Cost of Living in Maryland

Evelyn Long

May 22, 2024


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The cost of living is rising everywhere worldwide, but some U.S. states are known for their higher price tags than others. Is the cost of living in Maryland up there with states like California or is it more reasonable? Discover what the average citizen pays across the state, whether you’re in Hagerstown or Annapolis. 

Picking Apart the Cost of Living in Maryland

The population density and urbanity across Maryland are unique. With the state hugging the boundaries of Washington, D.C., there are a few implications worth noting about the cost of living in Maryland because of this connection. 

The closer citizens get to D.C., the more the cost of living will reflect D.C. prices. The western parts of the state closer to Pennsylvania and West Virginia will drastically differ from the eastern coasts and D.C. metropolitan areas.

Therefore, these prices are averages, but the disparities between city to city in a state that isn’t that large are notable. It is worth it to people looking to move to the state to hone in on specific cities before taking these numbers at face value. 

national harbor Ferris wheel

Breaking Down Expenses

Cost of living comprises several categories, with the most flexible spending area being miscellaneous lifestyle costs and entertainment. The bulk of living costs are necessities, like housing and groceries. However, individual choices, professions and habits are so personal that it’s impossible to accurately paint a picture of every Marylander as one person. Consider this when looking at these values.


Housing costs in the state are high, but don’t let them scare you away. The average home value is $325,767, but comparing Baltimore and Rockville will show extreme differences. Costs in more expensive areas exceed $600,000 or more. These homes are known for a slight weekly appreciation rate of 3.16%, which isn’t as much as more populated places like New York — but it’s still noteworthy.

What about renting? The average rent for a studio is $1,119 and a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,256. For every bedroom you add, the cost ascends several hundred dollars.


Baltimore is 5.8% and Bethesda is 8.4% higher than the national average for utilities. Bethesda is the most costly across the state, and the city usually spends $196.52 per month on energy — though this may vary based on energy composition. However, if this is the most expensive, living in another area will likely be cheaper.

Regarding water, the average price is $46 per month, while the most expensive state is West Virginia at a shocking $91. When looking around for Maryland homes, so may choose West Virginia instead, but this could be a detractor.

The only other utility is internet, which differs from city to city. Some cities have an average cost of around $65, while others ascend closer to $85. However, it depends on speed and connectivity. 

Trash disposal is often bundled with taxes or rent.

national park maryland

Groceries and Food

According to the Average Food Cost Index by State, Marylanders rank 37th out of the states for grocery prices, where 50 is the most expensive — which goes to Alaska. This measures out to between $3,201 and $3,600 yearly on eating.

Health Care

Health care costs vary so much. Whether you’re on Medicare, Medicaid, pay for a family, or get insurance through an employer, there are so many elements at play. However, there are a few figures to pay attention to when looking at Maryland. 

First, some of the best health care facilities in the U.S. are in Maryland, including Johns Hopkins. This helps keep health care costs reasonable, though over-the-counter drugs might have a higher price point. 


Maryland has public transportation with local bus systems and the MARC commuter rail. The metro in and around the D.C. area is also available, and these all have varying prices for each type of pass. These options will cost less than the average price of gasoline, which is $3.714 for regular as of April 2024. 

However, Maryland has more tolls than most states, especially heading into the capital. So, transportation may cost more than normal if traveling these routes regularly.

Entertainment and Miscellaneous Expenses

Taxes in most cities in Maryland are at a rate of 6%, but some items like alcohol are higher. Multiple lifestyle options are possible throughout the state. Living in urban areas could be more expensive, with plenty of live music, art events and fine dining to explore. If you don’t like these activities, your lifestyle expenses might be lower. 

However, there are also expensive outdoor activities and the Appalachian Trail to gallivant, so spending here is also possible. There are several nature hobbies to participate in without throwing money away, but it’s essential to note the diverse options range in price for campers, hikers and climbers alike.

residential homes near water maryland

Is Maryland Affordable Compared to Other States?

Maryland’s cost of living score proves it is pricier than national medians, especially comparing it to neighboring states like West Virginia. Maryland has a 16% higher average for compared to other states, though cities like Bethesda show the nuance. Living there is 14% more costly than other cities in the state, but it is 33% higher than national city averages.

According to the Cost of Living Index, Maryland has a 119.50, where 100 is the national average. It is outranked by only a few states, including:

  • Hawaii
  • D.C.
  • Massachusetts
  • California
  • New York
  • Alaska

Can You Afford the Cost of Living in Maryland?

The cost of living in Maryland may be higher than expected, but it isn’t the most egregious in the U.S. Considering the variety Maryland offers, with national parks, a nearby coastline, and quick access to the nation’s capital, it has perks that bring it the price tag it has to live there. It is possible to find well-paying positions in the state while living in a less expensive place. It may take time to find the balance, but with a little prep, you can afford the cost of living in Maryland.

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