Cost of Living in Tennessee

cost of living in Tennessee 2021

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    (Last Updated – 12/2021)

    If you enjoy sunny days but also want to experience all of the seasons (no shade meant toward California), then you’ll appreciate the fact that Tennessee has about 207 sunny days a year, two more days than the national average.

    The mild weather in Tennessee (the state gets about 5 inches of snow per year, compared with the U.S. average of 28 inches) is just one of the draws. The fact that the Volunteer State assesses no state income tax and has the sixth-lowest cost of living in the country is also appealing.

    What is the cost of living in Tennessee? Keep reading to find out.

    What’s the Average Cost of Living in Tennessee

    Average Cost of Living in Tennessee: $37,499 per year

    If you’re planning to move to Tennessee, your monthly budget might get a nice break. Why? Tennessee is among the most affordable 10 states, at No. 6, according to MERIC data gathered in the third quarter of 2021.

    You could hop down to Mississippi (the lowest cost of living among 50 states and the District of Columbia), Alabama (fourth lowest), or Georgia (fifth lowest), but Tennessee is more affordable than nearby states like Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida.

    So what is the average cost of living in Tennessee? Total yearly personal consumption cost is $37,499, on average, according to 2020 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis . Here’s what you can expect to spend across major purchasing categories.


    Average Annual Per-Capita Cost in Tennessee

    Housing and Utilities


    Health Care


    Food and Beverages (non-restaurant)


    Gas and Energy Goods


    All Other Personal Expenditures


    That translates to $3,125 in average monthly expenses for a Tennessean.

    Housing Costs in Tennessee

    Average Housing Costs in Tennessee: $746 to $1,244 per month

    Considering that Tennessee is one of the cheapest states to live in, it comes as no surprise that the average home price is on the lower side. Zillow calculated the typical home value as about $253,000 in late 2021.

    The latest census data gives an idea of what to expect housing costs to look like in Tennessee on a monthly basis:

    •  Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,244

    •  Median studio rent: $746

    •  Median one-bedroom rent: $780

    •  Median two-bedroom rent: $866

    •  Median three-bedroom rent: $1,000

    •  Median four-bedroom rent: $1,148

    •  Median gross rent: $904

    To get a clearer picture of what the Tennessee housing market is like, these are typical home values in some major Tennessee cities, according to Zillow data sourced in late 2021.

    Tennessee City

    Typical Home Price

    Union City
























    Johnson City


























    (Nashville Housing Market Trends)


    Utility Costs in Tennessee

    Average Utility Costs in Tennessee: $391 per month

    While not the most exciting expenses, utilities are a necessary one you’ll have to finance every month. Here’s what utilities tend to cost on a monthly basis in Tennessee.


    Average Tennessee Bill





    Cable & Internet




    Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Sales, Revenue, and Average Price, 2021;; DoxoInsights, U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report 2021; and, What Is the Average Water Bill?

    Groceries & Food

    Average Grocery & Food Costs in Tennessee: $242 per person, per month

    A major contributor to your cost of living will be your grocery spending. So how much might you spend on food if you move to Tennessee?

    If Tennessee’s average annual (non-restaurant) food cost per person is $2,906, that’s about $242 per month.

    The Council for Community and Economic Research , which ranks the food costs in major American cities, ranked Tennessee cities’ grocery costs for the second quarter of 2021, from lowest to highest.

    Tennessee City

    Grocery Items Index


















    Average Transportation Costs in Tennessee: $5,113 to $13,896 per year

    Going to and fro can add up, especially if you have a big family. This is a basic breakdown of how annual transportation costs can vary based on family size in Tennessee, according to data from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator .

    Family Makeup

    Average Annual Transportation Cost

    One adult, no children


    Two working adults, no children


    Two working adults, two children


    Health Care

    Average Health Care Costs in Tennessee: $6,295 per person, per year

    While the average annual per-person cost of health care in Tennessee is $6,295, according to the 2020 Bureau of Economic Analysis report, what you will actually spend on health care may look very different.

    Health care spending is determined by location, medical needs, and coverage.

    Child Care

    Average Child Care Costs in Tennessee: $781 to $1,099 or more per child, per month

    No matter what state you live in, child care is often a big expense.

    Tennesseans may get help with the costs through the Smart Steps program .

    Want to estimate your child care budget? Here are average monthly child care costs in Tennessee, according to 2021 data from .

    Type of Child Care

    Average Cost Per Month, Per Child

    Infant Classroom


    Toddler Classroom


    Home-based Family Child Care



    Highest Marginal Tax Rate in Tennessee: N/A

    Most states and the District of Columbia charge an income tax, but Tennessee does not, according to the Tax Foundation’s State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2021 .

    Residents also don’t have to pay a state income tax in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Washington, South Dakota, Texas, or Wyoming.

    Miscellaneous Costs

    Once you’ve tackled all of the necessary expenses, it’s time to enjoy yourself. If estimated personal expenditures are $20,469 per year, here’s what some of that fun spending might be going toward (costs are accurate as of Nov. 24, 2021):

    •  A family-friendly day for Dolly Parton and theme park lovers can be spent at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge: Tickets start at $84

    •  Music lovers can soak up some history at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville: Tickets start at $17.95

    •  For even more music history stop by Graceland in Memphis, the former home of Elvis Presley: Entrance and tours start at $26 and go as high as $250

    How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Tennessee?

    We all have our own idea of what it means to live “comfortably.” Your family size, income, lifestyle, and location can all influence how accessible a comfortable style of living is.

    But to give you an idea of how easy it is to live in Tennessee, U.S. News & World Report’s Affordability
    , which measure the average cost of living in a given state against the average household income, put Tennessee in 17th place.

    Remember that MERIC views the cost of living in Tennessee even more favorably, finding the state to have the sixth-lowest cost of living in the country.

    What City Has the Lowest Cost of Living in Tennessee?

    If you’re eager to make a move to Tennessee but are on a budget, you’ll want to find the right spot to call home. These are 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 83.6, Knoxville is the most affordable major Tennessee city to live in, the council found. From museums to nightlife to fine dining, Knoxville offers a lot of bang for the buck.


    Next up is Jackson, with a cost-of-living index of just 84.5. You’ll hear Jackson referred to as Hub City. This city is located between Memphis and Nashville, which means you’ll have access to big-city amenities. Jackson is known for being the home of rockabilly, so get ready to meet lots of music lovers.


    The third-most affordable city in Tennessee is Memphis, with a cost-of-living index of 85.4. This city is famous for its barbecue. You may want to make room in your budget for checking out beloved restaurants like A&R Bar-B-Que and the Bar-B-Q Shop.

    SoFi Home Loans

    With Dolly, Elvis, rockabilly, and barbecue, the Volunteer State offers a taste of the South at an affordable price. If the low cost of living in Tennessee is appealing, you may find yourself thinking about houses.

    Although there are many home loans on the market to choose from, SoFi offers a range of mortgage loans at competitive interest rates and with as little as 5% down.

    You can check your rate in just two minutes.

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