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The Cost of Living in Dallas

June 18, 2019

Big things happen in Dallas. Whether it is gorging yourself on delicious Tex-Mex or cheering on the Cowboys to their next win, everything in this city is done in a larger than life way. The good news is that when it comes to the cost of living in Dallas, this big city shouldn’t break the bank. The cost of living in Dallas is significantly lower than other comparable large cities across the nation. Read on to learn more about how your most common living expenses will shape up in this Texas city.

Housing Affordability

Housing is normally your biggest expense, so let’s start there with evaluating the cost of living in Dallas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area led the nation in job growth in 2018. The metro area added 102,500 jobs over the course of the year as of February 2019. The booming market attracts transplants from other parts of the country, driving up the demand for housing.

As a result, Dallas' year-over-year rent growth leads the national and state averages, which both stand at 1.5%. Over the past five years, rental prices increased by 16%. Currently, a median one-bedroom in Dallas rents for  $900 a month. A median two-bedroom will cost you $1,120 a month. The good news is this is still only slightly above the national average of $1,180, and still affordable compared to many other US metro areas.


As a big city, know how to get around Dallas, and how much it is going to cost you, is key to life here. . Expect to spend approximately $4,623 a year on transportation as a single adult. If you are a family of three (two working adults and a child), your transportation cost will increase to $9,905 a year. You can also use DART- Dallas public transit system. Prepare to pay $96 a month for a local month pass, or $2.50 for a single one-way trip.


In accordance with MIT living wage estimates, a single full-time working adult that cooks his or her own meals (including snacks) spends around $2,994 a year on food. However, if you want to take advantage of all the delicious restaurants Dallas has to offer, to say nothing of the plethora of frozen margaritas offered across the city, then plan to spend on average $14.50 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant. A meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant will cost around $50.


MIT used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to estimate typical health expenditure for Dallas residents. The estimates for healthcare amount to $2,367 a year for a single full-time working adult and $6,615 a year for a family of three.


A basic utility bill that includes electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a 915 sq ft apartment averages around $141 a month. Additionally, Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) will increase the total monthly cost of utilities by approximately $63, totaling $204 a month.

Fitness and entertainment

If you are a gym goer, be prepared to shell out another $42 on monthly membership fees. If your preferred type of entertainment is going to the movies, it will cost you about $12 per ticket, excluding money spent at the concession stand.

To comfortably rent a median one-bedroom apartment in Dallas, you would have to make about $35,773 a year, or $17 an hour. The recommended household income for a two-bedroom is $44,480 a year, or $21 an hour.
The “living wage” is defined as the minimum amount of money needed to live above the poverty threshold. For Dallas, the living wage is around $11.71 an hour for a full-time employed single individual. It excludes expenses on restaurants, entertainment, and vacations, and doesn’t allow for savings. The estimated median household income in Dallas at the end of 2018 was around $48,798 a year.

By: Sania Tran
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