As with any city, the cost of living in Detroit will vary depending on the lifestyles and tastes of individuals. That said, the Motor City is quite affordable overall, as evidenced in its ranking of 80th most expensive out of 227 cities surveyed on the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2023, placing it well below other large cities in the US. 

Cost of accommodation in Detroit

The cost of accommodation in Detroit varies. Owing to the constant redevelopment of the city, there are many opportunities to buy or rent properties on the cheap, but this will often entail extensive maintenance and renovations. New arrivals looking to avoid these extra costs would do better to seek out accommodation that is slightly more expensive but requires less renovation.

That said, housing overall remains relatively cheap and rent is usually affordable, even within the upmarket suburbs near the city centre.

Utilities are not usually included in the advertised monthly rental price and will need to be paid for separately, so newcomers will need to account for these additional costs in their monthly budget. 

Cost of transport in Detroit

Most of Detroit's residents usually own a car, although motor insurance is notoriously expensive. New arrivals should also budget for petrol (gas), as Detroit is a large city and they may find themselves driving long distances.

While public transport in the city isn’t as extensive as the systems found in other US metros such as New York or Boston, there are reasonably priced bus services, including Greyhound, Megabus and SMART, that travel through both the suburbs and city centre.

Cost of groceries in Detroit

Living in Detroit presents an opportunity to benefit from grocery prices that are notably lower than the national average. Residents can expect to pay more than 10 percent less for their groceries compared to other parts of the United States, and slightly less than the state average. This affordability is reflected in the wide array of grocery stores dotting the city, including but not limited to Meijer, Lafayette Foods, Honey Bee Market and Prince Valley Market. These stores offer a variety of food items and household necessities catering to the diverse needs of Detroit's population.

Beyond traditional grocery stores, Detroit's commitment to fresh, locally sourced food is evident in its vibrant farmers market scene. Markets such as the Northwest Detroit Farmers' Market, Second Grace Umc Farmers Market, E. Warren Farmers Market, Islandview Farmers Market, Shed 3 at Eastern Market, Hope Village Farmers Market, and Red Flower Growers serve as community hubs where residents can purchase fresh produce, homemade goods and handcrafted items.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Detroit

From fast-casual eateries and street food that provide quick, affordable meals to upscale dining options where a three-course meal signifies a more refined experience, Detroit accommodates every palate and wallet. Detroit prides itself on its diverse culinary landscape, which includes a high concentration of international and ethnic restaurants. Notably, Greektown is celebrated for its authentic Greek dining establishments and Mexicantown for its array of Mexican cuisine, each adding to the rich tapestry of Detroit's food scene.

Detroit's nightlife and entertainment offerings are just as vibrant and diverse. From the iconic jazz clubs offering soulful live music and delicious soul food to the Detroit Princess river cruises providing unique tours and events, there's no shortage of recreational activities. The city's nightlife thrives in areas such as downtown Detroit, Royal Oak, Ferndale, and Midtown, each bustling with bars, clubs, and live music venues to cater to every preference. For those in search of free entertainment, Detroit boasts several parks and islands, such as Campus Martius Park and Belle Isle Park, offering peaceful retreats and cultural experiences like jazz fests.

Cost of education in Detroit

Those who send their children to local public schools will have few expenses, as fees are free of charge. Parents will only need to take care of stationery and school lunches at public schools. Attendance at international schools, on the other hand, usually tends to be pricey.

Cost of healthcare in Detroit

The cost of healthcare and health insurance in Detroit is influenced by numerous factors, including the costs of medical care and the premiums for health insurance. Michigan ranks favourably in terms of medical care costs, being one of the more affordable states for emergency room visits and hospital stays. Despite this, Detroit stands out for its relatively high health insurance premiums, surpassing the national average. This discrepancy highlights the city's efforts to balance quality medical care with the affordability of health insurance.

Access to affordable healthcare is a pivotal concern for Detroit residents, particularly for those with limited or no insurance coverage. The city is actively working towards enhancing health outcomes and economic equity by improving access to medical care and addressing social determinants of health.

Cost of living in Detroit chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Detroit in March 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreUSD 3,300
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreUSD 1,660
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreUSD 1,410
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreUSD 1,030
Food and drink
Dozen eggsUSD 4.25
Milk (1 litre)USD 0.86
Rice (1kg)USD 5.69
Loaf of white breadUSD 2.97
Chicken breasts (1kg)USD 4.86
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)USD 9
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantUSD 70
Big Mac MealUSD 10
Coca-Cola (330ml)USD 2.11
CappuccinoUSD 4.75
Bottle of beer (local)USD 1.71
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)USD 0.33
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)USD 74
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)USD 230
Taxi rate/kmUSD 1.40
City-centre public transport fareUSD 2
Gasoline (per litre)USD 0.88

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