The Cost of Living in Los Angeles in 2021

You don't have to be a Hollywood star to enjoy the splendor of the City of Angels. Palm-lined sidewalks, scenic beaches and killer Mexican food are just some of the many reasons why Los Angeles is Southern California's most flocked-to metropolis.

While living in La La Land will cost you 47.7 percent more than the national average, roughly 4 million people living in this desert oasis make it work — and so can you.

If you've decided Los Angeles is the place for you, check out just how much it will cost you to live there.

Housing costs in Los Angeles

Housing in Los Angeles.

Rental prices in Los Angeles are considerably higher compared with the national average. However, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles dipped 16 percent in the last year, down to $2,648.

Thanks to the city's massive urban sprawl, you can find plenty of neighborhoods with average rental rates that fall below and above that average number.

Some of the city's most expensive neighborhoods include Playa Vista, Fairfax District and Beverly Grove. Average one-bedroom rentals range between $3,528 and $4,118 in these areas.

In other areas like Little Tokyo, Silver Lake and Koreatown, rent runs closer to the city's average between $2,324 and $2,592.

It's also possible to find apartments in Los Angeles underneath the citywide average. In neighborhoods like North Hills East and Crenshaw, one-bedroom apartments average $1,417 and $1,791, respectively.

As of April 2021, Los Angeles home prices were up 23.3 percent compared to last year, selling for a median price of $841,834.

Overall, housing in Los Angeles is 128.9 percent higher than the national average.

Food costs in Los Angeles

Food on a rooftop with friends in Los Angeles.

Home to many of the world's most treasured cuisines, Los Angeles, is a paradise for foodies. From to-die-for tacos to kimchi that tastes like it's straight out of Seoul, L.A.'s food culture is out of this world.

If you're not looking to eat out, take a trip to your local L.A. grocery store, where you'll find staples like potato chips for $3.50, ground beef for $4.58 per pound and a dozen eggs for $2.88.

Your grocery bills will tally up to around 14 percent higher than the national average.

Utility costs in Los Angeles

Rental prices in Los Angeles rarely include utility bills. That means you should expect to pay extra on top of your rent every month. Los Angeles utilities run 7.9 percent higher than the national average.

The city is known for its warm weather year-round, which means cranking up your heater during winter rarely happens.

Come summertime, expect to keep your air conditioning blasting. Some parts of L.A. reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the peak of the hot season — so you'll want to keep that air conditioner on high.

Expect to pay about $185.68 per month on total energy costs.

Transportation costs in Los Angeles

Transportation in Los Angeles.

We can't talk about L.A. without mentioning one crucial detail: its infamous traffic. With so much of the city's freeways snarled with congestion, nobody will blame you for wanting to hop on public transportation.

Unfortunately, Los Angeles isn't exactly known for its stellar public transit system — its transit score ranks at 57. However, it's certainly possible to get around using the Metro, a network of buses and trains that shuttles Angelenos around the city with ease.

Metro costs

On both the bus and the train, a one-way Metro trip costs $1.75. You can also purchase a one-day pass for $7, a seven-day pass for $25 or a 30-day pass for $100. Traveling on certain bus lines costs an extra 75 cents, including the Express Bus Line. There is an additional 50 cent charge for transfers to non-Metro buses within 2.5 hours. The Metro's fare information webpage features all pricing details.

If you expect to use the Metro often, buying a reloadable TAP card is a great move. This will pay for fares in 26 transit agencies across L.A. County. A TAP card costs $2 plus fare and includes transfers to Metro rail and bus.

Los Angeles isn't the best city for walking in — its walk score hovers at 79. Until recently, biking wasn't a great option either. But given recent initiatives to get bike paths on more city streets, the Metro rolled out a fleet of classic, smart and electric bikes you can cruise around in the city on. One ride costs $1.75 per 30 minutes. You can also purchase a 30-day pass for $17 — all rides under 30 minutes are free and cost $1.75 per half hour thereafter. L.A.'s current bike score comes in at 65.

In most cases, you'll probably want to brave the traffic and drive instead of taking public transportation. As convenient as the bus and metro are, they won't get you everywhere you need to go in L.A.

Tolls and parking costs in Los Angeles

If you're driving on Interstate 10 or Interstate 110, stay aware of express lanes. These lanes are clearly marked and reserved for cars with a FasTrak pass (and for carpools of two people or more). You can purchase one of these passes for recurring payments of $40 or fork over the $4 pay-as-you-go fare on the express lane.

Rates for metered parking areas vary between neighborhoods — they're set anywhere between 50 cents to $6 per hour, depending on the location. Gas prices average $3.31 for a gallon of regular unleaded in Los Angeles and routine auto maintenance averages around $50.62.

Overall, transportation costs in Los Angeles are 34.5 percent higher than the national average.

Healthcare costs in Los Angeles

From routine check-ups to unforeseen emergency room visits, healthcare costs are bound to pop up intermittently. Luckily, you're in good hands in Los Angeles.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Keck Medicine of USC and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center are just some of the nationally ranked hospitals in this city in case you're in need of quality care.

Healthcare costs in L.A. are slightly above the national average, around 10 percent higher. A doctor's appointment costs an average of $125, while a visit to the dentist will set you back an average of $110.78.

If you need a quick fix, you can pick up a bottle of ibuprofen for $11.90 on average.

beach in los angeles

Goods and services costs in Los Angeles

Angelenos love staying active, whether that means hiking the surrounding hills, running, cycling or hitting the city's lofty fitness studios.

If you want in on the action but aren't ready to commit to high-intensity training quite yet, you can buy drop-in yoga sessions for an average of $21.33 per class.

You'll definitely want to hit the movie theater at least once during your time in L.A. It is the nation's entertainment capital, after all. A movie ticket costs $16.30 on average.

Despite its average walking score, having a dog in L.A. is not only possible; it's encouraged. There are so many parks for you and your pup to explore, from the famed winding trails of Griffith Park to the sandy promenades at Venice Beach. Taking care of your loyal companion's veterinary bills costs an average of $69.45.

Taxes in Los Angeles

In California, the minimum sales tax is a rate of 7.25 percent. In the city of Los Angeles, it's 9.5 percent. That means if you're spending $1,000 shopping at the Grove, you'll pay $95 in sales tax.

Remember that this sales tax rate only applies to Los Angeles proper. It's easy to forget that surrounding cities, like Culver City and Santa Monica, aren't technically part of the City of Los Angeles. They're entirely separate cities, which is why their tax rates are different.

Los Angeles.

How much do I need to earn to live in Los Angeles?

Experts recommend that renters spend no more than 30 percent of their gross income on rent. That means to live in Los Angeles comfortably, your annual income should average $105,920. This is based on the average one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles costing you $31,776 per year.

That said, there are tons of people in Los Angeles who earn less than $105,920 a year and still thrive.

Check out our rent calculator to discover how you can make your budget work for you in the City of Angels.

Living in Los Angeles

Though the city is famous for its glitz and glam, you don't need to call yourself a millionaire to live well in Los Angeles. Yes, the cost of living in L.A. is slightly higher than the national average. But Angelenos reap the benefits with sunny skies, pristine natural parks and a food culture unlike any other in return.

Find apartments to rent or homes to buy in Los Angeles today.

Cost of living information comes from The Council for Community and Economic Research.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com's multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.
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Cecilia SeiterCecilia Seiter is a freelance writer and author based in Los Angeles. She writes for various blogs about sustainability, especially as it relates to wellness, energy and the future of technology. Cecilia holds a journalism degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and enjoys cruising on her longboard at Venice Beach when she's not writing.

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