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The cost of living in Indianapolis

How much does it cost to live in the Circle City compared to other cities and the US national average? Let’s crunch some numbers.

An aerial shot of downtown with Monument Circle in the distance

Many new developments are cropping up downtown.

Photo via @iandefelice

Table of Contents

With Indy constantly growing and undertaking several developments this year, we figured it was time to talk about the cost of planting some roots in the Circle City.

The median household income in Marion County is $59,504, according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, Indiana is No. 38 in the country for median income at ~$62,743 per household.

A screenshot of a cost of living chart

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

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The overall cost of living in Indy is lower than the national average, but higher than the rest of the state. This also goes for the cost of health care, groceries, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Breaking down the numbers

Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $60,000 annually — according 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 $1,500. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Indy is $1,195 — leaving you little to no wiggle room.

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

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering how much you can currently afford to spend on buying a home in Indy, try using SmartAsset’s cost calculator. Factors like your marital status, annual pre-tax income, down payment, and monthly debt will help determine that figure. According to BestPlaces, the median home cost in Indianapolis is $221,900.

Take a look at the chart below to see how Indy’s cost of living compares to that of Fort Wayne, IN.

A screenshot of a cost of living chart

Indy’s median income is slightly higher than Fort Wayne, and so is average home price.

Screenshot from

Interested in seeing Indy’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 Indy compared to Chicago, IL. Here’s what we found:

  • The cost of living is 24% higher in Chicago.
  • To maintain our Hoosier standard of living in Chicago, we would need to bring in $61,967 to our household.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $3,176, which is $1,881 more than Indy.

Local housing + developments

Indy has entities such as the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana + other government-funded programs to help develop more affordable units.

There are also a number of local development firms working on apartments seemingly all the time — from 1820 Ventures LLC’s redevelopment plans downtown to the affordable housing additions to the Monon 30 Project.

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