Vermont is a beautiful lush green state with over 4.5 million acres of pristine, undisturbed forestland. There are only three cities in the state with over 20,000 people, as most of Vermont’s population is spread out across its sparsely populated farms and woodlands.
Vermont also has the second-lowest population in the U.S. with just 623,000 residents; only Wyoming has a lower population. If you despise bumper-to-bumper traffic or are just looking for a scenic remote location to get away, Vermont could be the perfect state for you
The fact that Vermont isn’t the most expensive state for its region makes it an attractive draw to those who live in neighboring states, especially nearby folks living in high-cost Massachusetts and New York. However, if you’re thinking of moving up to Vermont, you’ll want to keep an eye on those taxes and utility costs (heating a home in the deep New England winter isn’t cheap).
Let’s take a deep dive into the cost of living in Vermont.
What’s the Average Cost of Living in Vermont?
Average Cost of Living in Vermont: $47,397 per year
Vermont has an above-average cost of living when compared to the rest of the United States, but this is normal when compared to its New England neighbors, as the region ranks above the rest of the nation in terms of expenses.
Vermont was the third-cheapest New England State to live in, beating out Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, in addition to its western neighbor of New York, which just so happens to be one of the most expensive states in the country.
MERIC ranked Vermont 40th in its cost of living index, largely due to the above-average cost of housing and utilities in the Green Mountain State. In the New England region, only New Hampshire and Maine came in slightly cheaper in the rankings, at 38th and 37th, respectively.
How does this look in terms of your everyday costs? The latest data from the BEA breaks down the typical per capita personal consumption expenses on an annual level:
Average Annual Per-Capita Cost in Vermont
Housing and Utilities
Food and Beverages (non-restaurant)
Gas and Energy Goods
All Other Personal Expenditures
Housing Costs in Vermont
Average Housing Costs in Vermont: $794 to $1,621 per month
The average home in Vermont costs $314,562 in 2021, which is slightly lower than the $353,900 median sales price of an existing home in the United States, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Vermont boasts a supply of 339,439 houses according to most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Here are the median mortgage and rental costs for residents in Vermont:
• Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,621
• Median studio rent: $794
• Median one-bedroom rent: $825
• Median two-bedroom rent: $1,127
• Median three-bedroom rent: $1,161
• Median four-bedroom rent: $1,390
• Median gross rent: $980
Given the sprawling nature of the state, there are wide discrepancies in home values across various communities. Expect to pay more for choice properties near Burlington relative to smaller towns like Bennington or Barre.
Typical Home Price
Utility Costs in Vermont
Average Utility Costs in Vermont: $380.22 per month
Real Vermonters own multiple flannel shirts, and it’s no surprise why. When compared to the rest of the nation, Vermont’s deep winters and muddy spring seasons are part of the reason why it has above-average utility costs. Utility costs take up a large part of Vermont’s cost of living, and prospective homebuyers should be wary.
While gas heating costs run an average of $110.43 per month, in the winter peak seasons, that figure can easily multiply. It’s no wonder why 13% of Vermont households have resorted to heating their homes with firewood; it’s the 2nd most popular heating fuel in the state!
Despite the high utility costs, conservationists will be proud to learn that Vermont leads the nation in renewable energy production, as it actually generated 100% of the electricity from renewable resources in the year 2020. This includes wind, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) .
It doesn’t stop there however, as the state pledged to achieve at least 90% of its energy usage from renewable resources by the year 2050. So even if the bill is a little high, you can feel good about where the energy came from.
Average Vermont 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 Vermont: $368.33 per person, per month
The average individual will spend around $368 per month on food and groceries, or $4,420 per year, according to the BEA. This is actually above average for the New England region, which already has some of the highest food costs in the nation.
Out of all 6 New England States, Vermonters pay the most for food and groceries. In fact, Vermont has some of the highest food and beverage costs in the nation, surpassed only by Hawaii and the District of Columbia.
Of course, food costs can vary widely depending on where you live. Burlington, Vermont’s biggest city, actually fell in the middle of the pack for grocery costs when compared to other major New England cities.
Average Transportation Costs in Vermont: $4,332 to $11,773 per year
Vermonters drive fast, and true Vermonters know that the distance between towns isn’t measured in miles, it’s measured in hours. So it’s probably a good thing that Vermont’s transportation costs aren’t expensive. In fact, US News named Vermont as the 8th cheapest state in the country when it comes to auto insurance.
With the state’s low population and spread-out communities, bumper to bumper traffic in Vermont is almost unheard of. What qualifies as rush-hour traffic in Vermont might compare to a leisurely weekend cruise in major cities like New York. The reduced hours spent waiting in traffic go a long way towards cutting transportation costs.
Average Health Care Costs in Vermont: $8,490 per person, per year
The average Vermonter pays around $8,490 per year for healthcare, according to the BEA’s latest personal consumption expenditures report. This makes up a significant part of Vermont’s cost of living for its large population of citizens over the age of 50.
Vermont’s average healthcare costs fall on the higher end of the scale when compared to the rest of the nation, however they’re around average when compared to its peers in the New England region. Both of its neighbors, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, have higher average healthcare costs.
As a whole, the New England region collectively has the highest healthcare costs of any geography in the United States. Residents of Vermont who want to save on healthcare expenses can shop for and compare health insurance providers through Vermont’s state-sponsored exchange, Vermont Health Connect .
Average Child Care Costs in Vermont: $1,216 to $1,742 or more per child, per month
Childcare is an expense that cannot be avoided for families, although the average costs may vary depending on the type of care you seek. In Vermont, home-based family child care is actually less expensive than classroom-based childcare for both infants and toddlers, according to costs cited by the costofchildcare.org .
Generally, childcare costs that make up 7% or less of a household’s income are defined as “affordable” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). However, this metric may still be difficult for some families to achieve.
For struggling parents in need, Vermont’s Agency for Human Services offers help for struggling parents through its Child Care Financial Assistance Program in the form of subsidies and financial assistance.
Type of Child Care
Average Cost Per Month, Per Child
Home-based Family Child Care
Highest Marginal Tax Rate in Vermont: 8.75%
The state of Vermont uses a graduated income tax system which caps out at 8.75% for the highest income bracket. This is the 8th highest rate in the nation when it comes to income taxes.
When compared to its New England neighbors, only Connecticut came in with a higher tax burden at 12.8%, while no other New England state made the top ten. New York, Vermont’s western neighbor, happens to have the highest effective tax burden in the country at 14.1%.
In addition to the mundane everyday costs, let’s take a look at how much some of the Green Mountain State’s best known attractions cost:
• 2 lb extra sharp cheddar cheese wheel: $22.95
• 1 gallon jug of Vermont Maple Syrup: $55 – $63
• Unlimited adult season pass to Mt. Killington (Winter): $969 – $1,479
• 16 oz pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream: $8.50
• Brewery tour in Burlington: $80 – $90 per person
• Men’s classic flannel shirt from the Vermont Flannel Company: $68.80 – $84.80
Whether you’re coming to town for some sight-seeing or you’re looking to hit the slopes at one of its 26 ski resorts, Vermont has something for everyone.
When it comes to cheese and syrup, real Vermonters know how to tell home-grown Vermont Cheddar and maple from Velveeta and Aunt Jemina. No state does farm-to-table better than Vermont, as Vermont is known for its ubiquitous dairy farms and farmers’ markets.
The world-famous Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company also calls Vermont home. If you’re visiting, try dropping by at the Ben & Jerry’s factory in the Historic Waterbury Village, or check out any of their 50+ flavors of ice cream at one of their locations in Vermont.
Finally, Vermont is a beer-aficionado’s paradise. Experts attest that its climate is ideal for beer-brewing and cider-making. This is evidenced by the presence of 64 breweries and brewpubs across the state, according to the Vermont Brewers association. Vermont competes neck and neck with neighboring Maine for the honor of having the most breweries per capita in the nation, having held the title several times in recent years.
How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Vermont?
MIT’s living wage calculator cites that a single person working 40 hours per week, for 52 weeks per year, would need to make at least $14.93 per hour, or $31,054 per year to have a “living wage.” However, the exact amount needed to live “comfortably” depends on your own unique tastes and habits.
Vermont ranks 39th in the U.S. News & World Report’s Affordability Rankings which measures the average cost of living in a given state versus the median income most households make. While this may sound expensive for the average American, Vermont still ranks ahead of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts on the affordability chart for the New England region.
As a whole, New England does poorly on affordability, and Vermont’s rankings are fairly typical for its area. MERIC’s cost of living data series arrives at a similar conclusion, ranking Vermont 40th, which is more expensive than New Hampshire but just a bit more affordable than Rhode Island.
What Cities Have the Lowest Cost of Living in New England?
To help you compare the cost of living in Vermont with its neighbors, we’ve collected data for major cities in the New England region from the Council for Community and Economic Research (CCER). The CCER tracks the cost of living in major metropolitan areas across the United States. We’ve included their results for the New England area in the 2nd quarter of 2021 below:
The capital of Connecticut, and its 4th largest city by population, has the lowest cost of living in New England, according to most recent data from the CCER. This is largely due to its low housing and grocery costs when compared to other New England cities. In fact, Hartford, Connecticut has the most affordable housing in the index when compared to other New England cities rated by the CCER.
Manchester, New Hampshire
The “Queens City” and most populated city in northern New England ranks 2nd on the CCER’s cost of living index. It has the lowest grocery and transportation costs in the New England region. Manchester is just an hour’s drive north of Boston and is home to over 113,000 people.
Residents of the small city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts pay the lowest utility costs in all of New England, according to the CCER. In fact, its utilities index ranking is actually below average for the nation which is unique for the New England area, where utility costs are historically high. Pittsfield is located on the western edge of Massachusetts, less than an hour’s drive from Albany, New York.
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The Green Mountain State has a little something for everyone, especially if you’re looking for a cozy destination to enjoy a beer in your flannels by a cracking fire. The cost of living in Vermont isn’t cheap, but it’s clear to see why skiers and nature lovers would call this state home.
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