The Utah market is on fire, and there are so many draws to the state including its affordability, breathtaking scenery, taxes, and more. You might be considering moving, whether it’s for a fun change, lack of affordability in your current state, a job offer, or family, and by the end of this piece you should have a better idea of where Utah ranks in terms of cost of living compared to your state!
Cost of Living in Utah vs. California
Overall the cost of living in California is 32.3% more expensive than Utah, and you don’t get the traffic you do in CA! In addition, Los Angeles is 44.4% more expensive than Salt Lake City, Utah. In Utah, you can expect to spend an average of $12.18 for a basic meal at a fast casual restaurant compared to $16.89 for one in California. It will also cost you $3.40 for a loaf of bread in CA versus $2.68 in UT, $6.31 for local cheese in CA versus $5.12 in UT, and $3.90 for a gallon of milk versus $2.81.
The cost of living index in Utah is just over 100, whereas California’s is at 149.9 (that’s the third highest in the country). In Utah’s most popular cities, you’ll pay about $1,700 for a 2 bedroom while the average for the same unit in California is $2,500.
Gas is also outrageously expensive - in California it costs about $5.60 per gallon, but in Utah the average is running at about $4.18 for regular fuel. Taxes are also much friendlier, so you won’t pay nearly as much as you would in California.
Cost of Living in Utah vs. Arizona
Arizona is 8% more expensive than living in Utah, so they are relatively similar but Utah tends to be less expensive than what you would be paying in Arizona.
A good indicator of how expensive it is to live in a particular region is the poverty rate - Arizona is currently at 13.56% where Utah is sitting at 8.4%, which is significantly below the national average. This means that groceries, housing, and utilities are more expensive in Arizona. You can expect to pay 12.45% more for groceries in Utah, and expect to pay 5% more for a basic meal at a restaurant.
In addition, Arizona’s growth rate is at 1.3%, whereas Utah’s is 2.5%. Also, your electric bill in Phoenix, AZ will set you back $160 a month, which is double what the average bill in Utah is.
Bottom line: Utah is more affordable overall to live in than its neighbor, Arizona.
Cost of Living in Utah vs. Florida
Florida is 15.3% cheaper than Salt Lake City, Utah, and the biggest factor in that difference is the median home cost. The median home cost is 43% cheaper in Orlando than Salt Lake City. Grocery prices are steep in Florida, and in Miami specifically groceries are more expensive than the national average. In Utah, the average resident spends about $300 per month on groceries putting Utah in the top five list of reasonably-priced grocery shopping states.
Transportation doesn’t come cheap either in the sunshine state. Florida people are drivers, and auto insurance can come at a hefty price. Utah even has better deals when it comes to housing, with a housing index that’s a couple of points below Florida. The index for transportation is higher in Florida than it is in Utah at 101. You can also expect to spend 4.68% more in Orlando than Salt Lake City, and 10.47% more in rent than you would in Salt Lake City.
Cost of Living in Utah vs. Hawaii
Basically, living costs in Hawaii are the highest in the nation, sitting at nearly twice as high as the U.S. average due to it being an island. The cost of living in Honolulu, HI is 58.7% higher than it is in Salt Lake City, UT. In addition, restaurant prices in Honolulu, HI are 16.88% higher than in Salt Lake City, UT, and groceries are 92.11% higher than they are in Salt Lake City, UT.
The excise tax of 4% can be a financial burden for many who aren’t well off as well adding yet another living expense to chalk up the money for. When it comes to housing, a two-bedroom in Hawaii will typically set you back $2,700 while Utah’s average is well below $2,000. Hawaii’s housing index is extremely high when compared to the one In Utah or any other state. Hawaii’s housing index of 313 is just about three times as much as any other state. Just for perspective, Utah’s housing index is at 97.6. Perhaps this is why Salt Lake City, Utah is one of the best places to retire in America.
In Hawaii, things can cost as much as 30% more than they do in Utah. At the beginning of 2021, the average price for a home in Hawaii was just under $900,000, which is a lot even for Utah. Also, Hawaii doesn’t have as much land as Utah, which means competition for space is high. What’s more, not all land is zoned for housing in the first place, so you can imagine how valuable land is in Hawaii.
Cost of Living in Utah vs. Oregon
Living in Oregon is 5.7% more expensive than what it would be to live in Utah - in fact, Oregon is one of the top 5 costliest states to live in. It’s also one of the most expensive states to buy gas in America.
The median monthly rent is $1,700 in Oregon and in Utah, it’s just about $1,500. Utah has one of the most affordable electricity rates, with the average bill at $74. In Oregon, the typical electric bill will be just over $100. And lastly, groceries will cost you 32.13% more than they would in Salt Lake City, UT.
Cost of Living in Utah vs. Colorado
Living in Salt Lake City is almost 15% cheaper than living in Denver. Everything from personal care to clothes will take more from your income in Denver than in Salt Lake City. Food is almost 5 percent cheaper, housing is 18% more affordable, and transport is nearly 20% less in Salt Lake City.
Monthly household expenses usually amount to up to $2,100 in Colorado households. In Utah, the average money spent by households on regular expenses is $1,800. The cost of living in Colorado is higher than more than half of all the states in the country. In Utah, it’s 2% lower than the national median. Colorado also dishes out some serious tax demands compared to Utah.
Cost of Living in Utah vs. Texas
Restaurant Prices in Dallas, TX are 8.99% higher than in Salt Lake City, UT. Groceries Prices in Dallas, TX are 19.49% higher than in Salt Lake City, UT. Texas is estimated to be more than 1.5% more expensive to live in than Utah. Childcare is 7.5% more expensive in Texas, and sports and entertainment eat more out of your pocket than they do in Utah. Even groceries go for more in the Lone Star State, with milk being 10% more expensive and local cheese 6.5% pricier in Texas.
Bottom line: Cost of living is also bigger in Texas!
And in case you needed any other reasoning for making the move…
It’s a Happy State!
According to Advisory.com, Utah is the No. 4 happiest state in the United States and for good reason! Below are just a few of the reasons so many are flocking to the bee-hive state (and who knows, you might be too after finishing this piece!)
And in case you need a refresher, check out 15 fun things to do in Utah and let us know when you’ll be packing up your bags!
Utah, we like the way you move! 🎵
Utah has award-winning public transportation, with everything from well maintained highways, a growing light rail system, TRAX, and a stunning airport. The Salt Lake City International Airport is home to one of the largest Delta Airline hubs in the nation, so you won't have a problem traveling by ground or air.
A Sight for Sore Eyes
“Utah boasts five national parks that will take your breath away. If you love a good natural sculpture, explore Arches National Park. Arches National Park features natural bridges, mountains with open-air arches, and sandstone towers you won’t believe. If the Grand Canyon is your go-to vacation, you’ll be thrilled to live in the same state as Bryce Canyon and Canyonlands. Hike to the top or travel by horseback to catch an incredible sunset over the water- and wind-worn sandstone ravines. Capitol Reef may sound like a place filled with tropical fish, but it’s actually a huge expanse of land surrounding a 65 million-year-old pinch point in the earth’s crust. Known as the Waterpocket Fold, this landform extends over 100 miles! Finally, enjoy the views from Utah’s oldest national park, Zion. Hike the steep red cliffs or follow the Virgin River to the Emerald Pools to take in the hanging garden and waterfalls. You’ll be amazed at all of the natural sights Utah has to offer!” - Market Apts
The Housing Market Is Boomin’
According to Sofi.com, the average cost of living in Utah is $37,369 per year, which is the 31st lowest cost of living in the United States. Utah is growing rapidly, with no lack of housing so there are plenty of options to choose from, including one, two and three bedroom units at Ely at American Fork!
“Depending on where you’re coming from, Utah’s tax system may not be that pleasing. That being said, their taxes are straightforward and easy to understand, which is always a plus! For starters, Utah is a flat-tax state, which means the income tax is 5% across the board. What that means is that whether you make $20,000 or $200,000, 5% of your yearly earnings will go towards state-run services and programs. The cost of homeownership may be high, but Utah’s property taxes are low. There are no estate taxes whatsoever, so there’s no need to worry about additional costs coming in from any inherited property. Utah’s sales taxes, coming in at about 6.94%, aren’t far off from the national average. Based solely on taxes, Utah may not be the most retirement-friendly place. They do tax Social Security benefits and withdrawals from retirement accounts. However, they’re certainly not the only state to do this, and their rates aren’t exceptionally bad. On the bright side, all those taxes will go towards state programs like those great highways and public transportation we mentioned earlier!” Market Apts
Après Ski, Anyone?
Utah gets an average of 48 inches of snow per year, so winter sports are where it’s at for Utahns! Utah has some of the best skiing and snowboarding destinations in the nation like Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbird, Sundance and Brighton to name a few. And for those of you who aren’t into things sports-related, get out your cutest snow gear and chill in the resorts with a hot toddy (or chocolate) in hand admiring the stunning views.
As you can see, you can’t beat the price of living in Utah. It’s a great place for families, young adults and retirees alike. Whether it’s job growth, housing opportunities or economic stability, Utah ranks first in all categories.
Of course, there are many other reasons to live in Utah besides that, such as the fact that it’s one of the most beautiful states. No matter where you are in Utah, you always have the amazing view of the mountains, and if you want to camp, bike, ride a motorcycle, golf, or ski- Utah is it!
Got a hankering for more awesome content? Check out our 'Cost of Living in Las Vegas' piece here.