Banner Image: ost of Living in Philadelphia for a Single Person

Cost of Living in Philadelphia for a Single Person

Philadelphia’s a vibrant city, but singles’ living costs can feel like a tightrope walk. Rent, groceries, daily expenses – it all adds up fast.

Let’s explore the realities of living in Philly as a single person and the challenges you face.

1. Housing cost:

While Philadelphia boasts a lower cost of living than some major cities, like New York with its average rent at 102.93% higher, it can still feel financially demanding for single residents. This affordability gap attracts many seeking a more budget-friendly alternative without sacrificing city life. However, managing daily expenses in Philly can still be a balancing act, especially for renters.

The following list includes the comparisons under families’ cost of living, bachelor’s, and accommodations.

Accommodation costPremiumNormallower
Rent for house/ apartment$1860$1509$1200
Airbnb (1 day)$169$98$84
Studio Apartment$564$563$562
Co-working space$364$345$345
Cost of living for family/couplePremiumNormalLower
Cost of living for bachelor’sPremiumNormalLower

Source: 1,2

1.1 Median rent for a 2-bedroom apartment:

Rittenhouse Square is a historic neighbourhood located in the heart of Philadelphia. It’s known for its namesake park, Rittenhouse Square, a popular spot for locals and tourists. The neighbourhood also has several high-end shops, restaurants, and hotels. But do make sure to not welcome a dent in your pockets, as rents in these areas could be well affirmed.

However, popular public rental platforms (Zillow, Zumper, do incentivise your outlook for rental apartments by a few thousand dollars. Here is a brief comparison of the same.

StatesCost of accommodationPrice of UtilitiesTotal cost of living with family



$3,800 – $5,000




$3,500 – $4,500(Suburbs)
New Jersey



$4,500 – $6,000



$4,000 – $5,000

1.2 Median home price:

Philly’s median home price held steady at $255,000 compared to last year. However, there’s a slight uptick in price per square foot, reaching $200, reflecting a 2.0% increase year-over-year.

2. Cost of living in Philadelphia for students:

Philadelphia offers a student-friendly budget. While rent can vary, the city boasts a lower average cost of living than many major US cities.  An individual can expect to spend around $1,200 to $1,500 monthly on essentials like housing, food, and transportation.

Meanwhile, here is a detailed table of the cost of living in Philadelphia,

ItemsCost of Living in Philadelphia (Monthly)
On Campus Accommodation $1160
Off-Campus Accommodation$ 650
Transportation$ 96
Food Cost$ 260
Utility Cost$ 163
Entertainment$ 56
Groceries$ 60
Clothes$ 118
Total Cost of Living with Off-Campus Accommodation $ 1430
Total Cost of Living with On-Campus Accommodation $ 1859
Annual Cost of Living$ 16840

This table outlines the estimated monthly costs for a student living off-campus in Philadelphia. At $650, housing is the biggest expense, followed by food at $320 (including groceries and eating out).

Transportation, utilities, and entertainment come next, averaging around $96, $163, and $56 respectively.

Clothes and other expenses add roughly $168. The total monthly cost comes to around $1430. On-campus living can be more expensive by about $1209.

Source: 1,2,3

3. Healthcare Cost:

In Philadelphia, a single adult can expect to spend roughly $4,334 annually on healthcare.

Cost of a Doctor’s visit$131.0
Cost of a Dentist visit$106.25
Cost of an Optometrist visit$124.0
Cost of a Lipitor$398.37

3.1 Comparison with National Interest:

Philly healthcare costs for a single adult average around $4,334 annually. This covers general medical expenses. Although it’s an estimate, the average price may vary according to the individual.

The cost of living index compares a city’s average costs (housing, groceries, etc.) to the national average (100). Scores above 100 indicate a higher cost of living, while scores below 100 mean it’s lower. The index considers various expenses, with housing holding the most weight (30%). If data is missing, estimates from nearby cities are used.

IndexPhiladelphiaPennsylvaniaNational Average
Cost of living10298100
Goods & Services10399100

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted US healthcare spending. Lockdowns in 2020 limited access to in-person care, job losses affected insurance coverage, and elective surgeries were delayed.

Surprisingly, average healthcare spending dipped slightly in 2020 compared to 2019. By 2021, spending rebounded as vaccinations became available, telehealth grew popular, and restrictions eased.

Children with COVID-19 had medical costs 1.75 times higher on average than healthy children, while adults with COVID-19 had costs 1.56 times higher. Costs were highest for adults aged 50-64.

Unsurprisingly, hospitalisation for COVID-19 significantly increased medical costs for children and adults.

Source: 1,2

4. Local economy of Philly:

Philadelphia’s economy has been a top topic for quite some time. Traditional sectors like healthcare are resilient, but a fascinating shift is happening.

Sectors like hospitality are on a rebound since the pandemic troubled the local economy, and Professional & Business Services emerged as a leader in 2024, diversifying the city’s economic base. This move offers resilience and potential growing pains as new industries take root.

4.1 Employment rate:

The pandemic significantly impacted Philadelphia’s job market across different sectors.

All sectors saw job losses in early 2020, with Leisure and Hospitality experiencing the steepest decline (60%). Notably, Education and Health Services consistently provided the most jobs, followed historically by Government.

However, the post-pandemic recovery shifted this dynamic, with Professional and Business Services now holding the second-highest number of jobs compared to Government. This highlights the varying effects of the pandemic and recovery on different job sectors in Philadelphia.

4.2 Positive recovery from COVID-19:

Philadelphia’s job market in 2024 shows encouraging signs of post-pandemic recovery. Though all sectors felt the initial impact in 2020, Leisure and Hospitality have significantly rebounded.

Positively, Education and Health Services, the city’s pre-pandemic job leader, remains strong. The emergence of Professional and Business Services as a new leader in 2024 highlights a promising shift in Philadelphia’s economic landscape.

A recent study paints a worrying picture of Philadelphia’s post-pandemic recovery. By September 2021, the city had lost 7.6% of its jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels.

This translates to a potential daily worker shortage of 19,000, fueled by factors like remote work. This decline in physical presence could significantly impact tax revenue, posing a challenge for Philadelphia’s economic future.

4.3 Philadelphia unemployment rate:

Philadelphia’s unemployment rate offers positive signs. As of recent data the rate sits around 3.5%, lower than the national average and the city’s long-term trend.

This suggests a recovering job market and healthy economic growth. The current economic rate has liberalized itself from a dichotomic rate of 6% back in 2022.

Source: 1,2,3,4

5. Cost of living comparison with the national average:

Comparing costs to the national average (on a scale of 100) involves essential items like housing, groceries, and transportation.

National data tracks their average prices. Local prices are then compared. If Philadelphia’s rent is $1,200 compared to the national average of $1,000 (index 100), Philadelphia’s rent has an index of 120 (20% higher).

 CategoriesPhiladelphiaPennsylvaniaUnited States
  Median Home Cost$205,900$242,800$338,100

5.1 Cost of living in Philadelphia in comparison to other states:

Philadelphia’s living costs fall somewhere in the middle compared to other states. Housing might be cheaper than in neighboring states like New Jersey, but groceries or utilities could be slightly higher.

Overall, the cost of living might be more affordable in states like California or New York, but less affordable than in some southern states like Alabama, Delaware, Florida, etc.

Cost of living Philadelphia single person

San Francisco’s charm comes at a hefty price compared to Philadelphia. Housing costs, the biggest culprit, are 189 times higher in San Francisco. While groceries might be slightly more expensive there, dining out takes a bigger bite due to pricier restaurants.

Though both cities have public transportation, utilities, and other expenses, it may also be steeper in San Francisco. While taxes exist in both, Philadelphia offers a lower state income tax rate. If affordability is key, Philadelphia’s vibrant scene comes at a more budget-friendly cost.

Opting for Philadelphia over Brooklyn offers significant cost advantages. Housing, the biggest expense, can be up to 50% lower. Grocery prices may be similar, but dining out is pricier in Brooklyn. While both offer public transport, car ownership might be cheaper in Philadelphia. Entertainment and other expenses may also be higher in Brooklyn due to its wider range of options. Taxes add another layer – New York’s are higher. Choose affordability and Philadelphia’s vibrancy, or Brooklyn’s variety at a premium

Choosing between these two cities depends on your priorities. Housing costs are similar, with a slight edge to Dallas. Groceries are comparable, but dining might be cheaper in Dallas. The biggest cost difference lies in taxes – Texas has no state income tax, a major advantage for Dallas. Utilities might also be more affordable in Dallas due to the climate.

Dover offers a quieter life with a lower cost of living, particularly in housing. While both have state income taxes, Delaware’s is generally lower. Philadelphia provides a vibrant city experience with a wider range of food, entertainment, and activities options, but comes with a higher price tag for rent, groceries, and other expenses.

Philadelphia offers a significantly more affordable lifestyle compared to San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley. Housing costs, the biggest culprit, can be double or even triple in San Jose. While grocery prices might be similar, dining out tends to be pricier in San Jose. Taxes add another layer: California’s state income tax is higher than Philadelphia’s..

Source: 1,2,3,4

Philadelphia presents a compelling mix of affordability and urban vibrancy. Housing costs are significantly lower than in some coastal cities, and while daily expenses might be slightly above the national average, they remain manageable.

This makes Philadelphia an attractive option for those seeking a dynamic city experience without breaking the bank. However, keep in mind that individual spending habits can vary, so research and minimize your needs per settling in the lands of brotherhood with ease.


Q: What is the average monthly rent for a single-person apartment in Philadelphia?

A: Philadelphia offers a budget-friendly lifestyle compared to many US cities. Renting a one-bedroom apartment typically falls between $900 and $1,500 monthly, with overall expenses remaining manageable.

Q: How much should I budget for groceries and dining out?

A:For single Philadelphians, groceries and dining can range from $200 to $400 monthly. This flexible range reflects how your eating habits and preferences impact your food budget.

Q: Are there affordable transportation options for individuals in Philadelphia?

A: Philly keeps your wallet happy with its public transport! SEPTA buses, trolleys, and subways start at $2.50 a ride, with weekly or monthly passes for even deeper savings.

Q: What are typical utility costs for single-person households in Philadelphia?

A: Philly keeps utilities reasonable for solo dwellers! Expect to pay $100-$200 monthly for electricity, heat, water, and internet, depending on usage and your provider.

Q: In comparison to the national average, is healthcare affordable?

A: Healthcare in Philly can vary but reflects national averages. Factor in health insurance premiums, co-pays, and potential out-of-pocket costs when budgeting.

Q: Specific guide and tips to find affordable accommodations in Philadelphia?

A: Singles in Philly seeking affordable housing can explore outlying areas, find roommates, and utilize platforms like Zillow or Craigslist.

Q: What are the average entertainment and leisure expenses for individuals in Philadelphia?

A: Philly’s solo entertainment scene caters to most budgets! Expect to spend between $100 and $300 monthly on fun, depending on your preferences. This could include dining out, catching movies, or exploring cultural events.

Q: In comparison to most of the states, what is the cost of living for individuals in Philadelphia?

A: While not the most expensive major city, Philadelphia presents a moderate cost of living for single residents. Compared to bustling hubs like New York or San Francisco, you’ll find more affordable options.

Q: Are there any resources or assistance programs for singles struggling to cope up with the cost of living in Philadelphia?

A: Philadelphia offers a network of support programs for single residents facing financial difficulties. These programs, often provided by the government or non-profit organizations, can include assistance with food, housing costs, and healthcare.

Q: What are some strategies and techniques to maintain a comfortable lifestyle as a single person in Philadelphia?

A: Develop a budget that prioritizes needs, then explore cost-saving strategies like discounts and coupons. Consider supplementing your income with part-time work or freelance opportunities to bolster your financial well-being.


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