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The cost of living in San Jose

We’ve broken down the cost of living in San Jose, comparing it to other states and the US national average.

San Jose Skyline

It might be tough on the wallet, but living in the 408 sure is great.

Photo via @bennys_journey

We all know how San Jose widely cited as the most expensive city in the US, but today, we’re crunching the numbers for you.

Let’s talk cheddar. The median household income in Santa Clara County is $130,890 according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, California is #6 in the country for median income at ~$78,672 per household.

Cost of Living in San Jose, CA

The overall cost of living in San Jose is higher than the national average.

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As we’re sure you already know, the overall cost of living in San Jose is higher than the national average and higher than the rest of the state.

Cost of living expenses include healthcare, groceries, housing, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Breaking down the numbers

Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $130,890 annuallyaccording to experts, you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly gross income on rent and utilities. Don’t worry, we did the math for you — your max monthly budget would be $3,272. The average monthly rent for an apartment in San Jose is $2,972 — giving you just a bit of extra spending money.

Despite the high rent, according to a recent study by Attom Data Solutions, it’s actually more affordable to rent a home in Santa Clara County than to buy one.

A chart comparing San Francisco + San Jose cost of living expenses.

San Jose has more affordable healthcare than San Francisco.

Screenshot via

We took a look at the cost of living in San Jose compared to San Francisco. Here’s what we found:

  • The cost of living is 10.7% higher in San Francisco.
  • To maintain our San Jose standard of living in San Francisco, we would need to bring in an additional $66,418 to our household.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment in SF is $3,089, which is $468 more than San Jose.

Interested in seeing San Jose’s cost of living compared to cities in other states? We played around on’s cost of living calculator, where you can put in any city along with your current pre-tax household income to find out what other cities you could actually afford to live in.

Feeling sticker shock? San Jose’s Housing Department offers affordable housing applications. Local development firms are also building new apartments all the time — including 700+ affordable housing developments across five different sites around San Jose.

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