Everything you need to know about moving to Greater Portland.

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Portland's Cost of Living

Photo by Shardayyy on flickr

Anyone who has ever relocated to another city knows that number crunching before packing up the moving van is the first step. After all, knowing how far your paycheck can stretch once you’re in your new city is an important consideration for any relocating family or individual.

If you’re used to affordable housing prices, reasonable grocery bills, and inexpensive health care, you don’t want to be surprised if your new city is much pricier. You'll want to make sure you can maintain your current lifestyle if moving from a city like Raleigh, NC, where the cost of living is lower. Conversely, if moving from San Francisco, you can sustain a reduction in income without reducing your present lifestyle.

How Portland Measures Up

When compared to cities that are similar – in terms of major industries and population, among other factors – your hard-earned dollar might not stretch quite as far In Portland. In fact, you’ll likely pay more for housing, groceries, transportation, and healthcare – and we’ve got the stats to prove it. You'll likely pay less for utilities, which could be a factor of Portland's relatively temperate climate.

The Council for Community and Economic Research is a national organization dedicated to economic development and policy research, and it publishes an annual Cost of Living Index that ranks a range of living expenses in major cities. The index measures differences between areas in the cost of consumer goods and services, minus taxes and non-consumer expenditures.

It also measures relative price levels for consumer goods and services in participating areas. The average for a participating place—both metropolitan and non-metro—is 100, and each city’s index is read as a percentage of the average for all places. See the chart on the opposite page to see how Portland ranks against other large metro areas, and you’ll see that it’s more expensive in just about every category measured to plant your roots here.

Whether you’re thinking about moving here, or have just made the move, it’s safe to say that the Portland area is a thriving, desirable region, but paradise does not come cheap.


Here's a handy cost of living calculator, to see what you need to earn to maintain (or increase or decrease) your current lifestyle. Or, for a quick glance, see the chart below.

Want to know how living in the Portland area compares to other cities? Assuming a $60,000 salary in the city you're moving from,  we used a salary/cost of living calculator to do the math. If you made $60,000 in Atlanta for example, your salary in Portland would need to increase to $75,332  to maintain the same standard of living. See the table below for the results from a sampling of other cities.

Assuming a $60,000/year salary:          
If you're moving from here…. You'd need to make…    
Atlanta   $75,332        
Austin   $79,322        
Boston   $54,538        
Chicago   $64,330        
Cleveland   $74,433        
Dallas   $78,408        
Denver   $69,851        
Detroit   $78,904        
Los Angeles   $55,590        
Memphis   $87,681        
Miami   $67,399        
New York City   $33,760        
Phoenix   $78,081        
Pittsburgh   $77,919        
Raleigh   $80,430        
Salt Lake City   $79,575        
San Diego   $55,467        
San Francisco   $44,865        
San Jose   $49,920        
Seattle   $59,194        
St. Louis   $80,086        
Source: C2ER, March 2014