Cost of Living

by Tim Alexander | Feb 04, 2016

In 2015 St. Louis ranked 2nd lowest for cost of living of the top 20 U.S. metropolitan areas.  With a composite rating of 92.5, St. Louis falls only behind Tampa, at 91.6. This makes St. Louis very affordable, as it is 7.5% less expensive to live in St. Louis than the average U.S. metropolitan area (100.0). It’s also below the higher costs of Dallas (96.1), Chicago (116.2), Boston (144.3), and New York’s Manhattan borough (227.4).

Every year, the Council for Community and Economic Research releases the comprehensive ACCRA Cost Of Living Index for U.S. metropolitan areas. Composite ratings are produced from the cost of grocery items, housing, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous goods/services for each area.

St. Louis Metro Cost of Living Index - Components 

100% Composite Index

Grocery Items




Health Care

Misc. Goods and Services








*The effect of taxes are not included in the Cost of Living Index due to the difficulty of comparing various taxes across areas.

St. Louis is especially affordable for housing prices.  St. Louis came in at 72.0 on the housing index, significantly below other cities.  This rating is important, as housing is the largest component of the Cost of Living Index.  Examiners look at newly constructed 2,400 sq. ft., 4 bedroom, 2 bath homes with attached 2-car garages. The average 2015 survey home priced in St. Louis was $207,522, significantly below the average price of $431,884 in Chicago, $232,736 in Cincinnati, and the U.S. at $313,530. This makes it about 51.2% less expensive for a house in St. Louis than in Chicago, 33.8% less than the national average, and 10.8% less than Cincinnati.

With housing and overall costs, St. Louis’ value and affordability is unmatched for a large metro area. This is one of St. Louis’ main strengths, combined with our educated workforce and other major metro assets.

For more cost comparisons between St. Louis and other metro areas, check out the ACCRA Cost of Living Calculator. The Calculator makes it easy to compare costs between different urban areas, and it allows for detailed cost comparisons of dozens of items between the St. Louis metro area and many other regions across the U.S.  Click here to access the calculator.