Before accepting a job offer or relocating to Baltimore, prospective residents should be aware of the expenses they are likely to incur.

Thankfully, the cost of living in Baltimore is reasonable compared to other major cities on the East Coast. A newcomer's biggest living expense is likely to be accommodation. That said, there are plenty of cost-effective living options for those who are willing to commute. 

For prospective residents relocating to Baltimore for work, it's worth negotiating a health insurance contribution as part of their employment contract, as this will result in significant monthly savings.

Cost of accommodation in Baltimore

Newcomers to Baltimore will be pleased to learn that accommodation prices represent fairly good value, especially in comparison to other prominent East Coast cities such as New York, Boston and Washington, DC. 

The cost of renting an apartment in Baltimore is around 28 percent less than the equivalent in Washington, DC. For this reason, there is an increasing number of people who choose to live in Baltimore and commute to Washington, DC daily. 

Cost of transport in Baltimore

Although it isn’t essential, most people living in Baltimore own a car, as it affords them greater freedom to get around and explore surrounding areas over weekends. The cost of gas (petrol) is not expensive and is comparable to prices in other nearby cities. That said, parking in the city centre is pricey and will certainly add up for those who drive to work regularly.

Utilising Baltimore’s extensive public transport system remains the most cost-effective way to get around the city. Prices are reasonable and those planning on using public transport regularly will make significant savings by investing in annual, monthly or weekly passes. Park-and-ride programmes are also available in Baltimore, which is a great way to travel into the city while avoiding parking struggles and costs.

Cost of groceries in Baltimore

While the cost of groceries in Baltimore is not exorbitant, it is 11 percent higher than the national average. Baltimore boasts one of the country's most picturesque inner harbours and an accompanying obsession with crab, new arrivals moving to the city can get seafood at reasonable prices in the city. 

Budget-conscious newcomers can make their grocery budgets stretch further by shopping at discount stores like Aldi and Lidl. While these stores have a limited product selection, they generally offer lower prices than most supermarkets. Buying non-perishables in bulk and purchasing seasonal produce at local markets are other cost-saving measures new arrivals can take. 

Cost of education in Baltimore

Newly arrived parents in Baltimore will need to factor in the cost of education. Much of this will depend on the type of school they decide is best for their child.

Fees at private schools in Baltimore are high, and parents will also need to budget for additional expenses such as uniforms, textbooks, extracurricular activities and field trips. On the other hand, attending a public school in Baltimore comes at little to no cost. 

There are plenty of good charter and magnet schools in Baltimore that offer an excellent standard of education without the hefty price tag. 

Cost of healthcare in Baltimore

Baltimore has some exceptional healthcare facilities. Both the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center are world renowned, but it's worth noting that, as is the case throughout the US, high-quality medical treatment doesn’t come cheap.

Anyone moving to Baltimore should ensure they are covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan – it's wise to invest time exploring various insurance options and to be aware of the co-payments involved. Depending on one’s field of work, some employers will either cover the cost of medical insurance or at least make a contribution.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Baltimore

The cost of entertainment and eating out will really depend on a person’s lifestyle. Those looking to splurge will find plenty of opportunities to do so at Baltimore’s slew of fine dining institutions, bars and clubs. 

On the other hand, enjoying leisure time in Baltimore doesn’t always need to break the bank. Newcomers will find that visiting many of the city’s major attractions won’t cost a thing. Baltimore also has a wide variety of eateries to suit a range of budgets.

Being a university city also means that many bars and restaurants launch special offers to attract crowds. In many instances, these deals will also be extended beyond the student population. 

Cost of living in Baltimore chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Baltimore in October 2023.

Accommodation (monthly)
One-bedroom apartment in city centreUSD 1,430
One-bedroom apartment outside of city centreUSD 1,493
Three-bedroom apartment in city centreUSD 3,000
Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centreUSD 2,600
Eggs (dozen)USD 4.23
Milk (1 litre)USD 1.05
Rice (1kg)USD 8.37
Loaf of breadUSD 3.08
Chicken breasts (1kg)USD 11.14
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)USD 9.50
Eating out
Big Mac MealUSD 10
Coca-Cola (330ml)USD 2.29
CappuccinoUSD 4.75
Local beer (500ml)USD 5
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantUSD 75
Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and dataUSD 43
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)USD 81
Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)USD 149
Taxi rate (per kilometre)USD 2.49
Bus/train fare in the city centreUSD 2
Petrol/gasoline (per litre)USD 0.93

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