What is the Cost of Living in Raleigh?

What is the Cost of Living in Raleigh?

Americans are worried about price increases for all necessities, as inflation has risen 3.2% in the past year. When you move, it's tempting for you to immediately jump into a new area. However, you should consider whether you can afford the new lifestyle.

This guide will cover the cost of living in Raleigh, North Carolina. It includes data for 2023, which covers trends and prices on all major necessities. These categories will help you budget for living comfortably in Raleigh, whether you’re renting or buying a home.

Cost of living in Raleigh

Raleigh's cost of living is lower than the national average. In addition to lower taxes, the cost of goods and services is generally below the national average. The median income of households in Raleigh, however, is 13.5% higher than the national average.


The median income of Raleigh residents is higher than average. The median income for Raleigh is $42,632, or $4,994 more than the national average of $37.638. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Carolina's unemployment rate for those 16 and older is 3.3%. The national rate is 3.5%.

These rates are likely so similar because North Carolina 's minimum wage is $7.25, which is the same as the federal minimum wage.

Raleigh is one third of the Research Triangle which is composed of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. The Research Triangle was named for the geographical location of Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill, and NC State. Raleigh is home to many tech and research positions. The Wall Street Journal ranked Raleigh as the fifth most hot job market in America.

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Housing costs

Raleigh real estate trends indicate that home values are increasing. According to the U.S. Census, the median home price in Raleigh is $335.100. This compares with the national median value of $309,000.

If you're looking to reduce your monthly expenses, you may want to consider purchasing a home. There are many great neighborhoods in Raleigh to choose from.


Many people are motivated to move by taxes. If you are considering moving to Raleigh, here are some things that you should know about the tax system:

  • Wake County's sales tax is 7.25%.
  • In 2023, the property tax in Wake County will be 0.66% up from 0.62%.
  • Income tax in North Carolina is 4.75%.
  • By 2027, the income tax rate in North Carolina will be 3.99%.
  • North Carolina has no capital gains tax.
  • North Carolina has no estate or inheritance tax.

This means that, compared to the national average tax rate:

  • Wake County property tax rates are 22.22% lower than the average, but will be reevaluated in 2024.
  • North Carolina's tax rate on income is 90.9% less than the average.
  • Wake County's rate of sales tax is 35% higher than the national average.

Some prospective buyers may be concerned about the sales tax rate. Remember that five states have a sales tax of 0%, which is a significant reduction from the average national rate.

Raleigh Utilities


When you move to a different city, it's easy to overlook fees like water, electricity, or waste management. Raleigh offers a variety of public and private utility providers, depending on the service.


There are several state-regulated, private electricity providers in Raleigh. According to energySage the average Raleigh electric bill is $176 per month, which is 18% less than the national average.

There are many simple eco-friendly swaps that you can do to reduce your energy costs, including switching to energy efficient light bulbs.


Dominion Energy supplies natural gas to the Raleigh area. Billing is based on "therms" consumed by residents. A therm is equal to the amount of natural gas required to raise one pound water's temperature by one degree Fahrenheit.

Dominion Energy will begin charging Raleigh residents in July 2023.

  • A $10 facilities charge per month
  • From November to April, you can get a therm for $1.14
  • From May to October, you can get a therm for $1.05

The average price for gas in Raleigh is $1.40 per therm.


Within city limits, the City of Raleigh supplies water. The City of Raleigh has a Calculator that estimates your water usage according to the number of showers you take each week. Raleigh bills water according to usage levels.

A watershed fee of $0.11 per 748 gallon water is also charged. This fee is used to fund the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative and improvements in the drinking water treatment system.

Waste management

The City of Raleigh also provides services for garbage, recycling and sewers. As of July 6, 2023, the residential recycling fee will be $4.60 per monthly, and the garbage collection fee will be $14.45 per monthly.

Raleigh Healthcare

Health care

According to a study by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services North Carolina residents spent an average of $8.917 on personal health care per person each year, compared with the national average which was $10,191.

The Health Care Cost Institute, Duke University and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina analyzed trends in health spending across North Carolina. This analysis revealed:

  • Wake County has the lowest health spending in North Carolina, at $7303 per annum.
  • In North Carolina, an average person spends $8.230 annually on health care.
  • The majority of people in Wake County have employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI), then Medicaid, Medicare FFS and Medicare Advantage.
  • Wake County residents use ESI and Medicare FS more than the statewide average.
  • The Wake County population is less likely to use Medicaid and Medicare advantage than the rest of the state.


Raleigh is an excellent city for foodies. It's full of hidden gems, and highly rated restaurants. How much will it cost to taste your way around the city? BLS estimates the price of all food and drinks will be up 5% in the Southern United States by 2023. Prices have risen in the following categories:

  • 3.8% for food at home
  • Food away from home - 7.4%
  • 0% on meat, poultry and fish
  • Fruits and vegetables: 3.4%

Food prices in the South are higher than the national average as of July 2023. However, the difference is small. Food prices have risen by 4.9% in the United States, but only 5% in the South.


GoRaleigh is the public transportation system in Raleigh that provides bus service all over the city. To determine the best route, you can use the Transit Map. It will reduce the commute times for Raleigh.

The GoRaleigh fare will be free until the end of June 2024.

  • Adults: $1.25
  • $0.60 for Medicare card users
  • Disability assistance of $0.60

GoRaleigh offers free rides to all riders who meet the following criteria

  • GoRaleigh ID Card for 65 years and older
  • Youth GoPass is available for ages 13-18.
  • Children under 12 without an ID card, unless they are taller than 60 inches

COVID-19 reduced fares in many cities across the country during 2020. The national average cost of a public transportation ride was $0.27 higher than the full-price GoRaleigh fare in 2020. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), public transit costs will increase by 19.9% by 2022. This is why having free public transportation in Raleigh is a huge advantage.

Gas prices in Raleigh are 9.3% cheaper if you choose to drive.

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