A Comprehensive Guide on Cost of Living in Raleigh NC

5 minute read
Cost of Living in Raleigh NC: A Complete Guide

Deciding to study abroad is overwhelming enough, without considering preparations to relocate to another country. If you’re thinking about moving to Raleigh, NC, you might be wondering how much it costs to live in this vibrant and growing city.
This blog will give you a detailed guide to the cost of living in Raleigh, NC, covering everything from housing and utilities to groceries and transportation.
We will also share some tips on saving money and enjoying the best that Raleigh offers. So let’s get started!

NicknameCity of Oaks
Major industriesTechnology, education, healthcare, banking, government

Also Read: Student Accommodation in USA

Why Choose Raleigh NC to Study Abroad?

Raleigh is a fast-growing city that offers a high quality of life, a diverse economy, and a vibrant culture, making it a popular choice for many international students along with other benefits mentioned below:

1. Diversity and Inclusion 

Home to the most diverse student body in North Carolina, Raleigh hosts students from more than 120 different countries. You can find a welcoming and supportive community at NC State University and in the city of Raleigh.

2. Academic Excellence and Innovation

North Carolina State University ranks among the top public universities in the US and the world, especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It’s also a leader in research, patents, and startups. You can have many opportunities to learn from and collaborate with faculty and industry experts.

3. Affordability and Value 

The cost of living in Raleigh NC is lower than many other US cities, making it more affordable for international students to study and live there. NC State also offers competitive tuition rates, scholarships, and financial aid for international students.

4. Career Readiness and Employability

Raleigh is part of the Research Triangle region, which is home to many of the country’s leading research and technology companies. You can benefit from NC State’s strong connections with employers, internships, career fairs, and alumni networks.

5. Enrichment and Engagement

Raleigh offers a vibrant culture, arts, entertainment, and outdoor activities for its students to enjoy. You can involve yourself in campus life through clubs, organizations, events, and programs that cater to your interests and needs.

Also Read: How to Live Abroad as a Student

Cost of Living in Raleigh NC

The living costs in Raleigh depend on various factors, like your lifestyle, preferences, and needs. On average, the monthly cost of living in Raleigh NC ranges between $800-$1300 (INR 65k-1L) excluding the rent. Here’s a detailed breakdown of other living costs for the city:

1. Accommodation/Housing

PlaceAverage Monthly Rent
1 bedroom apartment in the city center$1648 (INR 1.3L)
1 bedroom apartment outside the city center$1483 (INR 1.2L)
3 bedroom apartment in the city center$2869 (INR 2.3L)
3 bedroom apartment outside the city center$2203 (INR 1.8L)

2. Food/Restaurants

The average monthly food cost for a single person in Raleigh NC is $377. This includes groceries and eating out. A basic lunchtime menu in the business district costs $21, while a combo meal in a fast food restaurant costs $9. 

Eggs (1 dozen)$6
Milk (1 gallon)$4
Loaf of Bread$4
Whole fat milk (1 litre)$0.99
Local cheese (500 g)$5.43
Apples (1 kg)$4.55
Tomatoes (1 kg)$5.29
Potatoes (1 kg)$2.82

3. Transportation and Commutation

The average monthly transportation cost for a single person in Raleigh NC is $75 for a monthly bus pass or $0.58 per mile for driving. For people who prefer local transport, here’s what the transportation cost looks like:

One way ticket on local transport$2.25
Taxi (kilometre price)$1.56
Gasoline (1 gallon)$3.89

4. Utility Bill/Expenses

The average monthly utility costs depend on the type of accommodation you’re living in and the facilities that come with it. These are some of the costs incurred:

UtilityAverage Monthly Cost 
One-person household in a 45m2 studio$150
Two-person household in an 85m2 apartment (including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage)$244
Internet (8 mbps)$75

5. Entertainment/Recreation/Hangout places

The average monthly entertainment cost for a single person in Raleigh NC is $224. This includes going out, hobbies, sports, and leisure activities.
Here’s what other modes of entertainment, recreation, and hangouts cost: 

A bottle of wine $16
A domestic beer in the supermarket$3.41
A movie ticket$12
An escape room game$25

Average Tuition Fees in Raleigh NC

The average tuition fees in Raleigh NC depend on the type and level of the program you are interested in, and your residency status. Here are some estimates of the tuition fees (excluding other expenses like books, supplies, housing, or transportation) for different types of programs in Raleigh NC: 

Type of ProgramAverage Tuition Cost (per year)
Undergraduate$29,300 per year
Graduate$30.906 per year
Community college programs$8,792 per year

Also Read: Cost of Living in USA

How to Reduce the Cost of Living in Raleigh NC?

Saving money while living in Raleigh NC can be challenging, but not impossible. There are many ways to reduce your expenses, depending on your situation and goals. Here are some tips on saving money to reduce the cost of living in Raleigh NC:

  1. The first step to saving money is to know how much you spend. Use a budgeting app, a spreadsheet, or a notebook to record all your expenses and help you identify where your money goes and where you can cut back or save more.
  2. While renting a place, try to negotiate a lower rent with your landlord, find a roommate to share the costs, or move to a cheaper area or a smaller space.
  3. Save money on food and groceries by planning your meals ahead, cooking at home more often, buying in bulk, using coupons and discounts, shopping at farmers’ markets or ethnic stores, and avoiding food waste.
  4. Save money on transportation and commuting by using public transit more often, carpooling with co-workers or friends, biking or walking when possible, maintaining your car regularly, and comparing gas prices before filling up.
  5. Save money on utilities and bills by switching to energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, adjusting your thermostat, unplugging unused devices, using less water, and comparing providers and plans for internet, phone, cable, and insurance.
  6. Entertainment and recreation are important for your well-being, but they can also be costly if you are not careful. Set a limit for how much you spend on hobbies, sports, games, etc., and find creative ways to have fun at home or with friends.

Relevant Reads:

Cost of Living in Perth: A Comprehensive GuideCost of Living in Cambodia: A Guide on Expected Expenses
Cost of Living in Wales: A Comprehensive Guide on Wales’s ExpenseCost of Living in Doha: A Guide on Expected Expenses
Cost of Living in Brussels: A Guide on Expected ExpensesCost of Living in Scotland: A Guide on Expected Expenses


Q1. Is it expensive to live in Raleigh NC?

A. The overall cost of living in Raleigh NC is 2.4% higher than the national average. However, it is lower than some other popular cities like New York (87.3% higher), San Francisco (80.3% higher), Boston (48.2% higher), and Seattle (24.5% higher).

Q2. What salary do I need to live in Raleigh NC?

A. The salary you need to live in Raleigh NC depends on your lifestyle, preferences, and needs. But the average annual salary required to live in Raleigh NC is $66,000.

Q3. How much do I need to live comfortably in Raleigh NC?

A. To live comfortably in Raleigh NC, you may need a salary of at least $80,000 per year.

We hope you got all the information regarding the cost of living in Raleigh NC. For more information on the cost of living abroad, stay tuned to Leverage Edu.

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