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City Guides

Utilizing years of collected data and feedback, our team has compiled tons of tips, guides and free tools so that it’s one less thing for you to do. To get you started, check out some of our most-read articles by people just like you:

View City Guides Phone showing City Guide page

Where does the data come from?

We sourced our core cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research’s (C2ER) Cost of Living Index. The C2ER has been publishing quarterly Cost of Living Index (COLI) reports since 1968. The COLI collects data at the local level from independent researchers for over 60 goods and services. Learn more about COLI research methodology.

Additionally, we calculate our MYMOVE cost of living grade from each city by comparing the COLI data set to an American’s average monthly expenses. We source our data for the monthly averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is ‘cost of living,’ and how is it measured?

The first step in determining if you should move to a new city is to make sure that you can afford to live there. That’s where cost of living comes in. Doing a cost of living comparison between your current area and a prospective city ensures that you can maintain your current standard of living in the new location.

COLI, the cost of living index we use to power our calculator, surveys housing, food, health care, transportation, and utility costs to paint a picture of what future expenses would look like if you moved.

How can I use MYMOVE’s cost of living calculator to plan my move?

Our calculator uses COLI, a cost of living index that pulls data from real-life surveyors all over the country. The index refreshes that data quarterly so we can give you up-to-date cost of living by city information. You can then compare that data to your salary to determine what you’d need to earn to maintain your current standard of living.

You can also use the costs listed for everyday living expenses — like the city’s average rent or mortgage, or the price of a grocery item — to outline a budget for your new city. Simply reference your current budget as a starting point and fill in the values using our calculator's data. This will give you an idea of monthly expenses in a new city before you make the move.

Don’t have a specific destination in mind? No worries. Make a list of areas that interest you. Then, run a cost of living comparison by city for each area. This will help you eliminate cities that may be too expensive, so you can find the perfect fit.

Calculator disclosure

This cost of living calculator, which is powered by data from the Council for Community and Economic Research, allows you to compare some costs to live in one area against another. This comparison calculator is not definitive or a guarantee since the calculator does not account for all costs or variables, such as state and local income, property, or school taxes or your spending habits.