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Cost of Living in Chattanooga, TN

two housing units under construction, with various building materials lying around nearby

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

Photo by NOOGAtoday

Table of Contents

With Chattanooga constantly growing and undertaking multiple high-profile developments this year, we figured it was time to talk about the cost of planting some roots in the Scenic City.

The median household income in Hamilton County is $56,606 according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, Tennessee is No. 42 in the country for median income at ~$54,833 per household.

Screenshot comparing Chattanooga's cost of living to both Tennessee + the national average

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

Screenshot via

The overall cost of living in Chattanooga is lower than the national average, and lower than the rest of the state.

In Chattanooga, the cost of healthcare is lower compared to other parts of the state + the US. However, the cost of groceries in the city have higher average costs, while housing, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses have lower average costs than other cities in Tennessee and the country overall.

Breaking down the numbers

Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $50,000 annuallyaccording to experts — you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly gross income on rent and utilities. Don’t worry, we did the math for you — your max monthly budget would be $1,250. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Chattanooga is $1,328 — putting you over budget.

According to a recent study by Attom Data Solutions, it’s actually more affordable to rent a home in Hamilton County than to buy.

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 + groceries than Nashville.

Screenshot via

Interested in seeing Chattanooga’s cost of living compared to cities in other states? 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 to find out what other cities you could actually afford to live in.

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

  • The cost of living is 7% higher in Austin.
  • To maintain our standard of living, we would need to bring in $53,492 to our Austin household.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,520, which is $472 more than Chattanooga.

Chattanooga also has several community initiatives receiving funding through the One Chattanooga Relief and Recovery Plan that are working to expand affordable housing.

There are also a number of local development firms working on apartments seemingly all the time — from the Mill Town development working to offer “opportunities for a variety of income levels” to the affordable housing development Reserve at Mountain Pass in South Chattanooga.

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