What Is The Cost Of Living In Grand Rapids, MI?

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Grand Rapids is home to around 200,000 residents and is the 2nd largest community in Michigan. The homes are cheaper than the national average. Its median household income is just shy of $40,000, but what precisely is the cost of living in Grand Rapids, MI?

Grand Rapids, Michigan’s cost of living is cheaper than both the US average and Michigan. Housing costs are 30% less than the national average, with a median home price of $228,000. You can expect to pay about $274 a month on utilities and $420 a month on food, depending on your household. Renters in Grand Rapids, MI pay an average of $1,100 per month.

Additionally, the city features more affordable transportation costs, groceries, and utilities than the US average. Consider the costs for taxes, utilities, groceries, transportation, and activities in Grand Rapids below. By looking at these factors, you can determine if moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan, is beneficial for you.

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Cost Of Living In GrandRapids, MI: Housing Costs

Grand Rapids offers lower housing prices than the US average, with average prices ranging from $160,00 to $170,000. In Michigan, the median home value is around $228,000, so Grand Rapids is a bit pricier than the state average.

Grand Rapids’s median home value is roughly $65,000 less than that of the US, and about 51.2% of residents own homes.

In the last 10 years, Grand Rapids homes have appreciated about 160.5%. Every year since 2000, the average rate of appreciation was 2.6%. The national average appreciation rate is 3-5%, putting Grand Rapids at a lower appreciation rate than the US.

Median Home Prices In Grand Rapids, Michigan

Home PricePercentage of Homes
> $1,000,0000.2%

Cost Of Living In Grand Rapids, MI: Rental Costs

About 41.2% of Grand Rapids homes are rentals which is significantly less than the percentage of owned homes at 51.2%.

On average, you’ll spend between $1,100 on rent in Grand Rapids. For around $1,100, you’ll get about 860 square feet of home. However, the price will vary depending on neighborhood and square footage.

The national average cost of rent is around $1,400/month. The average rent in Grand Rapids is about $300 cheaper per month than the US average.

Average Rental Cost By Bedroom Size

Housing SizeGrand RapidsGrand Rapids-

Wyoming Metro

MichiganUnited States

Tax Rates In Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • Sales Taxes — The sales tax rate in Grand Rapids is 6%, lower than the national average of around 7%.  Michigan’s state sales tax determines the total of Grand Rapids’s sales tax.
  • Income Taxes — Grand Rapids has a flat income tax rate of 1.5% and 0.75% for non-residents who work in the area. Michigan’s income tax rate is a flat rate of 4.25%. The average median household income in Grand Rapids is around $47,000. Due to Grand Rapids’s flat-rate income tax, you’d pay about $2,700 in income taxes annually.
  • Property Taxes — In Kent County, the average property tax rate is 1.5%. You’d pay about $2,447 in property taxes annually on a home of median value in Grand Rapids. This rate is slightly higher than the average US property tax rate of 1.1%.

Cost Of Living In Grand Rapids, MI: Utility Costs

Both Grand Rapids’s housing and its utilities are slightly lower than the national average. Grand Rapids falls at 99.9 on the cost of living index, with Michigan at 100.1 and the US at 100. The cost of living index utility rating factors in electricity, natural gas, and other fuels.

In Michigan, the average monthly cost of utilities is $274. This includes the cost of electricity at $102, internet at $30, and natural gas at $74. This number also accounts for cable and water at $40 and $28, respectively.

Depending on the provider, monthly internet costs can vary in price. You can also opt-out of cable for streaming services instead, which tend to be cheaper than monthly cable packages.

Cost Of Living In Grand Rapids, MI: Food Costs

Groceries are cheaper in Grand Rapids than in the rest of the US but more expensive than Michigan’s average. According to the cost of living index, Grand Rapids is 95.2, Michigan is 93.4, and the U.S. is 100.

The rule of thumb is that your food budget should make up no more than 11% of your annual income. 6% of this should go to groceries, and the remaining 5% to dining out. Grand Rapids’s median income is about $47,000, putting your ideal food budget at roughly $5,170/year.

Compare the cost of groceries in Grand Rapids to other major US cities in the table below. Groceries in Grand Rapids are expensive compared to the rest of Michigan but cheaper than other major US cities.

Comparison Of Grocery Costs In Grand Rapids To Other Major US Cities

Grocery ItemGrand RapidsNew YorkPhiladelphiaAtlantaSan Francisco
Milk (1 gallon)$2.80$4.43$4.20$3.12$4.56
Bread (1 loaf)$1.80$3.39$2.70$2.49$3.24
Rice (1 pound)$1.82$2.73$1.78$1.84$2.49
Chicken (1 pound)$2.86$6.40$3.99$4.77$6.00
Bananas (1 pound)$.65$1.37$0.79$1.43$0.85
Lettuce (1 head)$1.80$2.16$1.79$1.57$1.74
Eggs (1 dozen)$1.57$3.42$2.70$2.45$3.62

Cost Of Living In Grand Rapids, MI: Transportation Costs

Grand Rapids has cheaper transportation costs than Michigan and the US averages. According to the cost of living index, Grand Rapids is 95.1, Michigan is 115.1, and the U.S. is 100. Over 75% of all workers who commute in Grand Rapids drive by themselves. About 11% carpool to work, and about 4% use public transit.

Grand Rapids’s public transit, the Rapid, covers 185 square miles. There are fixed bus routes, vanpools for carpooling, and a DASH shuttle system connecting parts of downtown to parking lots. Grand Rapids also offers GO!Bus to seniors and those with disabilities.

The downtown area of Grand Rapids has a Bike Score of 90/100, making it very bike-friendly. The amount of bike routes in Grand Rapids has grown over the years. There are even hundreds of bike parking spaces downtown as well.

Grand Rapids is also known for being great for mountain biking.

Comparison Of Transportation Costs In Grand Rapids To Other Major US Cities

TransportationGrand RapidsNew YorkPhiladelphiaAtlantaSan Francisco
Gas (1 gallon)$2.54$2.87$2.74$2.54$3.25
Bus Ticket (Single Trip)$1.75$2.75$2.50$2.50$3.00
Taxi (1 mile)$2.63$3.00$5.00$3.50$3.89

Public Transportation Costs In Grand Rapids

A single-ride adult ticket on the bus in Grand Rapids is $1.75, and a monthly pass is $47.

Driving Costs In Grand Rapids

Although the downtown area is bike-friendly, you’ll likely commute to work by car in Grand Rapids. Gas is just about 20 cents cheaper in Grand Rapids than the national average, at $2.88 a gallon. Therefore, it will cost you less to fill up in Grand Rapids than in other places in the US.

The average commute time in Grand Rapids is on the short side and is only about 18.5 minutes. This is around 7 minutes less than the average US worker’s commute. Less than 1% of people working in Grand Rapids have a super commute of 90 or more minutes.

Grand Rapids offers car insurance about $1,000 more than the national average at around $2,600. However, this is cheaper than the Michigan average by about $400.

What you pay for insurance varies depending on vehicle make and model, your age, neighborhood, and the company. Progressive, AAA, and State Farm offer some of the cheapest car insurance in Grand Rapids.

You can find the average car insurance costs in Michigan in the table below. Teenagers have the most expensive annual insurance costs. Individuals in their 50s will pay the lowest annual rates, but most will pay over $2,000 annually.

Average Car Insurance Costs In Michigan By Age

AgeAverage Yearly Cost

Cost Of Living In Grand Rapids, MI: Activity Costs

You can enjoy some fun and free things in Grand Rapids. For natural beauty, check out Millennium Park, Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve, or Blandford Nature Center. For the arts, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park or the Meyer May House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Two tickets to the movie theater will cost about $24. A domestic beer will cost you $3.04 and an imported one $3.75 at a local bar. A local gym membership will cost you around $37 per month. A local tennis court will only cost you about $20 to rent for an hour.

Grand Rapids can get very cold in the winter but has several beautiful months throughout the year. Be sure to weigh the costs and benefits of Grand Rapids before making any significant moves.

Cost Of Living In Grand Rapids, MI: Education Costs

If you plan to pursue higher education in Grand Rapids, MI, the average in-state college tuition is $7,869. Out-of-state tuition averages $21,787 a year, which is higher than the national average.

The most expensive school is Calvin University, with tuition and fees of $37,806, and the lowest tuition is at Grand Rapids Community College for $11,589.

For parents seeking a private school for their children, Grand Rapids Christian Schools averages $7,990 for progressive kindergarten and $8,990 for full-time K through 4th.

Students in grades 5th-6th pay roughly $,9490, 7th-8th grades pay $9,990, and high school tuition is $10,990.

Related Questions

Is Grand Rapids, Michigan safe?

Grand Rapids has both a higher violent and property crime rate than the rest of Michigan.The annual number of violent crimes in Grand Rapids is about 1,300, with approximately 4,000 property crimes. You have a 1/156 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Grand Rapids. Your chances of becoming a victim of a property crime are  1/51. 

What is the average income in Grand Rapids, MI?

A Grand Rapids resident averages $26,143, while the median household income is $49,087. The median family income is $65,653, and the unemployment rate is 5.2%.

What is the weather like in Grand Rapids, Michigan?

Grand Rapids’s temperature ranges from 18 degrees in the winter to 82 in the summer. It experiences around 37 inches of rain and 64 inches of snow each year. The city experiences about 158 sunny days each year.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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