Understanding the Real Cost of Living in Ohio: A Comprehensive Guide

Is Ohio a Cheap Place to Live?

Seeking clarity on the cost of living in Ohio? You're in the right place. From the price of property to the pinch at the pump, we unpack Ohio's living costs. Whether you're considering moving to Ohio or a resident crunching next year's budget numbers, Ohio's expenses typically dip below the national average, offering a blend of affordability and quality living. Expect a thorough breakdown of housing, transportation, healthcare, and more, equipping you with the knowledge to navigate Ohio's economy effectively.

Quick Overview

  • Ohio offers an affordable housing market with a median home price in the low $200s and a median rent of $1,250, both below national averages.
  • Transportation is a significant expense in Ohio, with households typically spending about 27% of their income on it.
  • Ohio's health care expenses are slightly more affordable than national averages, with average annual health insurance costs of $6,845 per person.
  • Of Ohio's biggest cities, Columbus is the most expensive compared to Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati.

Evaluating Ohio Housing Expenses

Ohio's housing market is appealing due to its relatively low home prices. Given that housing constitutes a significant chunk of monthly expenses, Ohio stands out for its affordability. With the median home price in Ohio typically floating around the low $200s and an appreciation rate of about 5.4%, it offers a robust and dynamic housing market.

In contrast to the national median, Ohio's rental market is more affordable, making it an attractive option for those who prefer to rent. Ohio offers a stable and diverse rental landscape with a median rent of $1,250 and a wide range of rent prices across different property types.

Typical Home Values

The variation in housing costs across Ohio cities adds to the diversity of the housing market. For instance, the average cost in:

  • Dayton stands at around $136,000
  • Columbus goes as high as $233,600+
  • Cleveland is around $129,900
  • Cincinnati is nearly $223,800

The affordability of buying a house in Ohio gives residents an advantage, making it easier to attain homeownership benefits like building equity.

Rental Market Analysis

In the rental sector, Ohio's market remains modest. The median rent in Ohio has remained stable at about $1,250 from January 2023 to February 2024, indicating a reliable market. This affordability, combined with a wide range of rent prices from $500 to more than $5,000, ensures a diverse selection of rental properties.

With about 14,000 rental properties on the market, Ohio presents a healthy supply for those looking to rent. This abundance of rental options, combined with the lower-than-average rent prices, gives Ohio renters an advantage in terms of choice and affordability.

Decoding Ohio Transportation Costs

As the second-largest expense for consumers, transportation significantly impacts Ohio's cost of living. A typical Ohio household spends approximately $13,800 per year on transportation, with car ownership being the primary expense. This expenditure is not limited to multi-person households alone; the average single adult in Ohio incurs annual transportation expenses of around $9,850.

When compared to the national average of 22%, Ohio households typically allocate about 27% of their income to transportation costs. This higher allocation underscores the importance of transportation in Ohio's overall cost of living.

Commuter Expenses

There is a noticeable variation in commuter expenses across different cities in Ohio. The average cost of gas in Ohio is around $3.17 a gallon, which is a considerable expense for those commuting by car.

When it comes to transportation costs, Dayton rates at 81.1 and Columbus at 90.1 compared to the national average of 100, indicating a lower commuter expense in these cities. In contrast, Cleveland and Cincinnati have slightly higher transportation cost indices at 90.5 and 93.6, respectively. 

Vehicle Insurance Rates

The vehicle insurance rates in Ohio depict a favorable facet of the state's transportation costs. Ohio's average car insurance premium is $1,023 per year, lower than the national average, thus providing a cost advantage to Ohio residents. This affordability is attractive for drivers looking to manage their vehicle-related expenses.

These lower-than-average car insurance rates significantly affect the real cost of vehicle ownership and, consequently, the overall cost of living in Ohio.

Health Care Expenditures in Ohio

Cost of Healthcare in Ohio

Health care, a crucial component of living expenses, is relatively affordable in Ohio. The average Ohio cost of health insurance is $6,845 per person, which is $136 below the national average. For a family of four, the cost amounts to about $27,380, which is around $1,620 less than the national average annual healthcare costs of $12,950.

Average annual healthcare costs in Ohio are typically about $10,100, which ranks 18th nationally. These figures underscore Ohio's affordable healthcare costs relative to the national averages, contributing to the overall cost-effectiveness of living in Ohio.

Food and Grocery Spending in Ohio

Food and grocery expenditures likewise play a substantial role in the cost of living in Ohio. An individual in Columbus, Ohio, spends approximately $340 monthly on groceries. This figure is below the average annual grocery cost for U.S. households, which is about $5,260, or around $438 per month.

Apart from groceries, Ohio residents also spend about $2,410 per year on average dining out. These expenses, combined with grocery bills, shape the food and dining landscape for residents of Ohio.

Child and Dependent Care Costs in Ohio

Childcare costs in Ohio, being below the national average, offer relative affordability for families. The average annual cost for infant care in Ohio is around $9,700 at a childcare center, which breaks down to about $808 per month. For a 4-year-old, the annual childcare cost in Ohio is around $7,900, averaging $658 per month.

In Columbus, Ohio, the annual cost for infant care at a childcare center is $12,310 and for at-home care, it's $10,860. These figures, while above the state average, are still below the national average, illustrating the affordability of childcare in Ohio.

Taxation in Ohio: Local and State Taxes

Ohio Tax Rates

Another significant factor impacting the cost of living in Ohio United States is taxation, and Ohio residents benefit from tax rates that are lower than the national average. Ohio's state individual income tax brackets start at 0% for annual incomes up to $26,050, with the highest rate being 3.75% for incomes over $115,300. This progressive tax system helps to balance the tax burden across different income groups.

Typical Salary in Ohio

In Ohio, the financial landscape for households and individuals showcases a range of income statistics illuminating the state's economic health. The median household income is around $66,990, providing a baseline for understanding what makes a "good salary" in Ohio. This figure is complemented by an average household income of $90,958, suggesting a significant variance in household earnings.

On an individual level, the average salary in Ohio is around $47,930, which translates to approximately $23 per hour.

The income levels in Ohio's urban centers tend to be higher than the state average, reflecting the economic opportunities available in these areas. For example, the city of Cleveland boasts an average salary of around $57,000.

Comparing Cost of Living Across Ohio Cities

There is a noticeable variation in the cost of living across Ohio's cities. The cost of living index, which measures the relative cost of living over time or regions, helps us understand these differences.

For instance, the cost of living index for Ohio cities is as follows:

CityCost of Living Index
Cleveland 83.0
Cincinnati 88.3
Dayton 79.8
Columbus 91.4

Information via BestPlaces.net

These numbers reference the United States' average index of 100.

These variances in cost of living highlight the general affordability of living costs in Ohio. While some cities are more affordable than others, all are considered affordable compared to the national average.

Entertainment and Leisure Costs in Ohio

Cost of Things to Do in Ohio

In addition to essential living expenses, don't forget to allocate funds for entertainment and leisure activities. For example, in Columbus, residents can expect to pay around $500 a year or $40 a month for a gym membership. 

Sports enthusiasts spend a median of $74 per year participating in sports. Moviegoers in Ohio spend around $24 for a pair of tickets. These entertainment and leisure expenses, while contributing to the overall cost of living, also enhance the quality of life in Ohio.

Ohio Is an Affordable Place to Live

Ohio offers a unique blend of affordability and quality of life. From its diverse housing market and affordable healthcare to its lower-than-average tax burden and varied entertainment options, Ohio presents an attractive package for potential residents. While the cost of living varies across its cities, the overall cost-effectiveness of Ohio makes it a compelling choice for those seeking a balance between affordability and quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where does Ohio rank in cost of living?

Ohio ranks below the national average in terms of cost of living. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center puts it as the 23rd cheapest state to live in the U.S.

What is the average housing cost in Ohio?

The average home value in Ohio is around $213,150, making it a more affordable housing option compared to many other states.

How much money do you need to live in Ohio?

On average, a family of four needs just over $48,000 per year, while a single person needs around $13,730 annually to live in Ohio—though neither of these figures include the cost of housing. Keep in mind that living costs are 11% lower than the national average.

What is the cost of health insurance in Ohio?

The average cost of health insurance in Ohio is $6,845 per person, which is $136 below the national average.

What is the average annual grocery cost in Ohio?

On average, an individual in Ohio spends around $340 per month on groceries.

Ready to start looking for your new home in Ohio? Call The Young Team at (216) 402-4774 today to get in touch with a local real estate expert who can help you start your homebuying journey.

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