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Tucked away in the lower corner of New England on the Atlantic coast, Connecticut is as charming as it is breathtaking. Between its mountainous landscape, quaint seaside and vibrant cities surrounded by small towns, it has much to offer visitors and residents alike.
Of course, not everyone can afford to live in the Nutmeg State, let alone the rest of New England. If you’ve been considering a move, here’s what you should know about the cost of living in Connecticut.
How Much Must You Earn to Live in Connecticut?
Connecticut’s economy is greatly structured around insurance and manufacturing. The state’s even dubbed the “Insurance Capital” for the 1,391 foreign and domestic insurers headquartered there.
Yet, despite a steady industry, Connecticut maintains a 10% poverty rate. At the same time, the minimum wage is $14.00 per hour — not nearly enough to cover essentials like housing, health care and groceries.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Living Wage Calculator, a single adult without children must earn $19 hourly to afford the cost of living in Connecticut. For single parents of two, hourly wage requirements increase to $46.50.
Often, expenses are higher in urban areas than rural areas — this is no different for Connecticut. Determining the costs of living compared to your earnings should be the deciding factor as to whether you can afford it there.
What’s the Cost of Living in Connecticut
Cost of living breaks down the expenses for housing, food, health care, transportation and energy. Here’s what Connecticut residents typically spend.
Connecticut housing costs 35% more than the national average — meaning a good portion of your income will be allocated to homeownership or paying rent.
Of course, housing costs depend on where you live. Stamford is currently the most expensive city in the state, where the cost of living is 12% higher than the rest of Connecticut and 37% higher than the U.S. average.
According to Datasembly’s 2022 Grocery Price Index Year-End Update, Connecticut’s food inflation rate was 19.5% in 2022 — the highest in the country.
The Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) Budget Calculator indicates that a family of four will spend $10,614 annually on food in the Hartford metro area.
Restaurants have also increased their menu prices to account for rising food costs. In May 2022, Connecticut diners paid as much as 7.4% more eating out than in 2021.
Connecticut winters are as picturesque as a holiday greeting card. However, they also last from November to April. As such, a good chunk of living expenses goes to energy and utilities.
- Electricity: $166
- Oil: $76
- Natural gas: $39
With rising fuel prices, it’s been difficult for many residents to cover the costs of heating their homes.
Although Connecticut is a hub for insurers, health care costs are high. In 2020, each person spent $12,500 for medical care — the rest of the country paid about $10,000.
Additionally, the state’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) monthly premiums were $627 compared to $456 in other states, ranking fifth most expensive in the country.
Connecticut car ownership is also more expensive. On average, owning and operating a vehicle costs residents $11,000 annually, compared to $10,700 nationally.
Gas prices are slightly below the country’s average — $3.30 in Connecticut to $3.44 nationwide — yet, fluctuating prices significantly impact transportation costs.
U.S. Cost of Living Is Rising Everywhere
Connecticut is one of many U.S. states where the cost of living is skyrocketing as this past year’s inflation has jacked the country’s prices of goods and services.
According to an analysis by WalletHub, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, saw a 9.9% consumer price increase in December 2022 year-over-year — higher than any other city.
In states like Hawaii, higher living costs are sending residents packing. A single-family home costs an average of $1 million in Honolulu, while Hawaiians typically expend 40% of their income on rent.
Unfortunately, price hikes have negatively impacted the American dream. A recent U.S. News and World Report study found that 52% of respondents had to move back in with family or find a roommate to offset housing costs in 2022. Likewise, 50% felt homeownership was but a distant fantasy.
Connecticut Livability Depends on Income
A decent salary is the only way living comfortably in Connecticut is possible. Prospective residents must examine their current income and compare their expenses to the state’s cost of living before moving. Those who can swing it will be happy living there.