Surviving in the City by the Bay:
Navigating the High Cost of Living in San Francisco

Table of Contents

Cost of Living in San Francisco – Are you looking to move to San Francisco

Knowing the cost of living in this city is essential before deciding.

The short answer is – it depends on your lifestyle!

San Francisco’s famously expensive housing market means living here can be costly. 

According to PayScale, the median salary for those living in San Francisco is around $73,000 per year. 

However, this amount will vary depending on your job title and experience.

Cost of Living in San Francisco

Get A Quote

    For many residents of San Francisco, housing costs take up a large portion of their budget. 

    Median rent is around $3,400 monthly for one-bedroom apartments in desirable areas or around $4,500 for two bedrooms apartments. 

    Other expenses, such as food, transportation, and entertainment, can add up quickly.

    If you are considering moving to San Francisco, comparing the cost of living in this city with other cities is a good idea. 

    While San Francisco may be more expensive than some other places, it also offers higher salaries and greater job opportunities. 

    Ultimately, it’s essential to do your research before making any decisions!

    What is the middle-class salary in San Francisco?

    model of Cost of Living in San Francisco

    The average middle-class salary in San Francisco is not a manageable number to calculate, as it depends on various factors, including the area you live in, your job title, and other variables.

    A useful tool for understanding the salary range you can expect to make in the Bay Area is a living calculator such as Number’s Cost of Living Calculator.

    This calculator considers key economic indicators like median wages, unemployment rates, rental prices, and more to give users an idea of how much they need to earn to maintain their current lifestyle.

    The results may surprise you – according to this calculator, the average middle-class salary in San Francisco falls between $50K-$70K per year.

    Remember that this figure isn’t set in stone, but it’s a good starting point for understanding what salary you’ll need to make if you plan to live comfortably in the Bay Area.

    What is considered low income in San Francisco?

    Aerial View of San Francisco Skyline with City Lights

    Living in San Francisco can be expensive, with high home prices and rent costs. 

    To get a better understanding of what is considered low-income in San Francisco, it is important to consider the average cost of living in the area. 

    According to Data USA, the average median salary for a household in San Francisco was $96,265 in 2018. 

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines low-income households as those earning 80% or less than the median income for their respective areas. 

    For San Francisco, any household earning less than $76,912 annually would qualify as “low income.” 

    However, based on the high cost of living in San Francisco, many people may need help to survive while earning such low wages. 

    The high cost of living in San Francisco can make making ends meet challenging, so various programs and assistance are available to help those in need.

    Therefore, the definition of “low income” in San Francisco is relative when considering the city’s high costs. 

    It is important for residents who qualify as “low income” to take advantage of resources and programs that provide financial assistance to live more securely and comfortably.

    Is 125k a good salary in San Francisco?

    Young woman with shopping bags near mall. Spring Style. Consumerism, purchases,

    The answer to the question, “Is 125k a good salary in San Francisco?” depends on your lifestyle and cost of living. 

    It is essential to consider how much you will need to spend on rent, food, transportation, etc., before making an informed decision.

    To make an accurate comparison between salaries, it is necessary to compare with the average salary in the area. 

    According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average wage for all occupations in San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Metropolitan Statistical Area was $100,950 in May 2019. 

    This means a salary of $125K would be more than 20% higher than the average wage for all occupations in this region.

    Additionally, the cost of living in San Francisco is high. 

    According to Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index, the overall cost of living in San Francisco for a single person is about 90% higher than the national average. 

    Your salary will go further in other cities with lower living costs.

    In conclusion, while $125K is a good salary by national standards, one must consider their lifestyle and cost of living before deciding whether it would be enough to live comfortably in San Francisco. 

    It may be necessary to supplement this salary with additional income or find more affordable housing options if you wish to make it work in this expensive city.

    Is it expensive to live in San Francisco?


    The cost of living in San Francisco, California, is higher than other cities. 

    According to Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index 2019, San Francisco ranks 4th in the U.S., behind New York City, Honolulu, and Los Angeles.

    Depending on your lifestyle and where you live, monthly costs can range from $1,200 to $6,000. 

    Housing is usually the most expensive cost in San Francisco; prices vary widely depending on location and size of space.

    For example, renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from $3,000-$5,000, while a similar apartment outside of downtown might be closer to $2,000 – 2,500.

    Transportation costs are also a major expense; the average cost of owning or leasing a car in San Francisco is estimated at around $850 per month.

    All other expenses, such as food, clothing, and entertainment, will vary depending on individual choices and tastes. 

    While living in San Francisco can be expensive, it’s still one of America’s most popular cities due to its culture, history, and attractions.

    To make the most of your stay here, it’s important to understand what you can expect regarding the cost before you move. 

    Living in San Francisco can be relatively inexpensive with proper budgeting and planning. 


    Living in San Francisco can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options.

    Knowing what salary you need to live comfortably and budget your money effectively.

    While the median income in San Francisco is around $125K, this is far from a guaranteed salary for most jobs in the city.

    But if you’re willing to research what salary fits into your lifestyle and budget, it’s possible to make it work.

    Ultimately, it’s up to you how much you decide to spend. The key is finding a balance between spending on luxuries and necessities.

    Remember that no one salary fits all; the cost of living comparison will help you decide how to craft the ideal budget for your lifestyle — so don’t hesitate to get a quote if you would like more advice!

    Comprehensive Data on the
    Cost of Living in San Francisco

    1. Rent Trends

    Provide data on the average rental prices in different neighborhoods or districts of San Francisco over a specific period. Include information on the most expensive and affordable areas to rent.

    2. Homeownership Costs

    Present data on median home prices in San Francisco, including trends over the years. 

    Discuss the affordability of homeownership and any unique factors impacting the real estate market.

    3. Cost of Goods and Services

     Highlight the prices of common goods and services, such as groceries, dining out, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment. Compare these prices to national averages or other cities.

    4. Transportation Expenses

    Share data on the costs of public transportation passes, fuel prices, parking fees, and car ownership expenses. 

    Include information on alternative transportation options and their affordability.

    5. Utility Costs

    Provide information on average monthly electricity, water, and gas expenses in San Francisco. 

    Compare these costs to national averages and offer tips for reducing utility bills.

    6. Tax Rates

    Detail the local tax rates in San Francisco, including income tax, property tax, and sales tax. Explain any unique tax regulations or exemptions applicable to residents.

    7. Healthcare Costs

    Discuss the average healthcare expenses in San Francisco, including insurance premiums, copayments, and out-of-pocket costs. Highlight any notable healthcare providers or medical institutions in the city.

    8. Education Expenses

    Provide data on education costs, including tuition fees for public and private schools, colleges, and universities in San Francisco. 

    Discuss any scholarships or financial aid opportunities available.

    9. Childcare Costs

    Present information on the average prices of daycare centers, preschools, and after-school programs in San Francisco. Discuss any government assistance programs or subsidies for families.

    10. Quality of Life Factors

    Include data on factors contributing to the overall quality of life in San Francisco, such as safety ratings, access to parks and recreational facilities, cultural amenities, and healthcare rankings.

    By incorporating unique and up-to-date data on these aspects of the cost of living in San Francisco, you can provide valuable insights for individuals considering moving to or residing in the city.

    Frequently Asked Questions

     San Francisco’s high cost of living can be attributed to factors such as a thriving tech industry, limited housing supply, high demand, and a high overall standard of living.

    Housing costs are a significant portion of the overall cost of living in San Francisco, with rental and home prices being considerably higher compared to many other cities in the United States.

    While San Francisco does offer some affordable housing programs, the availability is limited, and the demand often outweighs the supply. Affordable housing options can be quite competitive to secure.

    The cost of groceries and daily necessities in San Francisco tends to be higher compared to other cities due to factors like transportation costs, high property rents for stores, and the overall higher cost of living.

    Living comfortably in San Francisco on an average income can be challenging, especially given the high cost of housing and other expenses. Budgeting and careful financial planning are essential to make ends meet.

    Strategies for managing expenses in San Francisco include budgeting, seeking out affordable housing options, exploring public transportation, cooking at home, and being mindful of discretionary spending.

    Healthcare costs in San Francisco can be higher compared to other cities due to factors such as the higher cost of living and the presence of prestigious medical institutions. It is advisable to have health insurance to help manage medical expenses.

    San Francisco offers various transportation options, including public transit systems like buses, trains, and cable cars. Utilizing these modes of transportation can help save on commuting costs.

    The average utility costs in San Francisco, including electricity, water, and gas, tend to be higher compared to national averages. Actual costs can vary depending on factors like usage, apartment size, and the season.

    The cost of education in San Francisco, including tuition fees and living expenses for students, can be high compared to other cities. However, San Francisco is home to prestigious educational institutions, providing excellent academic opportunities.



    Moving Process

    Call Us

    You can either call us or fill out the online form.

    Get Quote

    We are very transparent when giving our price no hidden charges.

    Book with us!

    When you agree to our fees, let's go ahead and book your move.

    Let's Go!

    The day of the move has finally arrived! We are excited to help you relocate to your new home or office and are looking forward to a smooth and successful move.

    New Home

    We will take care of putting your furniture back together and arrange it in your new space.

    List of Nearby Cities and Zip code

    Our local moving services cover the following nearby cities to facilitate your local move. However, if you do not find your city in the list, there is no need to worry as we provide moving services to all cities in the Bay Area.

    • Palo Alto
    • San Jose
    • Mountain View
    • Sunnyvale
    • Santa Clara
    • Menlo Park
    • San Mateo
    • Redwood City
    • Fremont
    • Oakland
    • Cupertino
    • Pleasanton
    • Campbell
    • Los Altos
    • Burlingame
    • Milpitas
    • Emeryville
    • Los Gatos
    • South San Francisco
    • San Ramon


    • San Carlos
    • Foster City
    • San Rafael
    • San Bruno
    • Walnut Creek
    • Santa Cruz
    • Hayward
    • Alameda
    • Sausalito
    • Santa Rosa
    • Mill Valley
    • Redwood Shores
    • Newark
    • Petaluma
    • Saratoga
    • Livermore
    • Stanford
    • Concord
    • Novato
    • Belmont

    GET A QUOTE - Need Immediate Moving? Call Us at 650-281-5038