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2018-19 low and moderate living expense budgets

This table shows living expense costs by region and metropolitan area over a 12-month period. Both a moderate and a low budget are provided. The budgets reflect increases in the Consumer Price Index (calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) of 1.021 percent for 2016.

The budgets are developed based on data from the most recent Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) and the Indexes of Comparative Costs, both produced by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Budget regions correspond to the metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The CES sample changes about every 10 years, which changes the MSAs for which indexes can be developed. There were 28 MSAs for the period from 1996 to 2004, but that number dropped to 24 for 2005. Therefore, the regional tables of the living expense budget now reflect only 24 MSAs. Also, since a factor could not be established for every region of the country, no region is adjusted by a value of less than 1.0.

  Moderate 12-Month Budget Low 12-Month Budget
United States $ 24,980 $ 16,730
Northeast:
Boston–Cambridge–Quincy, MA–NH 26,229 17,567
New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island, NY–NJ–PA 27,478 18,403
Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington, PA–NJ–DE–MD 25,729 17,232
Pittsburgh, PA 24,980 16,730
North Central:
Chicago–Naperville–Joliet, IL–IN–WI 25,729 17,232
Cleveland–Elyria–Mentor, OH 24,980 16,730
Detroit–Warren–Livonia, MI 24,980 16,730
Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN–WI 25,979 17,399
St. Louis, MO–IL 24,980 16,730
South:
Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Marietta, GA 25,230 16,897
Baltimore–Towson, MD 26,229 17,567
Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX 25,729 17,232
Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, TX 25,979 17,399
Miami–Ft. Lauderdale–Miami Beach, FL 25,480 17,065
Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV 29,476 19,741
West:
Anchorage, AK 27,478 18,403
Denver–Aurora, CO 25,729 17,232
Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana, CA 26,978 18,068
Phoenix–Mesa–Scottsdale, AZ 25,729 17,232
Portland–Vancouver–Beaverton, OR–WA 25,230 16,897
San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos, CA 27,728 18,570
San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, CA 28,727 19,240
Seattle–Tacoma, WA 26,978 18,068
Honolulu, HI 26,729 17,901

Note: These budgets are provided to assist financial aid officers in developing living expense budgets for their independent, off-campus students. The budgets should not be confused with the actual boarding expenses experienced by an on-campus student.