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Cost of Living in Chattanooga, TN

We’ve broken down the cost of living in Chattanooga, TN, comparing it to other states and the US national average.

A view from across a river showing a blue bridge and a building across the way that has triangle peaks.

The overall cost of living in Chattanooga is lower than the national average.

Photo by Denis Tangey Jr. via Chattanooga Tourism Co.

Table of Contents

With Chattanooga constantly growing and undertaking various developments, we figured it was time to talk about the cost of planting some roots in the Scenic City.

The median household income in Chattanooga is $50,437 (in 2021 dollars) according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, Tennessee is No. 42 in the country for median income at ~$59,695 per household.

The overall cost of living in Chattanooga is lower than the national average at 86.5 (based on a US average of 100), and lower than the rest of the state.

In Chattanooga, the cost of healthcare is higher compared to the US average. However, the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, and transportation in the city is lower than the national average.

Breaking down the numbers

Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $50,000 annually – according to experts — you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly gross income on rent and utilities. We did the math for you: Your max monthly budget would be $1,250. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Chattanooga is $1,400, putting you over budget.

Take a look at the chart below to see how Chattanooga’s cost of living compares to that of the capital city of Nashville (howdy, NASHtoday).

Screenshot showing the cost of living between Chattanooga and Nashville

Chattanooga has more affordable food and groceries, housing, utilities, and transportation than Nashville.

Screenshot via

Interested in seeing Chattanooga’s cost of living compared to other cities? We played around on nerdwallet’s cost of living calculator, where you can put in any city along with your current pre-tax household income.

We took a look at the cost of living in Chattanooga compared to Austin, TX (hey, ATXtoday). Here’s what we found:

  • The cost of living is 9% higher in Austin.
  • To maintain a $50,000 Chattanooga household income standard of living, we would need to bring in $54,448 in Austin.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,734 — $334 more than Chattanooga.

To help with affordable housing, Chattanooga recently released an Affordable Housing Search Tool — an interactive, data-driven resource created in collaboration with Bloomberg’s City Alliance.

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