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Cost of Living in Arlington VA [2024] | 💰 Average Arlington Virginia Cost of Living + Stats

Last Updated on: 11th January 2024, 08:25 pm

Arlington has historical sites, friendly neighborhoods, beautiful parks, and stunning waterfront views. Arlington cost of living is high, but it comes with a wealth of amenities. Arlington is home to the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, and Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington is not known for being an affordable city. But, can you afford the cost of living in Arlington?

Arlington Cost of Living

When determining how much it will cost you to live in Arlington, many factors will affect it, such as your household size, the neighborhood you are moving to, and your lifestyle.

Cost of Living Index

The cost of living index is based on the national average, which is set at 100. If a city has a cost of living index of 90, that means the cost of living is 10% below the national average. If it’s 110, then the cost of living in that city is 10% higher than the national average.

The overall Arlington cost of living index is 146, which is 46% higher than the U.S. average. While Arlington is expensive, the cost is offset by high wages, a low unemployment rate, and all the amenities that come with living in the Washington DC Metro Area.

Consumer Price Index

cost of living in arlington, va

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measures the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for goods and services using the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area as of January 2023 indicates that prices were down 0.3% over the previous 2 months and up 4.4% over the 12 months. The food index increased 1.6% over the previous 2 months and 6.5% over the past year as prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 2.5%, and cereals and bakery products rose 3.5%. The energy index dropped 1.9% over the last 2 months but is up 10.2% from last year. Over the past year, the index for all items less food and energy increased by 3.6%, which is the smallest increase since July 2021.

Consumer Expenditures Survey

The Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) provide data on expenditures, income, and demographics of consumers in the United States. They consist of the Interview Survey for major and/or recurring items and the Diary Survey for more minor or frequently purchased items.

The Consumer Expenditures for the Washington Metropolitan Area 2020-21 shows expenditures for households averaged $88,767 per year. This number was significantly higher than the national average of $64,187.  Expenditures for transportation accounted for 10.5% of the average household’s budget in the Washington area, or $9,295, which was lower than the national average of 16.2%. However, housing expenditures for Washington-area households averaged $33,242, the largest component of household expenditures at 37.4%. The national average for household expenditures is 34.3%. Washington-area households spent 12.0% ($6,584) of their budget on food, which is about the same as the 12.2% U.S. average.

Family Budget Calculator (Economic Policy Institute)

The Family Budget Calculator on the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) website estimates the income a family needs to maintain an adequate standard of living in every county or metro area in the U.S. based on one of 10 family types (one or two adults with zero to four children).

The costs for a family of 2 adults and 2 children living in the Washington DC area would be $11,212 per month or $134,547 a year. The breakdown of monthly and annual costs would be:

Monthly Cost Annual Cost
Housing $1,618 $19,414
Food $1,082 $12,982
Child care $3,504 $42,046
Transportation $747 $8,963
Health care $1,378 $16,533
Other necessities $978 $11,739
Taxes $1,906 $22,871

Cost of Household Items, Food, & Groceries in Arlington

The estimated amount you will have to spend on household items, food, gas, and other common expenses are a component of the cost of living index for Arlington. Below are some examples of average consumer prices, the average cost of living in Arlington with utilities and more.

Item Cost
Steak Ribeye, 1lb. $14.66
Milk Whole 1/2 Gal. $2.59
Eggs 1 Dozen, Grade A $2.14
Potatoes 5 lb bag $4.07
Bread Wheat, 1 loaf $3.47
Beer Heineken’s 6 pack $11.16
Movie Ticket 1st Run $13.90
McDonald’s Burger 1/4 Pounder $5.60
Average Cell Phone Bill $181.35
Average Cost of Gasoline Per Gal. $2.658
Average Cost of Utilities in Arlington Per Month $153.78

Transportation costs: The Arlington Transit system bus fares in Arlington cost $2.00 per adult and $1.00 for seniors, people with disabilities, and K-12 students.

Arlington Real Estate Market

The Arlington housing market is somewhat competitive. Homes in Arlington receive 2 offers on average and sell after being on the market for 60 days, up from 49 days last year. The average home price in Arlington is $635,750 as of January 2023, up 0.9% since last year. The average sale price per square foot in Arlington is $445, up 1.0% since last year. A total of 104 homes were sold in January 2023, a drop from 192 last year.

If you aren’t sure whether you’re going to buy or rent in Arlington, you can use the price-to-rent ratio to help with your decision. It’s calculated by the equation: Median Home Price ÷ Median Annual Rent = Price-to-Rent Ratio. The higher the ratio, the better the market is for renters. The lower the ratio, the better it is for buyers. A ratio of 1 to 15 means it’s much better to buy than rent. A ratio of 16 to 20 means it’s usually better to rent than buy. A ratio of 21 or more means it’s much better to rent than buy.

The price-to-rent ratio in Arlington is $635,750 ÷ $30,084 = 21.1

Based on the price-to-rent ratio, it’s better to rent than to buy in Arlington.

With a variety of beautiful neighborhoods, excellent schools, and major employers. Arlington is a great place to live and work. Some of the best neighborhoods in Arlington to buy a home include:

  • Rosslyn – Rosslyn is situated just over the Key Bridge from Georgetown and Washington DC. The neighborhood has excellent restaurants and bars. You’ll mostly find condos and townhomes in Rosslyn, and the price is steep for the best location in Arlington. Home prices average $992,000 in the area.
  • Clarendon/Courthouse – The Clarendon/Courthouse neighborhood offers many restaurants, shops, and a vibrant nightlife scene, and is accessible to the Washington Metro system. It’s a perfect blend of urban and suburban living. Condos start in the $400’s and the median price for a townhome or single-family home is $636,987, although they can go up into the mid $1M’s.

Arlington Rental Market – Average Rent in Arlington

The average size for an apartment in Arlington is 862 square feet. The average rent in Arlington is $2,507 per month. You can find inexpensive and luxury apartments in the city.

The most affordable neighborhoods in Arlington are:

The most expensive neighborhoods in Arlington are:

The most popular neighborhoods in Arlington are:

In Virginia, if you earned the minimum wage of $11.00 per hour, you would have to work 78 hours per week to afford a modest 1-bedroom rental home. If you spent approximately 30% of your income on rent, you could afford to pay $1,110 per month in rent, which is less than half of the average rental cost in Arlington.

Average Salary & Household Income in Arlington

The average salary in Arlington is $128,145. According to Payscale, the average salary is $85,000 a year. Wages in Arlington increased by 1.5 percent in Q4 2022. The yearly wages for some of the most popular occupations in Arlington are:

  • Software Engineer – $97,675
  • Management Consultant – $87,159
  • Data Scientist – $95,803
  • Project Manager – $90,872
  • Senior Software Engineer – $128,671
  • Data Analyst – $70,394
  • Intelligence Analyst – $73,637

Income, Sales & Property Taxes in Arlington

When looking to move to Arlington, you want to consider how much you’ll pay in taxes compared to where you are now. Here is some helpful tax information you’ll need when looking to move to Arlington. 

Income Tax

The state of Virginia income tax rates ranges from 2% to 5.75%.

Sales Tax

According to, the state sales tax rate in Virginia is 4.300%. Including local taxes, the total sales tax rate is between 5.300% and 7.000%.

Arlington Sales Tax Breakdown:

District Rate
Virginia State 4.300%
Arlington County 1.700%
Arlington 0.000%
Total 6.000%

Property Tax

The Department of Real Estate Assessments determines the value of real property in Arlington County. The assessment is multiplied by the real estate tax rate, which is set by the County Board each year.  

In 2022, the Arlington property tax was 1.013 per $100 of assessed value plus a Sanitary District Tax of $0.017 for a combined rate of $1.03 per $100 of assessed value. For example, a property assessed at $400,000 would owe property taxes of 1.03/100 x $400,000 = $4,120. Homeowners in Virginia pay property tax rates that are below the national average of 1.07%.

Arlington vs Washington DC Cost of Living

The cost of living is 63% higher in Dallas than in Richmond. Here are some comparisons of food, housing, healthcare, and utilities between Dallas and Arlington.  

Grocery cost
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA Richmond, VA
Steak $13.41 $12.49
Whole Milk $2.91 $2.09
Eggs $2.62 $1.44
Potatoes $4.47 $3.70
Bread $3.70 $3.73
Housing cost
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA Richmond, VA
Apartment Rent $3,220.00 $1,334.00
Home Price $1,156,418.00 $383,637.00
Utilities cost
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA Richmond, VA
Phone $188.98 $182.67
Healthcare cost
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA Richmond, VA
Doctor Visit $129.71 $145.32
Prescription Drug $442.79 $438.76
Miscellaneous cost
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA Richmond, VA
Hamburger $6.79 $5.30
Pizza $11.99 $11.35
Movie $14.90 $12.27
Beer $10.57 $11.14

The cost of living in Arlington is higher than the national average, but it also has a thriving job market, great neighborhoods, excellent schools, and many restaurants, shops, and access to outdoor activities. If you’re planning you move to Arlington, Arlington movers have the experience and know-how to make your move as smooth as possible. Call us today at 301-928-8669 or fill out our online form for your free moving quote!


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