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If you visit Utah you may notice a lot of people with smiles on their faces. Utah is the happiest state in the entire country, according to a 2021 study by WalletHub, which took factors like economic, emotional, and physical and social health into consideration when ranking all U.S. states.
If you want to get in on some of that happiness, a move to Utah may be in order. To get a better idea if a move to the Beehive State is the right fit for your finances, keep reading to learn more about the Utah cost of living. That way you can keep your budget happy too.
What’s the Average Cost of Living in Utah?
Average Cost of Living in Utah: $37,369 per year
Before you make any decisions about where to put down roots, you might want to take your monthly budget into consideration.
Thinking about moving to Utah? Get ready to tap your savings or earn quite a bit, as Utah has the 31st lowest cost of living across the United States, according to MERIC’s 2021 Cost of Living Index data gathered in the third quarter of 2021.
If Utah is out of your price range, you can consider making a move to Wyoming, which is in the same region but ranks 18th for states with the lowest cost of living.
How much does it cost to live in Utah? According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average total personal consumption cost in Utah is $37,369 annually. Let’s take a closer look at that spending:
Average Annual Per-Capita Cost in Utah
Housing and Utilities
Food and Beverages (non-restaurant)
Gas and Energy Goods
All Other Personal Expenditures
Looked at as average monthly expenses, that’s $3,114.
Housing Costs in Utah
Average Housing Costs in Utah: $835 to $1,580 per month
Housing in Utah can be expensive, but it can also be on the affordable side. How much you’ll spend depends on what type of living arrangements you choose. With more than 1.1 million housing units, according to 2019 census data, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
Utah’s typical home value was over $505,000 in late 2021, according to Zillow, but this is what you can expect to spend monthly if owning or renting, the latest census data shows.
• Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,551
• Median studio rent: $835
• Median one-bedroom rent: $922
• Median two-bedroom rent: $1,055
• Median three-bedroom rent: $1,237
• Median four-bedroom rent: $1,580
• Median gross rent: $1,098
Where you live in Utah can play a major role in how much you spend on housing. These are the typical home values for a handful of major Utah cities, according to Zillow, in late 2021.
Typical Home Price
Salt Lake City
Utility Costs in Utah
Average Utility Costs in Utah: $268 per month
How much should you budget for utilities every month if you plan to live in Utah? Here’s what the average monthly utility costs look like.
Average Utah Bill
Cable & Internet
Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Sales, Revenue, and Average Price, 2021; Inspirecleanenergy.com; DoxoInsights, U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report 2021; and Rentcafe.com, What Is the Average Water Bill?
Groceries & Food
Average Grocery & Food Costs in Utah: $253 per person, per month
How much you spend on food each month can vary depending on where you live. The Bureau of Economic Analysis found that Utah’s average annual (non-restaurant) food cost per person is $3,040, which equates to about $253 a month
Average Transportation Costs in Utah: $4,900 to $13,317 per year
From weekend ski trips to more mundane weekday commutes, transportation expenses add up. To get a clearer idea of how much you’d spend on transportation in Utah, take a look at the following annual estimates from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator .
That’s fairly low when you consider the fact that not too far away, Californians are paying as much as 13.3% in a graduated-rate state income tax system. That said, a change in plans and a move to Nevada will result in you not having to pay any state income tax at all.
After you pay all of your bills, it’s time to kick back and relax. What does it cost to pass the time in Utah? According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal expenditures come out to $21,486 per person, per year.
These fun outings may be where some of that money is going (costs are accurate as of Nov. 17, 2021):
• A family-friendly educational day at the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City: $0 to $19.95, depending on age.
• More family fun at the Hogle Zoo, also in Salt Lake City: $0 to $19.95, depending on age.
• Exploring Zion National Park: $35 per vehicle for seven days.
How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Utah?
How accessible a comfortable style of living feels to you will vary depending on your family’s needs and your chosen lifestyle, as well as where you live.
So, just how easy is it to live comfortably in Utah? Utah ranks 34th in the U.S. News & World Report’s Affordability Rankings which means it’s one of the most expensive states in the country to live in. The rankings measure the average cost of living against the average amount of money most households in that state have.
As mentioned, MERIC gave Utah a better but still high ranking (31st) on its lowest-cost-of-living list.
What City Has the Lowest Cost of Living in Utah?
To make it easier to have a lower-cost lifestyle in Utah, take a look at the three major cities with the lowest cost of living, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index for the second quarter of 2021.
With a cost-of-living index of 96.1, Cedar City is the most affordable major city in Utah, the council says. How many people call Cedar City home? Just shy of 35,000, according to the most recent census data. If you enjoy a low cost of living and a small-town feel, Cedar City may be the right fit for you.
Ogden came in second place, with a cost-of-living ranking of 96.3. Ogden is just 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, so you can easily get away for a vacation or enjoy everything the local area has to offer. You’ll also be close to Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, where you can explore hundreds of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.
If Cedar Valley is too small for you, try Provo (cost-of-living index of 99.5), which is home to over 110,000 people, according to 2019 census data, and 8,700 businesses, so finding gainful employment should be doable if you need a new job post-move, but home values in the Provo-Orem metro area are on the steep side.
SoFi Home Loans
Living in Utah has its perks, including close proximity to world-renowned ski resorts, but keep in mind that the cost of living in Utah is relatively high. If you’re drawn by all the buzz of the Beehive State and want to buy a home, you might need to secure a mortgage.
Although there are many home loans on the market to choose from, SoFi offers a range of fixed-rate mortgage loans at competitive interest rates and with as little as 5% down.
Photo credit: iStock/Rui Mesquita Cordeiro SoFi Loan Products
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