Cost of Living in Chicago: Budgeting for the Windy City

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Cost of Living in Chicago

Chicago has higher standards of living as this city offers a luxurious and quality lifestyle. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Chicago is listed among the most livable cities in the world. The monthly cost of living in Chicago can vary between $4400 to $4600 for a family of four.


The cost of living in the USA is comparatively higher when compared to any Asian city like New Delhi, Manila or Jakarta. If you are planning to move to a developed and modern city like Chicago, it can cost you millions of dollars, depending on factors such as the area you want to live in, the property you want to buy or rent, and other expenses. Let’s understand in detail what are the costs of living in Chicago. 

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Cost of Living in Chicago

There are various factors that come into play when talking about the cost of living in Chicago, such as housing costs, food and healthcare costs, and transportation and utility costs.

Talking about the basic necessities of living, such as food groceries, and clothing, Chicago is 6% more expensive than the national average of the USA. According to the Cost of Living Index released by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) in 2023, the monthly cost of living in Chicago for a single person is $1200 (excluding house rent). The table below highlights the division of cost of living in Chicago.

CategoriesMonthly CostComparison with National Average
Housing$1200 to $145050% higher
Utilities$150 to $1755% lower
Food and Healthcare$350 to $450 5% higher
Transportation$75 to $11022% higher

Housing Cost

Buying or renting a house in Chicago depends on factors like its location, features included, total space, etc. Some of the most expensive neighborhoods in Chicago like Lincoln Park, the North Side, Fulton Market, Logan Square, etc. where prices of a 2-bedroom apartment start from $120,000 to $135,000. 

Renting a 2-bedroom apartment in or around Chicago City Central starts from around $2250 to $2500 per month. If you are looking for an affordable apartment in Chicago, it’s better to choose a property far from the city centre, where prices are comparatively low.

Also Read – Cost of Studying in the USA

Food and Healthcare Cost

One of the major factors that make Chicago an expensive city is the food and healthcare cost, which is a necessity for everyday life. Food items in Chicago are 5% more expensive than the national average. Buying a gallon of milk in Chicago can cost around $3. The table below highlights the prices of food items in Chicago.

Food ItemsCost
Milk (per/ gallon)$3
Banana $0.67
Sugar (per/ kg)$3.73
Cooking Oil (per/ gallon)$7.04

Visiting a doctor, dentist or any health professional can cost you a couple of hundred bucks in case you don’t have medical insurance. Getting medical insurance in Chicago can cost around $90 to $110.

Transportation Cost

With an advanced and fast transportation system in Chicago, a community on a daily basis and out of station has become more convenient. Chicago has high-speed rails, shared mobility services, smart transportation management system and is promoting green transportation initiatives.

Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) train system is known as ‘L’ and it consists of more than 140 stations covering almost the entire city and nearby suburbs. The table below shows the transportation cost in Chicago.

Transportation FacilitiesCost
30 days CTA pass$75
Monthly bus pass$20
Taxi charge per ride$15

Utility Cost

Utility costs in Chicago can cost you between $150 to $175, which can vary depending on factors such as the size of your house, daily energy consumption, the specific utility provider in your area, etc. Utility packages include electricity, water, cooking gas, internet cable, etc. The table below shows the utility cost in Chicago.

Utility ItemsMonthly Cost
Electricity Bill$100 to $120
Internet and Cables$40 to $60
Cooking Gas$8 to $15
Water Bill$30 to $40
Garbage and Recycling$10 to $20


Q1. What is the cost of living in Chicago?

A. The monthly cost of living in Chicago for a single person can be between $1240 and $1499 (excluding house rent). For a family of four, the monthly cost of living in Chicago can be between $4450 to $4800.

Q2. Which is the most budget-friendly city in the USA?

A. Some of the most budget-friendly cities in the USA are; Brownsville (Texas), Evansville (Indiana), Erie (Pennsylvania), and Wichita Falls (Texas).

Q3. Is food expensive in Chicago?

A. Food items in Chicago are 7% higher than the average state price and 5% higher than the national average price in the USA. A loaf of bread in Chicago can cost around $3.

This was all about the Cost of Living in Chicago, USA. If you have further queries or need assistance with your study abroad journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experts at Leverage Edu. We are here to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience for you.

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