What Is The Cost Of Living In West Virginia?
In 1863, West Virginia joined the Union as our 35th state. The Mountain State was previously a part of the United States when it was considered part of Virginia. However, counties voted, and most chose to secede from the larger state during the tumultuous Civil War.
West Virginia has a score of 78.1 on the cost of living index, nearly twenty-two points lower than the US average of 100. The median value of a West Virginia home is around $96,400, with rent around $801 per month. Both home prices and rent are slightly lower than the US average.
If you’re considering moving to West Virginia, examine the costs for taxes, utilities, groceries, transportation, and activities below. By evaluating all these factors, you can determine if moving to West Virginia is a sound financial and personal decision.
Housing Costs in West Virginia
The average cost of a house in West Virginia is $121,300, nearly fifty percent lower than the national average of $229,700. About 72.5% of the West Virginia population own their homes, a marked increase against the national average of 63.9%.
The median age of real estate in West Virginia is 43 years old. However, over the last ten years, appreciation has been 15.1%. Over the previous twelve months, appreciation rates are up 4.4%, slightly below the national average of 6.7%.
Median Home Prices in West Virginia
|Home Price||Percentage of Homes|
|$832,525 – $1,109,872||0.3%|
|$555,066 – $832,524||1.4%|
|$443,829 – $555,065||1.6%|
|$332,815 – $443,828||4.9%|
|$221,835 – $332,814||13.4%|
|$111,018 – $221,834||33.9%|
|$55,496 – $111,017||26.4%|
|$0 – $55,495||17.8%|
Rental Costs in West Virginia
Nearly 23% of the West Virginia population rents their home.
To rent in West Virginia, you’ll spend on average between $556 – $1,135. This is for spaces ranging from a studio to a four-bedroom dwelling. Median rental prices in West Virginia fall significantly below the current national averages.
Average Rental Cost by Bedroom Size
|Housing Size||West Virginia||United States|
Tax Rates in West Virginia
Taxpayers in West Virginia are subject to three main forms of state and local taxes: local property taxes, a state income tax, and state and local sales taxes. For each of these, West Virginia either ranks on par or below the national average.
Sales Taxes in West Virginia
West Virginia’s base sales tax rate is 6.0%, ranked 16th in the national average. Though, many municipalities within West Virginia combine the state tax rate and a municipal rate of 1%. They apply the combined rate to the taxable sales price and round up or down to the nearest full cent.
Income Taxes in West Virginia
In terms of income taxes, taxpayers in West Virginia must pay both federal and state income taxes. The state has a progressive income tax system that is similar to the federal tax structure, but with lower rates and fewer brackets.
There are five brackets in total, ranging from as low as 3% to as much as 6.5%. Single filers, joint filers, and heads of household earning up to $10,000 in taxable income pay 3% on their taxable income.
West Virginia Property Taxes
Fortunately, if you’re considering buying home in West Virginia, you’ll get to enjoy low property tax rates. In fact, West Virginia has a reputation for lower property taxes than the US average. The average homeowner in the Mountain State pays just $711 in property taxes, which is the second lowest annual median property tax in the country. Though, since home values in the state are relatively low, the property tax rates rank marginally higher.
Ranked as the ninth-lowest rate, its 0.57% average effective property rate tallies at approximately half of the national average.
Utility Costs in West Virginia
The average cost of utilities in West Virginia is only about 14 points below the national average. On the cost of living index for utilities, West Virginia ranks 85.9, and the US ranks 100. Electricity, natural gas, and other fuels are the utilities considered when calculating the cost of living index.
Typical monthly utility expenditures in West Virginia, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, range between $175 – $350. While internet costs will vary between providers, they range between $65 – $90/month.
Food & Grocery Costs in West Virginia
The cost of groceries in West Virginia is lower than the national average. A single adult spends approximately $2,962, and a family of four spends roughly $8,555 per annum. Nationally, those numbers are $3,240 and $9,354, respectively.
Many budgets suggest spending about 11% of your annual income on food, 6% of that being groceries. You can allocate the remaining 5% to dining out. West Virginia’s median income is around $41,576, making your ideal food budget roughly $4,500/year.
Compare the cost of groceries in West Virginia to other major US cities in the table below. On average, groceries in West Virginia are less expensive compared to other major US cities, with a few exceptions.
Comparison of Average Grocery Costs in West Virginia to Major US Cities
|Grocery||West Virginia||New York||Philadelphia||Atlanta||San Francisco|
|Milk (1 gallon)||$2.37||$4.43||$4.20||$3.12||$4.56|
|Bread (1 loaf)||$2.25||$3.39||$2.70||$2.49||$3.24|
|Rice (1 pound)||$1.84||$2.73||$1.78||$1.84||$2.49|
|Chicken (1 pound)||$7.67||$6.40||$3.99||$4.77||$6.00|
|Bananas (1 pound)||$0.78||$1.37||$0.79||$1.43||$0.85|
|Lettuce (1 head)||$1.25||$2.16||$1.79||$1.57||$1.74|
|Eggs (1 dozen||$4.33||$3.42||$2.70||$2.45||$3.62|
Transportation Costs in West Virginia
West Virginia’s transportation ranking is only about ten points lower than the national average of 100, coming in at 90.1. Transportation costs are another important factor that you must consider in order to determine the overall cost of living in a particular location. These include expenses such as gas prices, public transportation costs, and annual car insurance premiums.
About 82.2% of people in West Virginia commute solo using their own vehicle, while 9.7% carpool with others. 0.9% of West Virginians opt for public transport. 2.9% of workers walk to work, while only 0.1% opt to cycle.
Comparison of Transportation Costs in West Virginia to Major US Cities
|Transportation||West Virginia||New York||Philadelphia||Atlanta||San Francisco|
|Gas (1 gallon)||$2.26||$2.87||$2.74||$2.54||$3.25|
|Bus Ticket (Single Trip)||$1.50||$2.75||$2.50||$2.50||$3.00|
|Taxi (1 mile)||$2.00||$3.00||$5.00||$3.50||$3.89|
Public Transportation Costs in West Virginia
A single, one-way bus ticket is, on average, $1.50, and a regularly priced monthly pass costs an average of $60.
Gas Prices in West Virginia
While about eighteen public transit companies operate within West Virginia, the larger percentage of residents opt to drive to work. The average household owns two vehicles.
Gasoline costs approximately $2.26 per gallon in West Virginia compared to the $2.69 per gallon national average. This provides a savings of around $0.43 per gallon on gas.
The average commute time in West Virginia is 25.7 minutes, falling below the national average of 26.4 minutes. Only 3.5% of West Virginia workers have a “super-commute” of over ninety minutes each day. This is higher than the 2.7% national average.
Annual Car Insurance Premiums in West Virginia
Auto insurance rates will typically vary depending upon various factors such as company, age, record, gender, and whether you choose to opt for full or minimum coverage.
Although traffic-related fatalities are higher in West Virginia than the national average, this does not mean you cannot find affordable car insurance. Generally speaking, auto insurance premiums in West Virginia fall below the national average.
The average auto insurance cost in West Virginia is $1,499 per year for full coverage and $458 per year for minimum coverage.
|Average Car Insurance Costs in West Virginia By Age|
|Age||Average Annual Rate|
Entertainment & Recreation Costs in West Virginia
West Virginia offers up a wide variety of many free and low-cost activities. Among the state’s most well-known attractions you’ll find Harper’s Ferry, the Mystery Hole, and the New River Gorge Bridge. Many of these familiar sights are free and readily accessible to the public.
Sporty types can enjoy outdoor tennis court rentals for approximately $4.95 per half-hour. Indoor court rentals average $42.95 per half-hour. Many courts often offer weekday specials as well.
If you prefer your exercise indoors, the average fitness club costs range from $40 – $55/month. If you prefer to watch someone else handle all the action, you can catch a blockbuster on the big screen. Average tickets cost $13.
Is West Virginia Safe?
West Virginia enjoys a low 20.8 rating against the national rating of 22.7 for violent crimes. The annual number of violent crimes in West Virginia is 5,674. Statistically, you have a 1 in 316 chance of falling victim to a violent crime.
Property crime in West Virginia hovers at 28.8 while the national average is higher at 35.4. The actual number of property crimes tallies at 28,376. Statistically, you have a 1 in 63 chance of falling victim to a property crime.
Is West Virginia a Good State to Live in?
West Virginia enjoys a 21.9% cheaper cost of living when compared to the US average. Rents are generally around $300 less than comparable spaces in other major US cities. The median home costs are nearly fifty percent lower than the national average.
Despite these lower numbers, West Virginian homes have experienced a steady appreciation of 15.1% over the last ten years.
West Virginia also offers residents a wide variety of free and low-cost activities. These cater to nature lovers, history buffs, and active types. There is always something to do and with little expense.
Overall, West Virginia is well-known for its low cost of living with its reasonable transportation costs, groceries, utilities, and housing. Coupled with sprawling mountain vistas and gorgeous scenery, West Virginia just might have the lifestyle you’re seeking. However, as always, exercise your due diligence and be sure to consider all the aspects before making any significant moves.
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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