Cost of living in DC

Living in DC, Capital Tours

You may just be wanting to visit Washington, DC, but most come to visit and tend to not want to leave due to the energy and the drive all the people. Success is oozing from DC. Many come here to find themselves and to build to their already existing empire. This may bring to question how expensive is it to live in Washington, DC? In this article we talk about cost and if moving to DC would be a productive move for you and what you are wanting for your life. Let’s get started.


According to the cost of living index source BestPlaces, the average cost of living in D.C. is 152.1 compared to the U.S. national average of 100. The cost of living source Numbeo has Washington, D.C., at 83.88 out of 100, where 100 represents the cost of living in New York City. The good news: It’s still not as tough to make ends meet in D.C. as in San Francisco, New York or San Jose, according to a new study. However, you will still need to earn $80,273 per year to live “comfortably” in our nation’s capital. That is above what most people anywhere else usually make working a normal 9-5 job, the financial website that conducted the study, scrutinized the cost of living in the United States’ 50 most-populous cities and came up with the $80K figure — and a working definition of “comfortable.”

Digging further into the data, GoBankingRates found D.C. residents needed:
50 percent for necessities: $40,136
30 percent for discretionary spending: $24,082
20 percent for savings: $16,055
Income needed to live comfortably: $80,273

Tax Rate

We have already came to the conclusion that it is not cheap to live in DC. Let’s not forget about those taxes though. Part of the reason why the cost of living in D.C. is extremely high is that the taxes in DC work differently. The tax system in Washington D.C. is notorious  to be complicated so make sure you understand how it works before you make the big choice to move here. The sales tax in the city is 5.75% depending on your purchase. Some items have a higher sales tax as well so keep that in mind. This includes alcohol, eating at a restaurant, and getting take-out food which all have a 10% sales tax. If you are staying at a hotel the tax is at 14.8% and if you are parking your car in a garage, that is taxed at a rate of 19%. Washington D.C. also has an estate tax for residents, unlike some other neighboring states. Due to these high tax rates, the city earns a lot of money through tourism which in turn is one of their most profitable industries. On the plus side, groceries, medicine, and utilities are not taxed at all which makes up for the high taxes everywhere else. That is rare and not something you have the luxury of in most other states. You have to be ready for a lifestyle change to live here, it is pricey in part due to the success that is in DC, so if you are driven you should be fine living in the area.

Other Information

There are more factors to be considered when moving to DC. To start, the traffic can be a nightmare. With any city you are going to see more traffic flow as opposed to a small town with an even smaller population. A solution to this is the metro and public transportation. The dress code is another, no you do not have to dress a certain way but DC is filled with professionals who dress as if they are about to have the most important meeting ever. If you want to be taken seriously you should dress to impress always. You will also have to deal with tourism. This is the high spot for weekend getaways for many people. You will never be bored in Washington, DC. There is so much to explore and learn. If you are visiting the area be sure to get up with a guided tour so you can get an insiders look into the life of someone who calls DC home already. To every problem there is a solution, so if you are feeling discouraged just know that you can avoid a lot of “issues” simply by being a planner. Either to visit or to stay forever, Washington, DC is glad to have you!