The Cost of Living in Virginia


For many Virginians, rising rent, home, and food prices are of serious concern. The unemployment rate is right around 2.8%, yet residents of the state complain that they can't pay their bills.

In fact, in a recent report, it was found that the cost of living in Virginia is $1978, which is 1.05 times more expensive than the average in the United States. Additionally, the average salary after taxes in Virginia is $3825, which is enough to cover living expenses for 1.9 months.

If you’re concerned about housing costs, you can always consider renting with a roommate for additional savings. For example, if you rent in Arlington and split the costs of renting a two-bedroom apartment, you can save $734 per month.

The rental prices in Virginia have significantly increased, averaging 13.7%, which is below the national average of 16.5%. Thankfully, you can find less expensive regions of Virginia with cheaper rentals, depending on your taste.

Unsurprisingly, food prices are rising. Remember that these figures are associated with food from local stores like Food Lion, Wal-Mart Supercenter, or Kroger, and prepared in the home.

Virginia is well known for crab boils, seafood and southern-style fares. The state is known for its cured country ham, served best with breakfast next to eggs, biscuits, gravy, and grits. When you move to Virginia, you have to make sure to try this breakfast staple out for yourself.

Here is a breakdown of the average cost for a three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant by city:

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 Virginia:

  • Arlington: $144.31
  • Alexandria: $149.34
  • Chesapeake: $204.96
  • Norfolk: $148.06
  • Virginia Beach: $148.06

The average monthly costs of internet in these major cities are:

  • Arlington: $65.62
  • Alexandria: $82.22
  • Chesapeake: $113
  • Norfolk: $74.88
  • Virginia Beach: $74.88

According to, The living wage in Virginia is $18.68 per hour, which is the basic wage needed to pay for essentials such as housing, food, and necessities for an individual adult. All of this, of course, must be taken into consideration with the type of lifestyle you plan to live. If you enjoy traveling or fine dining, you'll need much more than $18.68 an hour to live comfortably.

The average salary index in Virginia is $64,607 per year, roughly $31.06 per hour.

According to an old financial rule of thumb, you should spend more than one-third of your gross income on rent, you can begin calculating your recommended salary. For example, assuming you’re planning on renting in Arlington, where the median rent for a one-bedroom costs $2,200, according to the 30% rule, your monthly wages should be at least three times this amount. Therefore, your income should equal at least $7,333 per month or $88,000 annually.

Virginia residents, what is your take on this data? Do you think it's too expensive to live in Virginia, or affordable? Let us know in the comments!

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