The cost of living in Columbus is one of the city's biggest drawcards, and new arrivals will be glad to know that they can get more bang for their buck here than in many other major US cities. Most expenses in Columbus come in at well below US and Ohio averages. In Numbeo's 2020 Cost of Living Index for the USA, Columbus held a middling rank as the country's 36th most expensive city out of 76 cities analysed.

Among these expenses, the largest portion of a person's salary will likely go to accommodation and utilities. Transport expenses will also have to be budgeted for, as a vehicle is more or less a necessity in Columbus.

Cost of accommodation in Columbus

When it comes to accommodation, Columbus has plenty of high-quality options at exceedingly reasonable prices. Rental prices are low compared to the US average, and buying property in Columbus is generally considered a good investment thanks to the continuous healthy growth of the real-estate industry.

The cost of utilities won't break the bank either, as they tend to hover around the same price as the US average.

Cost of transport and driving in Columbus

Options for public transport are few in Columbus, and those living outside of the city centre will almost certainly need to own a car to get around. The combined cost of purchasing, maintaining and insuring a car makes transport a pricier endeavour than in cities with good public transport systems.

Cost of healthcare in Columbus

Healthcare in Columbus is of a high quality. While generally cheaper than in other major cities, healthcare costs in Columbus can quickly add up, which may come as a surprise to those relocating to the US from countries with publicly-funded healthcare systems. In order to access the good quality of care offered in Columbus, we recommend newcomers invest in a good health insurance policy so that costs are covered.

Cost of entertainment in Columbus

While lifestyle preferences will have a significant impact on entertainment expenses, those keeping a close eye on their budget will still be able to find great bargains thanks to the wide variety of options on offer.

With seemingly boundless natural attractions in the form of parks, rivers and lakes, alongside cultural attractions such as galleries and museums, there's plenty to do in Columbus without spending a cent. On the other hand, a night out at a high-end cocktail bar or at one of Columbus's top notch eateries can result in a hefty bill.

Cost of education in Columbus

Apart from minor expenses such as stationery and school lunches, public education is available at no cost to both US and foreign residents of Columbus. As is the case in most cities, public schools can be a mixed bag with some performing poorly while others are high achievers.

Since school attendance is determined by zoning, securing a place at a good public school does depend on where the family lives. More expensive areas tend to have better schools. Still, with the high-value, low-cost accommodation on offer in Columbus, even comparatively expensive areas are well priced.

Private schools are another option and aren't bound by catchment areas, which gives families more freedom in choosing where to live. Private school fees and obligatory extras are usually pricey, though, so parents should ensure their budget can accommodate the cost before committing to sending a child to private school.

Cost of living in Columbus chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for February 2021.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,130

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 860

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,770

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,330


Eggs (dozen)

USD 1.70

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.66

Rice (1kg)

USD 3.70

Loaf of white bread

USD 2.40

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 8.60

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)


Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 1.90



Bottle of local beer


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 57


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.20

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 57

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 178


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.84

Bus/train fare in the city centre


Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.62

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