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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 nine-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 9-Month  Budget Low 9-Month Budget
United States $18,730 $ 12,550
Northeast:
Boston–Cambridge–Quincy, MA–NH 19,667 13,178
New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island, NY–NJ–PA 20,603 13,805
Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington, PA–NJ–DE–MD 19,292 12,927
Pittsburgh, PA 18,730 12,550
North Central:
Chicago–Naperville–Joliet, IL–IN–WI 19,292 12,927
Cleveland–Elyria–Mentor, OH 18,730 12,550
Detroit–Warren–Livonia, MI 18,730 12,550
Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN–WI 19,479 13,052
St. Louis, MO–IL 18,730 12,550
South:
Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Marietta, GA 18,917 12,676
Baltimore–Towson, MD 19,667 13,178
Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX 19,292 12,927
Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, TX 19,479 13,052
Miami–Ft. Lauderdale–Miami Beach, FL 19,105 12,801
Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV 22,101 14,809
West:
Anchorage, AK 20,603 13,805
Denver–Aurora, CO 19,292 12,927
Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana, CA 20,228 13,554
Phoenix–Mesa–Scottsdale, AZ 19,292 12,927
Portland–Vancouver–Beaverton, OR–WA 18,917 12,676
San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos, CA 20,790 13,931
San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, CA 21,540 14,433
Seattle–Tacoma, WA 20,228 13,554
Honolulu, HI 20,041 13,429

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.