How High is the Cost of Living in Florida?

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The cost of living in Florida is on-par with the national average—but cities like Miami, Tampa, and Palm Beach can cost more than double the state norm. Overall, a single adult can find comfortable beachside living across the state on a salary of $33,100 to $51,908.
If you’ve ever dreamed of living in Florida, you’re not alone. After all, who wouldn’t love the warm beaches, southern charm, and sunny perks of Florida life—but what does it actually take to make that dream a reality?
Here to break down the real costs of living in The Sunshine State is Jerry, the first super app for homeowners with expert advice on all things moving. Read on for a breakdown of Florida’s cost of living, including the state’s most affordable cities—plus tips on how you can save when switching your insurance.  

How high is the cost of living in Florida? 

With white-sand beaches, a spirited sports scene, and tons of attractions, you might expect a state like Florida’s cost of living to rise well above its neighbors. While housing costs do indeed skyrocket in places like Palm Beach and Surfside, the state’s overall cost of living is surprisingly average. Florida’s overall cost of living index is 100.3
What does that number mean? Well, cost of living generally refers to the minimum amount of money needed to cover basic, non-negotiable expenses (think groceries, healthcare, transportation, and housing). Exactly how much you pay for these essentials can vary across regions. 
To measure the differences, states are compared against the U.S. national average, which is set at an even 100. So Florida’s COL index of 100.3 is on par with the national average—but that doesn’t mean you won’t see variations in average costs across the state. 
Let’s take a closer look at each of the non-negotiables mentioned above to see how they compare when stacked up against households across the U.S.
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Food: $233-$308 per month

The average, single Floridian adult can expect to spend between $233 and $308 per month on groceries. That’s over $100 cheaper than the national average of $411 per month. If you’re living with a partner or your family, though, that number will increase. A family of four, for example, will spend closer to $1,231 per month on groceries. 
Note that in this case, we’re discussing groceries only—your morning Mcdonald’s coffee, afternoon Chick-n-Mini, or happy hour margarita are all additional expenses. 

Healthcare: $456 per month

Annual U.S. healthcare costs average $4,266, or around $355 per month. Comparatively, the average annual healthcare premium in Florida is $5,472—which works out to about $456 per month. 
As is the case with groceries, larger households will foot a bigger bill. The average family of four may spend as much as $12,763 a year on healthcare costs. If you have a family member with expensive prescriptions or ongoing healthcare concerns, you could see an even higher number. 

Housing: $925-$1,888 per month

Generally speaking, you can find affordable housing in Florida. A typical single-family home costs between $198,500 and $322,800, a range that’s notably lower than the national median home price of $337,560. Rent prices, too, fall below the national average of $1,827—in fact, in some cities, you can rent a five-bedroom home for $1,888
Depending on where you’re looking to live, however, you could face significantly higher price tags. The average sale price of a home in Surfside, for example, is $885,000, and in Miami, you can expect to pay about $2,700 for rent in a one-bedroom apartment. 
Here’s a breakdown of average housing costs based on home type in Florida:
  • Median monthly mortgage payment: $1,124
  • Average rent: $1,175
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $925
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,100
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,300
  • Average four-bedroom rent: $1,600
Again, while these numbers are characteristic of Florida’s general housing climate and costs, hotspots like Miami, Tampa, and West Palm Beach see a far more competitive market. You could be paying over double the state average for remarkably less real estate. 

Transportation: $5,113 per year

According to MIT’s living wage calculator, a single adult will spend roughly $5,113 annually on transportation—but a family of four can spend closer to $14,000 a year. Florida is a driver-heavy state: most commuters drive their own cars, and unfortunately, the public transportation system is overall lackluster. Nonetheless, when stacked up against the national average of $9,826 per year, Florida’s numbers feel pretty manageable. 
  • Average annual cost of car insurance in Florida: $2,219 ($185/mo.)
  • Average commute length in Florida: 28 minutes 
  • Average cost of a gallon of gas, June 2022: $4.72
  • Jacksonville STAR card: $50 per month
  • Miami-Dade public transit pass: $145 per month
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How much you need to live comfortably in Florida: $33,100 to $51,908 per year

Now that we’ve covered all the basics, you may be wondering—how much do I need to live comfortably in Florida? After all, there’s surviving and scraping by, and then there’s living comfortably, and the difference can be huge for your personal sense of security and well-being. 
Luckily, you don’t need to be a millionaire to live in Florida! You can enjoy the laid-back, beachy lifestyle on an annual salary of just $33,100 or more
Of course, where you’re looking to live will impact how much you need to make. Generally speaking, your rent shouldn’t amount to more than 30% of your monthly income. So if you’re looking for an apartment in Saint Petersburg—where the average one-bedroom rents for $1,910—then you’ll want to earn at least $6,370 a month before taxes, or $76,440 a year. 
Broken down, that’s an hourly wage of $17.24—$6.24 above the state’s minimum wage of $11 per hour. Of course, the bigger your household, the more you’ll want to make. According to MIT’s living wage calculator, a living wage for a family of three (where both adults are working) is $28.11—more than double the state’s minimum wage!
While affording comfortable living in Florida may be more attainable than in places like New York or California, it can still be tricky to find the funds to live a cushy lifestyle. Check out the list below to see how some basic non-essentials compare in cost to the national average: 
  • Average cost of a date: $128.82 (U.S. average: $116) 
  • Average sales tax: 4% (U.S. average: 5.09%)
  • Walt Disney World annual pass: $399+ per person
  • Miami Heat tickets: $78 per ticket
Of course, what each person needs to feel comfortable is different—so it’s important to know what makes you comfortable specifically. If you crave vibrant nightlife and beachfront view, you’ll need to make more. But for others, you may find you can live a fulfilling life in Florida for $33,000. 
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Which Florida cities have the lowest cost of living?

If you’re planning your move on a budget, don’t stress—you’ve got options! Here are five affordable Florida cities where you won’t have to sacrifice comfort for cost.
  1. Dade City (COL: 86.7): From its stately, historic courthouse to its charming southern boutiques and lively attractions (like its two zoos and adventure park), Dade City has classic Florida character at an affordable price—all only an hour from Tampa! 
  2. Gainesville (COL: 89.9): Home to the University of Florida, Gainesville is a vibrant and diverse college town packed with art, history, culture, and even a butterfly rainforest—and average rent starts at just $879 per month. 
  3. Jacksonville (COLI: 93.5): From Southside to San Marco, you’ll find unexpectedly affordable beachside living in Florida’s most populous city. 
  4. Daytona Beach (COLI: 94.2:): The birthplace of NASCAR, Daytona Beach is famous for its boardwalk, summer music scene, and, of course, its speedway—and you may be surprised to learn that it’s within your price range.
  5. Kissimmee (COLI: 98.7): Located along scenic Lake Toho and close to Walt Disneyworld, Discovery Cove, and SeaWorld Orlando, Kissimmee is a family paradise. It’s also one of the best places to buy a home in the state.

How to easily find home and car insurance in Florida

Planning a move from out of state? Don’t make finding new insurance another endless task on your list—let Jerry do it for you! The only super app for car and homeowners, Jerry does the hard work of collecting quotes for you. Just download the app, answer a few insurance questions, and in seconds Jerry can find you dozens of quotes from the top name-brand providers.
Compare rates side-by-side and manage your policy at any time, right from your phone. From contacting your insurer to purchasing your new policy, Jerry takes care of it all—we can even help you cancel your old insurance plan! Basically, you get all the best prices and coverage with none of the legwork! 
“I had limited time to find a new insurance plan in Florida, so I tried Jerry. My experience was personalized and professional, and they found me a plan that fits my portfolio. You should give them a try.” —Valencia T., satisfied Jerry user.
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FAQ

The average, single adult should make at least $2,800 per month to live comfortably in Florida.

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