While several organizations calculate the cost of living, and many of them disagree on ranking the most and least expensive places to live in the United States, they all agree that Lubbock, Texas, is a city where the cost of living is below the national average.
Taking into account housing, transportation, medical, grocery, and utility costs, Lubbock finds itself an affordable place to live in the United States. Compared with cities like New York and San Francisco, Lubbock is very far ahead in terms of affordability.
While housing prices seemingly never stop rising, even in Lubbock, the prices remain below national averages and even below the averages for Texas cities. Other categories find Lubbock falling in the affordable range, as well.
Calculating Cost of Living
To determine how much money one needs to maintain a desired standard of living, we need data about the location we’re considering. Most costs of living indexes evaluate cities and states with these costs:
- Housing (rent or mortgage)
- Median home purchase price
No matter what company, realtor, or website you search when looking at the cost of living, Lubbock, TX, will rank among the lowest. There are major cities that are less expensive to live in, but there are not many of them, and many more places cost more.
Lubbock, Texas’ Cost of Living
According to World Population Review, the entire state of Texas falls below the average cost of living for the United States. It stands to reason, then, that Lubbock is an affordable city. A realty website called BestPlaces.com lists Lubbock with a cost-of-living score of 79.9 on a scale where a score of 100 represents the national average.
Considering the cost of a hospital stay, a doctor’s visit, and a trip to the dentist, the site lists only healthcare as a factor of Lubbock’s cost of living being higher than average. However, the vast disparities between national averages and Lubbock’s other costs more than make up for healthcare costs.
The website lists Lubbock’s transportation and utilities costs very close to the national average but still below it.
Falling far below national averages, Lubbock, Texas, offers housing costs that significantly drive down the total cost of living. This applies to home prices as well as rental rates. While the average home cost in Lubbock is just over $150,000, homes in Houston, Dallas, and Austin are $100,000 more and higher.
While rents are growing faster in Texas than in the rest of the nation (the comptroller’s office lists Lubbock as one of the cities with the fastest-growing rental rates between 2011 and 2016), they still average around $1,000 per month.
National apartment rent averages between $1,400 and $1,600 depending on what source of information you have, as different organizations may use other variables in their evaluations and calculations.
Lubbock’s Economic Development Alliance lists the city as having a higher cost of living than San Antonio, but below every other major Texas city and far below coastal metropolises like New York and Los Angeles. However, their data ranks Lubbock as the 13th most affordable city in the nation regarding transportation costs.
When evaluated with data from a study done by the Council for Community and Economic Research, the city of Lubbock ends up being below the national average and right at the state average in cost of living. Its inexpensive transportation costs, which are those expenses associated with car ownership, car usage, and public transportation rates, are a big part of this.
The city’s costs in this area fall far below national averages and help drive the overall cost of living to one of the lowest in the country.
Utilities and Groceries
Texas, according to move.org, has the 19th lowest utility prices in the country. Texans pay $100 monthly for cable television, just over that for electricity, and around $110 for natural gas. Rent.com lists 16 Texas cities in its rankings of the 50 most affordable cities to grocery shop in.
Groceries are equally affordable in Texas generally and Lubbock, specifically. Using an extensive dataset, Numbeo rates basic utilities for a 915 square foot apartment at just over $100, while New York City, for some perspective, is nearly 50% more expensive.
The only cost-of-living category Lubbock, Texas, ranks above average in is healthcare. It isn’t wildly above the national average, but it is higher. However, that is the case for the entire state, according to a Houston Chronicle article.
Texans spent just over $6,000 on health care in one year, while the national average was $5,900. It’s not much more than the national average, but the difference does exist. Lubbock falls in the middle of Texas cities and their average annual healthcare costs, meaning that it is slightly more expensive than the national average.
However, every other metric in determining the cost of living, no matter the data or methodology used in calculating the cost of living, is lower than the national average in Lubbock, Tex.
People looking to move to a more affordable place would do well to consider Lubbock. Additionally, it is the home of Texas Tech University and a hub of both barbecue and local wineries. Lubbock offers a cost of living below the national average, and one would do well to remember that Texas does not have a state income tax.
Before pulling up stakes for the Lone Star State, you’ll want to do some calculations, but you will not find many places– in Texas or any other state– that offer the affordability of Lubbock, Texas.
Driven by low housing and transportation costs, Lubbock’s cost of living is low. Your salary dollars will go far there, and the money from the sale of your home in a more expensive state will go farther.
The Economic Policy Institute has a handy Cost Of Living calculator that can help plan your budget or consider moving to a new area. However, Lubbock is a good place to start.