what Utah’s cost of living prices look like. Here, you can take a closer look at the cost of living in Utah to gain a better understanding of how much you’ll need to live there comfortably.

Utah Housing Costs

The first portion of your cost of living you should always consider is your housing, as it is likely to be one of your highest living expenses. Regardless of your geographical location or if you plan to rent or pay mortgage payments, you can expect your housing costs to take up the most significant chunk of your budget. When it comes to building a budget, you’ll want to start with your anticipated housing costs.

Housing prices throughout Utah are considerably affordable, even amongst the most highly populated cities. Utah’s average housing prices typically fall on the lower end of the range compared to similarly-sized cities across the country. Here is a list of average rent prices in four of the most popular Utah cities, including Salt Lake City, West Jordan, Orem, and West Valley City.

CityAverage 1-Bedroom RentAverage 2-Bedroom Rent
Salt Lake City, UT$1,567$2,281
West Jordan, UT$1,272$1,529
Orem, UT$1,163$1,521
West Valley City, UT$1,191$1,462

Current rent trends show that Salt Lake City rent prices have increased 3.03% over the last month and are up 7.7% to this time last year. Similarly, rent prices in West Valley City, West Jordan, and Orem have seen 4% to 6% increases in a year-over-year comparison.

If you’re looking for additional savings on housing costs, you might want to consider renting with a roommate. For example, if you rent in Salt Lake City and split the costs of renting a two-bedroom apartment, you can save over $426 per month versus renting a one-bedroom apartment on your own.

Whether you are looking for a house, townhouse, apartment, or condo, Utah has rental properties in all forms. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can easily find housing in the quiet suburbs or the bustling downtown areas. Rest assured, there is something for everyone in Utah.

Utah Transportation

As the thirteenth largest state in the country, it’s no surprise that getting around in Utah can add up. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, average annual transportation costs come out to about $4,900 for a single individual. A family of four with two working parents and two children can anticipate paying around $13,317 in transportation costs annually.

To explore the vast state and all it has to offer, we highly recommend having a car. Otherwise, within the Wasatch Front urban corridor or Northern Utah (including Salt Lake City and Park City), you can rely on public transportation, including the TRAX light rail, FrontRunner commuter rail, and the UTA bus system.

The most commonly used public transportation is the UTA bus system, which services the northern major cities from Provo to North Ogden. A great feature of this public transportation is that you can ride for free when entering and exiting within the Free Fare Zone boundaries, which covers all of downtown.

Otherwise, most one-way fares cost $2.50, round-trip fares for $5, and monthly passes cost $85. You can even go online to purchase tickets from the convenience of your computer or mobile device.

Utah Food Costs

The average single Utah resident spends around $3,792 annually on food or roughly $316 per month. For a family of four, with two working adults and two children, these costs nearly triple to $11,106 annually or approximately $925.50 per month.

While these costs might not seem too unreasonable, it’s important to remember that these figures are associated with food that has been picked up at the local Smith’s Food and Drug, Harmons Neighborhood Grocer, or Whole Foods Market, and has been entirely prepared in the home. For those who aren’t the most crafty in the kitchen, the need to add additional food costs, such as eating out, will likely arise.

Utah has countless famous restaurants to choose from, including Cliffside Restaurant in St. George, Communal in Provo, or The Farm Restaurant in Canyons Resort. Feast on iconic Utah Scones, Bear Lake Raspberries, and Fernwood Mint Sandwiches, but just remember to account for these additional costs in your budget, or you might run into some financial problems later down the line.

The average cost for a meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant, with three courses in Salt Lake City, is $60.00. In Orem, the average cost is $45.00.

Utah Healthcare Costs

An essential aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is healthcare. Whether you suffer from a chronic illness or see your doctor annually, it is crucial to have proper health insurance. It can be beneficial in emergencies, ensuring you can afford any necessary treatments.

When considering moving to Utah, you should also take into account your healthcare costs. A single adult without children will pay around $2,694 for medical care in a single year. A family of four with two working adults and two children can expect to pay $7,187.

You can always check out the federal healthcare marketplace to see what coverage is available in your new location. Relocating outside of an enrollment period can cause complications, so make sure you can report your move to qualify for out-of-state coverage.

If you are under 26 and still on your parent’s insurance plan, it is possible to maintain your standing even when moving to a new state. Check through your current provider or your parent’s insurance plan first to see which doctors, if any, fall in-network in your new location.

Utah Utilities

In Utah, average utility bills can vary, considering the drastically different climates the state has to offer. You can anticipate your utilities falling far below the national average of $240 monthly when living in Utah. The average cost of monthly utilities, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a 915 square foot apartment, is broken down by the major cities in Utah:

  • Salt Lake City: $133.99
  • Orem: $142.36

These costs cover basic utilities, but they do not cover additional items such as the internet. The average monthly costs of internet of 60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, or cable/ADSL in these major cities are roughly:

  • Salt Lake City: $61.92
  • Orem: $61.00

You’ll want to remember other monthly costs, such as your cell phone, which averages $94 for the nation. You can bundle your cell phone with your internet provider to help with additional discounting in some areas. You can also ask about other discounts for new customers, which are sometimes available.

Utah Fitness and Entertainment

As previously mentioned, Utah has no shortage of fitness and entertainment opportunities for everyone. Enjoy hiking trails, biking trails, or even explore Historical Sites. Whatever your preferred options are, don’t forget to account for some of your fitness and entertainment expenses in your budget.

Fitness

There is a chance you will see a decent amount of snowfall come winter, depending on which region you are living in, Utah. Because of the climate, outdoor exercise can prove challenging at times, but you can always consider a gym membership to help maintain your fitness throughout the year.

The average cost, per month, of a fitness club in major cities throughout Utah is relatively low:

  • Salt Lake City: $31.36
  • Orem: $18.75

You can save on costs by taking up other outdoor activities such as running, hiking, biking, and walking. Just remember that there are four very distinct seasons in Utah, and you’ll have to account for the proper attire for each.

National and State Parks

Home to the “Mighty Five,” also referred to as the “Big 5,” you can easily enjoy one of the five incredible national parks Utah has to offer. Entrance fees vary anywhere from $6 to $30 per vehicle or $3 to $12 per person, or you can purchase an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass annual pass for $80, which allows access to:

  • Arches National Park in Moab
  • Bryce Canyon National Park in Bryce
  • Canyonlands National Park in Moab
  • Capitol Reef National Park in Torrey
  • Zion National Park in Springdale

You may choose to one of the 43 state parks with an annual pass that ranges from $75 to $100 per Utah resident. Some of the most popular state parks include:

  • Dead Horse Point State Park
  • Snow Canyon State Park
  • Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
  • Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
  • Sand Hollow State Park

Other Expenses to Consider in Utah

There is a flat income tax rate on salary and wages of 4.95% for those looking to move to Utah. The sales tax rate is 4.7%, which sits in the middle of the national range from 2.9% in Colorado to 7.25% in California.

You might incur additional expenses when moving out of state. You’ll want to make sure you budget for movers, storage, hotels, and transportation. Moves also require additional fees such as apartment application fees, security deposits, pet deposits, and other optional add-ons.

Lastly, once you move into your new apartment, you’ll want to do what you can to make it feel like home. Decorating can be fun but quite costly. Thankfully, we have a few tips on how to decorate your apartment on a budget.

When it comes to determining your recommended salary in Utah, it will mostly depend on the lifestyle you plan to live there. The living wage in Utah is $14.52 per hour, which is the basic wage needed to pay for essentials such as housing, food, and necessities for an individual adult.

The average salary index in Utah is $66,000 per year, roughly $17.58 an hour.

With this information, you can determine your recommended salary by utilizing the 30% rule, which says you should not be spending more than one-third of your gross income on rent. For example, let’s assume you’re planning to rent in Salt Lake City where the median rent for a one-bedroom is $1,567. According to the 30% rule, your monthly wages should be at least three times this amount, equalling $4,701 per month, or $56,412 annually.

Final Thoughts

Utah offers renters anything from high-rise city apartments to quaint cabins. If you are looking to move somewhere with varying climates, beautiful mountains, and a relatively low cost of living, Utah might be the state for you. Register with Apartment List today and start checking out the hundreds of available apartments to rent in Utah!

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EMILY KHO
Emily is a professionally trained SEO 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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