Main Content

Home » Is Chattanooga Expensive to Live? A Comprehensive Guide to the Cost of Living in the Scenic City

Is Chattanooga Expensive to Live? A Comprehensive Guide to the Cost of Living in the Scenic City


When considering a move to a new city, one of the key factors to consider is the cost of living. Chattanooga, also known as the Scenic City, has been growing in popularity due to its beautiful natural surroundings, thriving art scene, and vibrant downtown. But is Chattanooga expensive to live? In this blog post, we’ll provide an in-depth look at the cost of living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to help you decide if it’s the right place for you.

Cost of Living Index

The cost of living index is a useful tool that can help you compare the affordability of living in Chattanooga to other cities. The national average cost of living index in the United States is 100. A city with a cost of living index higher than 100 is considered more expensive, while a city with an index lower than 100 is considered more affordable.

As of 2022, Chattanooga has a cost of living index of 89.5, making it more affordable than the national average. When compared to other cities in the region, Chattanooga also offers a lower cost of living, making it an attractive option for those looking to relocate to the Southeast. You can explore updated cost of living data for Chattanooga and other cities on Numbeo.

Housing Costs

Housing is one of the biggest expenses for most people, and Chattanooga offers a variety of housing options at different price points. The median home price in Chattanooga is $194,000, which is lower than the national median of $266,000. Renters will also find affordable options, with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center being around $1,000.


Chattanooga has a relatively low cost of living when it comes to transportation. The city has a well-developed public transportation system, known as the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), which offers bus services throughout the city. A monthly pass for CARTA is priced at $50, which is lower than the national average of $65. Additionally, gas prices in Chattanooga tend to be below the national average, making driving a more affordable option.

Food and Groceries

The cost of living in Chattanooga when it comes to groceries is slightly below the national average. Residents have access to a variety of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and specialty food shops. Dining out in Chattanooga is also relatively affordable, with a wide range of restaurant options to suit any budget. On average, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs around $12, while a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant is priced at about $50.

Utilities and Healthcare

Utility costs in Chattanooga are lower than the national average. The average monthly cost for basic utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage) for a 915 square foot apartment is around $150. Internet prices are also competitive, with the average monthly cost for a high-speed connection being around $60.

Healthcare costs in Chattanooga are in line with the national average. The city has several excellent healthcare facilities, including the Erlanger Health System and CHI Memorial Hospital. Health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs are comparable to those in other parts of the country.

Recreation and Entertainment

Chattanooga offers a variety of affordable recreational and entertainment options. There are numerous cultural attractions, such as the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Creative Discovery Museum, with admission fees that are affordable for most budgets.
In addition, Chattanooga boasts a thriving music scene, with many venues offering live performances at reasonable prices.


Chattanooga is home to a variety of public and private educational institutions, ranging from preschools to universities. The cost of education in the city is relatively affordable, with public schools funded through local taxes. For families interested in private education, tuition fees vary depending on the institution, but many offer financial aid and scholarship opportunities to help offset costs.


In summary, the cost of living in Chattanooga is relatively low, making it an attractive option for individuals and families looking to relocate. With affordable housing, transportation, food, utilities, and a variety of recreational and cultural activities, the Scenic City provides an excellent quality of life for its residents. While healthcare and education costs are in line with the national average, Chattanooga’s overall affordability sets it apart from many other cities in the United States.

Are you interested in learning more about Chattanooga’s real estate market or looking to make a move to this beautiful and affordable city? Contact Joe Leffew Properties today, and let our team of experienced real estate professionals guide you through the process of finding the perfect home in Chattanooga.

Visit our Blog

Want to learn more about what makes Chattanooga a top tourist destination? Visit our blog for more articles and insights about Chattanooga and other great travel destinations.