What is the Cost of Living in Pennsylvania?
Thinking of moving to Pennsylvania? You are not alone. In 2018 Pennsylvania, which is a sort of middle point between the Northeastern states, the Southern states, the Atlantic seaboard, and the Midwest, was ranked the 10th most popular destination for people moving from another state.
According to StorageCafé, costs of moving to the Keystone State were on average cheaper than moving to other states by up to $1,200. And this is just the beginning! The cost of living index scores the average cost of living in Pennsylvania favorably at 97 out of a national average of 100.
Home Costs and Prices
Housing is one of the biggest costs that people incur. However, in this category, the PA cost of living does not disappoint. The median home price in Pennsylvania is $194,000, which puts the state in the mid to lower range of the country. In comparison, West Virginia is the cheapest state, with a median home value of $108,236. Alternatively, Hawaii is the most expensive, state with a median home value of $636,451. Business Insider approximates that at that home value, one could buy a 5-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in Bristol, or a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in Glenolden. As you can see, when evaluating the cost of living in Pennsylvania, compared to the national average, homes are very affordable compared to other areas.
This is another area where the cost of living in PA lives up to its reputation. Not only does the state have nationally-ranked hospitals that provide world-class quality and care, but in terms of health care costs, access and outcomes Pennsylvania was ranked 18th in the country and made the top 10 when it came to healthcare access. Even better, PA is well known for its scenic landscapes. These include mountain trails, vast lakes and stunning forests that have created a healthy and vibrant outdoor culture which all-round contributes to PA’s high quality of life. All of this means the average cost of living in PA includes topnotch healthcare--which you can’t put a number on!
Of course, when discussing the cost of living PA school districts are an important factor. Fortunately, Pennsylvania offers an exceptional educational system, with two school districts ranked in the top 10. And this trend of superior education quality runs through to higher level education as well. The state’s higher education system is composed of 260 colleges and universities. In this regard, the Pennsylvania living cost is above the country average due to the fact that state has the Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania which are ranked highly not just in the USA but frequently appear in top-of lists worldwide for their programs in law, medical research, engineering, nursing and business.
Day to Day Cost of living in Pennsylvania
PA offers an extremely reasonable cost of living compared to several other states. In fact, it ranks 32nd in the United States for cost of living. When it comes to groceries, utilities and transportation, Pennsylvania costs a little higher than the national average but not by much. And, this is somewhat offset by the decent wages made by workers in the state which average $22 per hour. This is considerably higher than the minimum average of $12 - $15 and much nearer the national average of $23 - $27. For a more accurate picture on the Pennsylvania cost of living comparison, the average spend in Philadelphia for utilities is below the national average but this is balanced against higher food cost price and transportation per month.
Another thing to consider when discussing the Pennsylvania cost of living is employment opportunities. Pennsylvania hosts about 20 of the Fortune 500 companies which has boosted the state’s economy and job market. Healthcare practitioners and technical workers in professions such as law, architecture, and engineering had the highest salaries with the healthcare and manufacturing sectors hiring the most people. These sectors are followed by education and training. Overall, PA has unemployment rates lower than 5% in most major towns. This is almost a full percentage point less than the national average. Coupled with average job growth rates of 1.3% in the main sectors and relatively high hourly salary rates means that PA offers decent employment prospects for many Americans. As a result, it’s a very appealing place to relocate.
This is the one area where the cost of living in Pennsylvania performs poorly with childcare costs almost being almost as high as rent prices for good quality care. Estimates indicate that infant care for one child would take up 15.8% of a typical family's income in PA which for lower income workers could be as high as 70% of their income. In response to this, the state is progressively implementing measures and subsidies to mitigate the exorbitant childcare costs. Once done, this will drastically improve the PA cost of living into an even more manageable range.
Based on the above, it is clear that the cost of living in Pennsylvania is both decent and on the whole quite manageable. To learn more as you research your possible move to Pennsylvania, don’t hesitate to contact Mainline Homes who’s on-the-ground expertise will help you make the most informed choices about your move. We offer homes for sale in some of the most popular Main Line neighborhoods including Bryn Mawr and Gladwyne. Get started on your home search today!
Janis Peterson, REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, SRES, CSP
Main Line Homes Luxury Real Estate Agent