What Is the Cost of Living in Idaho?

The cost of living in Idaho can vary greatly. Learn how to find the cheapest cities—and how Idaho compares to the national average.
Written by Claire Beaney
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Aug 18, 2022
A single adult in
needs around $29,007 to live comfortably. Idaho's overall cost of living is just around average, but there are some aspects where Idaho residents spend more.
Idaho is one of the country's fastest-growing states, and it’s known as the Gem State for its incredible natural beauty, the Teton Mountains, hundreds of waterfalls and hot springs, and a plethora of other hidden gems.
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How high is the cost of living in Idaho? 

Idaho has a cost of living index (COLI) of 97.7, so you won't be looking at a pricey or particularly affordable lifestyle if you move there—this is actually right around the middle of the pack!
Just what does that figure signify, exactly? The number 100 represents the national average cost of living, so any value less than 100 indicates that the cost of living is less than the national average.
Idaho’s COLI is not only lower than the national average but is also lower than other nearby states, with
at 98.1 and
at 110.8.
To analyze the entirety of Idaho, we compiled real-world data on the pricing of food, health care, housing, transportation, and other essentials. We'll also go over how much Idahoans pay for these necessities compared to the national average.

Food: $333 to $980 per month

Groceries are included in this section of the cost of living—however, eating out at restaurants isn’t included.
According to MIT's
Living Wage Calculator
, the cost of food in Idaho is between $3,999 and $11,742 per year. These values will obviously change depending on how many people are in the family, their location, and their household income.
In Idaho, an individual will spend around $333.25 on food each month, while a family of four will spend closer to $980.33. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in comparison, said that in 2020 the average monthly grocery bill is around $411.
A cup of coffee on the way to work and dinner at your fave taco joint are costs on top of what you spend on food every month.

Healthcare: $496 per month

The average cost of health care for a person in Idaho is $5,952, or $496 per month. This is just above the average cost of $477 per month nationwide.
Healthcare costs are hard to estimate because of the wide range of expenses that individuals and families might face. For example, someone with a costly medication will pay substantially more per month for coverage than what’s indicated above.

Housing: $625 to $1,309 per month

Housing is likely your largest ongoing expense, regardless of where you live. The average Idaho home in 2021 was worth around $446,000.
How do we figure out how much housing costs each month? Well, monthly costs will depend on the type of home you live in and whether or not you own it:
  • Median monthly mortgage payment: $1,270
  • Average studio rent: $625
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $681
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $843
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,081
  • Average four-bedroom rent: $1,309
These are just the averages across the state; where you specifically live can impact costs. The average monthly rent, for example, for a one-bedroom apartment in
is $1,295, yet the same size residence in
costs only $1,100 to rent.
How do Idaho's housing costs compare to other states? The average home price in the U.S. is $337,560, just below the average price in Idaho. In recent years, the average rent has also gone up to around $1,904/month.
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Transportation: $411 to $1,121 per month

Transportation, in general, usually cannot be avoided as many people cannot solely walk or bike to get around. Some people use public transit and their cars, explaining the vast range of prices.
Transportation costs in Idaho range from $411 to $1,121 per month. The national average for transportation for a two-adult home is $818, so Idaho's average is near the top of the range.
Here's some crucial information to help you understand those figures:

How much you need to live comfortably in Idaho: $29,007 to $80,158 per year

To live comfortably in Idaho, a single adult should earn at least $29,007 a year, or $14.50 per hour. A family of four would require a higher living wage, ideally $51,900 per year or $40.08 per hour!
Idaho's minimum wage is $7.25 (the national average), which means that many people can struggle to meet their basic needs. There is also a contrast between spending on needs and spending on wants.
Here are a few Idaho budget checks for fun, extracurricular activities, along with a comparison to the average nationwide:
  • Average cost of a date: $90.94 (U.S. average: $116) 
  • Average cost of a night at the movies: $12.50 (U.S. average: $10.61) 
  • Average cost of a Big Mac: $4.23 (U.S. average: $3.99) 
  • Average sales tax: 6%(U.S. average: 5.09%)
You might not need this much money to live comfortably, or you might need more than to meet all of your needs. In Idaho, the average yearly cost of living is $35,459.

The Idaho cities with the lowest cost of living

The cost of living in each city varies slightly. Some cities in Idaho are either less or more costly than the state average.
We’ve put together a list of some of the cheapest places to live:
  1. Burley
    (COLI: 81.8): Located alongside the Snake River, enjoy hiking, kayaking, and fishing along the river! Burley also holds the Spudman Triathlon, which attracts over 2,000 athletes each year.
  2. Blackfoot
    (COLI: 82.5): Blackfoot has the most extensive potato production in the state. The Idaho Potato Museum is a great place to learn about the city's flourishing potato business.
  3. Jerome
    (COLI: 86.3): Restaurants, places of worship, parks, and grocery stores are all available in this urban hub. The Jerome County Fairgrounds serve as community centers throughout the year, holding events such as the annual rodeo.
  4. Pocatello
    (COLI: 86.3): If you enjoy museums, you'll be glad to know that Pocatello has several to choose from, including the Idaho Museum of Natural History, Fort Hall Commemorative Trading Post, and Museum of Clean.
If you're considering moving to Idaho but want to keep your costs low, consider one of the cities listed above!

How to easily find home and car insurance in Idaho

You can't change how much things cost, and you probably won't uproot your whole life and move to a state where things are cheaper just because they are.
But you have more control than you might think over your insurance policy. Check out the
app if you want your
Idaho home
car insurance
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