2020 Cost of Living in Massachusetts

It is no secret that Massachusetts is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. Also known as the Bay State, Massachusetts has high utility bills (including MA electric rates), healthcare costs, grocery prices, and transportation costs.

The cost of living in Massachusetts is higher than the national average. Compared to the U.S. average of 100, the Bay State has an average cost of living index of 139, which is greater than the national average by 39 percent.

It means life is more expensive in MA. Additionally, the consumer price index (CPI) of Massachusetts is 270 and is expected to increase slightly in the coming years. The Bay State’s CPI is higher than that of the U.S. average (245) by 10.20 percent.

The sales tax, on the other hand, tolls at 6.25 percent. To cope with the higher living costs, Massachusetts offers an average annual salary of $67,432, which is generally higher than the national average annual salary of $53,621 by around 25 percent.

That indicates how Massachusetts’ pay rate is very high. Despite the high living costs, the Bay State has a lot to offer. You would find mountains, coastal gateways, and some of the best colleges and universities in the world. Many cities in Massachusetts have beautiful sceneries, trails, and parks that make life more fantastic. In this article, we explore the average costs of living in Massachusetts, including the costs for housing, utility bills, healthcare services, groceries, and transportation.

You’ll also get to know five of the most expensive and most affordable cities to live in the Bay State.

1.    Housing Costs in Massachusetts

According to Zillow, the median home value in Bay City is currently $408,100, a 1.7 percent increase compared to 2018. Zillow predicts that the costs will rise by 1.4 percent in 2020. Notably, the housing costs are 47.52 percent greater than the U.S. average.

2.    Healthcare Costs in Massachusetts

Health premiums in Massachusetts are one of the highest in the United States, with a monthly average of $617 for individual coverages and $1,687 for family coverages. Also, employees in the Bay State pay high out-of-pocket deductibles on health costs. In 2018, the annual average deductible for single coverage was $1,508.

3.    Transportation Costs in Massachusetts

On average, Massachusetts residents pay around $84.50 every month for transport by local buses and subway lines. However, if you will need to drive, you must register your car with the Massachusetts DMV at a fee of $60. Also, one gallon of gas fuel costs $2.87, and a metered parking space in cities such as Boston costs around $1.25 per hour.

4.    Food Costs in Massachusetts

The cost of food in Massachusetts is relatively expensive, costing about 18 percent above the national average. The average cost of food in MA is $3.55 per meal. You will need around $375 per month for food when you move to Bay City.

5.    Utility Costs in Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ utility bills are one of the highest in the United States, with an average of $469 per month for electricity, natural gas, cable, water, and the internet. In a report by move.org, Massachusetts ranked position eight in terms of utility costs.

Cost of Electricity in MA

Residential power consumption in the Bay City averages 627kWh every month, which ranks the state 44th in the United States.

This average residential electricity consumption is less than the U.S. average (903 kWh per month) by 30.56 percent. The residential average electricity bill in Massachusetts is $185.05 per month, ranking the Bay State in the 4th position in the United States in terms of electricity bills.

This average residential electricity bill is 47.77 percent higher than the national average of $125.22. When it comes to Mass electric rates, the average residential electric rate is 14.91 cents per kWh, ranking the state 9th in the United States. The average electric rates in Mass are 25.51 percent higher than the U.S. average of 11.88 cents per kWh.

Despite the high cost of electricity in Massachusetts, you can still reduce your electricity bill by purchasing electricity from reputable electricity suppliers in MA. You should compare electric rates in MA to find the lowest electricity prices.

Electric Companies in Massachusetts

Many electricity suppliers in MA distribute power to residents living in different cities such as Boston, Revere, Somerville, Cambridge, and Everett.

However, these power suppliers provide electricity at different electric rates in Massachusetts. Some of the top electricity suppliers in MA include Direct Energy, Constellation Energy, and Spark Energy. Some of the utility companies that oversee electricity supply are the National Grid (Nantucket Electric), National Grid (Mass Electric), and Eversource Energy.

Customers who buy electricity from the national grid enjoys low electricity prices.

National Grid electricity rates are low because they are regulated. However, it doesn’t guarantee that they are the lowest electricity rates in your region. To get the best prices, you should compare the energy services company (ESCO) rates and the National Grid rates.

Cost of Natural Gas in Massachusetts          

About 1,532,732 residential customers use natural gas in Massachusetts, which is 2.2 percent of the total residential gas consumption in the U.S. In August 2019, the residential usage of natural gas in MA was 2,346 million cubic feet.

That was around 2.3 percent of the total residential consumption in the country of 101,598 million cubic feet in that month. Massachusetts ranks as the 36th most expensive state for natural gas with a monthly cost of $79.66 on average.

However, the prices of natural gas keep on fluctuating. As of August 2019, the residential price for natural gas was $17.10 per thousand cubic feet, around 8 percent less than the U.S. average rate ($18.58 per thousand cubic feet).

Cost of Cable TV and Internet in Massachusetts

On average, Massachusetts residents spend around $85 per month on cable TV and an average of $100 per month on satellite TV services. The internet costs, on the other hand, vary depending on the connection type and speed. An internet speed of 60 Mbps costs around $64.42 per month on average.

Cost of Water in Massachusetts

On average, Massachusetts residents who use 80-100 gallons per day pay close to $80 per month on water and sewerage services. That’s higher the U.S. average water cost of $70 per month by 14.29 percent. However, families that use less water of about 50 gallons per day spend around $40 per month on water services

Five Most Expensive Cities to Live in Massachusetts

The cost of living varies by city. Here are five cities with the highest costs of living in MA.

Table 1: Cost of Living Index of different cities in Massachusetts against the National Cost of Living Index of 100:

Cost of Living Cambridge Somerville Boston Revere Everett
Overall Index 181.8 169.9 162.4 136.2 135.5
Grocery 115.5 114.4 111.4 108.3 108.7
Healthcare 83.4 83.4 83.4 83.4 83.4
Housing 349.1 304 260.6 172.8 188.8
Median Home Cost $807,200 $702,800 $602,600 $399,600 $436,400
Utilities 117.8 114.3 116.8 109.7 109.7
Transportation 95.7 106.7 131.8 138.7 116.5
Miscellaneous 123.7 124.5 129.1 130.5 124.0

Five most Affordable Cities to Live in Massachusetts

While cities such as Boston and Cambridge have the highest costs of living, you can still find other cities with the lowest living costs. Here are five affordable cities to live in MA.

Table 2: Cost of Living Index of different cities in Massachusetts against the National Cost of Living Index of 100

Cost of Living Westfield Fitchburg Palmer Town Chicopee Pittsfield
Overall Index 100.7 98.5 93.1 90.3 87.6
Grocery 106.8 104.4 104.7 104.5 100.9
Healthcare 83.9 86.6 83.9 83.9 87.7
Housing 111.2 92.2 79.3 79.0 74.2
Median Home Cost $257,200 $213,200 $183,400 $182,600 $171,500
Utilities 106.6 125.9 114.1 107.0 111.2
Transportation 88.1 89.8 96.0 84.9 73.3
Miscellaneous 100.1 107.5 101.0 101.2 104.5


It is no doubt that life is expensive in Massachusetts. Most living costs are higher than the national average, including housing, health, transportation, food, and utility costs. If you plan to move to Massachusetts, you should work on your budget to accommodate all the costs. Also, remember to budget for the high MA electric rates.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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