How High Is the Cost of Living in Indiana?

The cost of living in Indiana is generally less expensive than the national average, but it depends on what category of spending you’re looking at.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
has one of the lowest costs of living in the country, but depending on what spending category you’re looking at, its affordability can vary. To live comfortably in Indiana, a single adult would need to earn at least $32,843 per year.
One thing to love about being a Hoosier is the low cost of living. But what living expenses really look like in Indiana can vary depending on what category of spending you’re looking at, whether it’s food, transportation, or housing. 
That’s why
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How high is the cost of living in Indiana? 

For the first quarter of 2022, the
Council for Community & Economic Research (C2ER)
assigned Indiana a cost of living index of 89.2. That makes it the state with the seventh-lowest cost of living in the country.
But just what does that number mean? The national average cost of living is represented by an even 100, implying that Indiana’s living expenses are nearly 11% less expensive. States with a comparable overall cost of living include
, and
However, living expenses in Indiana can vary across different categories, like food, housing, healthcare, and transportation—so let’s take a closer look.

Food: $285 to $1,021 per month

When it comes to cost of living, food expenses are about as non-negotiable as it gets. Luckily, food costs in Indiana tend to fall comfortably below the national average
Data from MIT’s
Living Wage Calculator
estimates that a single adult without children could expect to spend $3,423 per year on food, while a two-adult household with three kids could spend $12,257 in the same amount of time!
It’s also important to note here that these costs only consider grocery expenses—for your favorite takeout and coffee shops, you’ll have to factor in additional costs.
For comparison, a
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report
from August 2022 showed that an individual young adult could expect to spend somewhere between $300 and $370 per month with a moderate budget for food at home. 

Healthcare: $626 per month

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, per capita annual healthcare costs in Indiana as of 2020 were $7,508, or about $626 per month. For comparison, the national average here was actually slightly lower at $7,006 per person or $583 per month.
But healthcare costs can vary considerably based on your own medical needs, as well as those of others in your household. If you or someone in your family has recurring treatments or prescriptions, you’ll want to account for those costs as you work out your own health care budget as an Indiana resident.

Housing: $1,100 to $1,500 per month

Housing costs often end up being one of the cheapest aspects of living in Indiana when compared to national averages. 
According to Zillow’s
Home Value Index
, the average value of a home in Indiana was about $221,977, as of July 2022. For comparison, the average U.S. home value was about $355,852. 2020 census data showed that Indiana homeowners who had mortgages were paying a median monthly cost of $1,155 on homeownership expenses. But add on more bedrooms and amenities, and you could see those monthly mortgage costs rise even higher.
If you’re planning to rent your next home, the average rent in Indiana is about $1,075 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,287 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to’s August 2022 Rent Report
. While Indiana housing costs are technically lower than the national average, the rate of rent cost increases over the last year in Indiana still outpaced the national average rate of growth. 
But in addition to apartment size, where you choose to live in Indiana can also have a big impact on what your rent costs look like. As an example, here are what average
rent costs in Indianapolis
look like as of August 2022.
  • Average studio rent: $1,103
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $1,154
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,281
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,432
And here is what
rent costs in South Bend
look like:
  • Average studio rent: $1,148
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $1,035
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,436
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,284
MORE: Indiana renters insurance

Transportation: $442 to $1,308 per month

At about 2% less expensive, average transportation costs are somewhat comparable to national averages.
According to the Living Wage Calculator, Indiana residents could potentially expect to spend anywhere from $5,305 to as much as $15,700 per year on transportation costs. Meanwhile, the national average household spending on transportation in 2020 was $9,826, or $818 per month.
Of course, these numbers can vary widely depending on your own household’s actual travel needs. Here are just several important factors that can impact your travel costs in Indiana:
  • Average annual cost of car insurance in Indiana: $2,345 to $2,354 (
    only vs.
    full coverage
  • Monthly
    pass in Indianapolis: $60
  • Average commute length in Indiana: 23.9 minutes
  • Average cost of a gallon of gas, August 2022: $3.85
Monthly car loan payments and annual vehicle registration costs are also important expenses to account for in your budget.

How much you need to live comfortably in Indiana: $32,843 to $99,174 per year

To live comfortably in Indiana, MIT’s Living Wage Calculator estimates you’d need to earn at least $15.70 per hour, which would come out to about $32,842 per year. But in a household with two adults and three kids, that could rise to a collective $48 per hour or $99,174 per year.
This just goes to show how much living costs can vary depending on your needs and your household makeup. Plus, considering the minimum wage here is $7.25 per hour, even in a low-cost-of-living state like Indiana, making ends meet can still prove to be a challenge for some.
And these are just basic living expenses we’re talking about here—you’ll have to account for additional expenses for the other luxuries and entertainment you prefer. Here’s a look at what different “non-essential” costs can be like in Indiana:
  • Average cost of a date night: $97 (US average: $116) 
  • General admission to the Indy 500, 2022: $50
  • Average cost of a Big Mac: $4.11 (US average: $5.19) 
  • Admission to Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari: $60 (US average theme park ticket price: $91)
  • Average sales tax: 3.23%(US average: 6.57%)

The Indiana cities with the lowest cost of living

While generally less expensive than the national average, how much it actually costs to live in Indiana will vary from place to place. Based on data from
Best Places
, here are some of Indiana’s most affordable cities:
  1. Fort Wayne
    (COLI: 78.9): Just a few hours’ drive from the Great Lakes, Fort Wayne is home to a bustling performing arts scene, various sports teams, and one of the nation’s most popular zoos.
  2. South Bend
    (COLI: 68.4): Just under an hour’s car ride from the southern tip of Lake Michigan, South Bend is home to the University of Notre Dame and has one of the lowest costs of living in the country.
  3. Evansville
    (COLI: 78.5): You’ll find Evansville at the Indiana-Kentucky border, just off the Ohio River. People have lived in Evansville for thousands of years, and the surrounding area has a number of sacred burial mounds and other historic sites, one of the most well-known being
    Angel Mounds
  4. Indianapolis
    (COLI: 83.5): As the state capital and Indiana’s most populous city, Indianapolis is home to nearly 870,000 people and has plenty of options when it comes to recreation, dining, entertainment, and nightlife.
  5. Middletown (COLI: 76.4): This small Indiana town of several thousand is about an hour northeast of Indianapolis, and its historic downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places.

How to easily find home and car insurance in Indiana

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Data from MIT’s
Living Wage Calculator
estimates a single adult would need to make at least  $2,737 per month to live comfortably in Indiana.
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