Categories > Guides and Tips

The Cost of Living in Portland Is Portland affordable

The Cost of Living in Portland: Is Portland affordable?

There’s no doubt that Portland, Oregon is one of the dream destinations for people to move to or relocate to. From having the HQ for big apparel corporations to having high access to natureand having a rich art scene and culture, Portland is definitely a beloved city.

However, the cost of living could be challenging. To help you get a clear picture of what it will cost you to live in Portland, we’ll break down these significant expenses for you based on the latest stats from Numbeo.

Overview of the Cost of Living in Portland

Let’s start with a few fundamental tools to help you understand what goes into calculating the cost of living in Portland.

As per the data provided by Numbeo, a family of four’s monthly cost is estimated to be $4,035.71, while a single person should have at least $1,128.38 for a month. Both estimations are without rent.

The following are the costs that may be important to consider if you want to live in Portland.

Cost RangePortland
Restaurant$15 – $73.50
Market$0.90 – $16.58
Transportation$2.50 (one way ticket)
Utilities (monthly)$199.14 
Sports and leisure$12.50 – $63.58
Childcare$16,163.00 (estimate)
Clothing and Shoes $41.00 – $123.86
Rent per month$2,418.84  (for 3 bedrooms)
Salaries and financing$4,291.12 (Median monthly net salary)

Monthly Rent in Portland

Monthly Rent in Portland

The primary factor to take into account when relocating is housing costs. However, if you’re new to the city, you can rent an apartment first before looking into building a new home.

In case you need an overview of that, we have it.

Housing/Rental Costs in Portland

First, let’s give you the projected cost of rentals in Portland. 

UnitEstimated Cost
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center$1,773.38
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center$1,372.22
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center$3,152.90
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Center$2,418.84

Rental costs in Portland depend on the place’s location. You should expect that apartments within the vicinity of the city center will be more expensive due to their location.

Rental Cost in Portland vs. Comparable Cities

What other way is there to precisely know how affordable apartment rentals are in Portland than to compare them to other similar cities? Here we compare Portland rental costs to Austin and Seattle ones. 

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center$1,773.38$2,193.17$2,233.03
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center$1,372.22$1,493.14$1,804.35
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center$3,152.90$4,292.50$4,019.04
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Center$2,418.84$2,538.19$3,031.79

Based on the table, Portland, OR is obviously the cheapest city when talking about rentals; that is, when compared with Austin, TX, and Seattle, WA. 

On the other hand, among these three cities, it’s Seattle that has the most expensive apartment rentals, whatever the location is, except for a three-bedroom apartment in the city center.

Is rental affordable in Portland?

When compared to some other cosmopolitan cities (such as Seattle and Austin), Portland, OR is definitely cheaper when it comes to renting apartments. 

Apartments within the town proper of Portland can still be quite expensive, however. Looking outside of the Portland metropolitan area can usually save you a few hundred dollars per month.

Food and Dining Out

Food and Dining Out

Another thing to consider is the cost of food as well as dining out experiences. It’s a given that tourists can enjoy delicate dishes in the city, but what about the basic food expenses?

To help you round out your expenses, we gathered the estimated price of some of the valuable items available on the market. 

ItemEstimated Cost
Milk (regular), (1 liter)$0.90
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)$3.33
Rice (white), (1kg)$5.06
Eggs (regular) (12)$3.81
Local Cheese (1kg)$13.43
Chicken Fillets (1kg)$10.82
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)$16.58
Apples (1kg)$5.41
Water (1.5-liter bottle)$1.93
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)$14.00

Goods like water, milk, rice, eggs, and fruits are some of the cheapest food items available in Portland’s market. However, a kilo of meat such as chicken (filet) meat will surely cost you more.

Food Cost vs. Comparable Cities

Milk (regular), (1 liter)$0.90$1.04$1.07 
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)$3.33$2.57$3.86
Rice (white), (1kg)$5.06$3.04$5.02 
Eggs (regular) (12)$3.81$3.38$3.51
Local Cheese (1kg)$13.43$14.99$16.56
Chicken Fillets (1kg)$10.82$11.70$14.39 
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)$16.58$13.80$17.25
Apples (1kg)$5.41$4.57$6.02
Water (1.5 liter bottle)$1.93$2.21$2.00
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)$14.00$15.00$15.00

Based on the data, it’s safe to say that Portland’s food costs are cheaper than Seattle’s. 

However, when compared to Austin, there were some instances where Portland’s food items cost more than those of Austin – sometimes it is the other way around.

Is food affordable in Portland?

Generally, the price of goods in Portland is acceptable. Although some of the items are pricey when compared, the number of reasonably priced items is greater than that of expensive ones.

Transportation Expenses

Transportation Expenses

When in Portland, people could ride their bikes to work since the city is one of the top bike commuter cities in the country, having a lot of bike lanes for sure.

Unfortunately, for some who are not bike enthusiasts, a taxi or bus is the answer. But at what cost?

Cost of Transit in Portland

Whether you’re relocating or visiting, knowing the cost of transit in Portland could be a great help. 

ItemEstimated Cost
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)$2.50
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)$100.00
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)$3.50
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)$1.55
Taxi 1-hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)$37.50 
Gasoline (1 liter)$1.43 
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)$25,000.00
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)$22,727.27

It sure is less expensive when you travel in Portland through local transport (one-way ticket, at least) compared to the starting price when you get a taxi. 

Obviously, buying a new car is way more expensive, plus the gasoline. But, it could totally save you a lot of money than commuting for the rest of your life.

Transportation Cost vs. Comparable Cities

One-way Ticket (Local Transport)$2.50$1.25$2.75
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)$100.00$42.00$100.00
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)$3.50$2.50$3.25
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)$1.55$1.55$1.77 
Taxi 1 hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)$37.50 $32.49$30.00
Gasoline (1 liter)$1.43 $1.15$1.43
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)$25,000.00$25,837.50$25,500.00
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)$22,727.27$23,066.67$25,230.77

Commuting in Portland is a little pricey compared to Austin. However, the former is definitely cheaper as opposed to Seattle, except when it comes to their taxi fare. 

On the other hand, among these three cities, it will cost you more in purchasing a brand new car in Seattle.

Is transportation affordable in Portland?

Some types of transportation are very affordable in Portland. If you are looking for affordable public transit in Portland, you can always get that through their local train system service (local transport). 

But, commuting via taxi is pricey (at least when compared to Austin and Seattle). However, you can always drive if you have a car. 

Biking is viable too, fortunately. In fact, it’s still the best choice for more affordable transportation in Portland.



Knowing the cost of utilities can also help you in budgeting your expenses. If you’re not familiar with the average prices of the utilities in Portland, find out in this section.

Cost of Utilities in Portland

The following are the estimated monthly cost of utilities (basic, mobile plans, Internet) when you live in Portland. 

ItemEstimated Cost
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment$199.14
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)$0.12
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)$71.81

Monthly utility expenses in Portland could be averaged at around two hundred dollars, and that’s for the basic services only.

Other service fees, such as internet subscriptions and mobile plans could also add at least a hundred dollars to your monthly bill, but the totality of it still depends on your usage.

Utilities Cost in Portland vs. Comparable Cities

Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment$199.14$150.48$225.79
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)$0.12$0.06$0.13
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)$71.81$64.49$69.13

When combined, we can conclude from the data above that living in Portland can cost you more when it comes to spending on utilities (monthly) than living in Austin. 

However, among these three cities, Seattle residents tend to have higher utility expenses, at least in their monthly utility bills, than the residents of Portland and especially of Austin.

Are utilities affordable in Portland?

Portland residents today appear to need at least three hundred dollars for their monthly utility fees. Is that affordable? That depends on individual circumstances and needs.

Nonetheless, the data above proves that the cost of utility service in Portland is less expensive than in Seattle. It’s higher than Austin’s, however.

Entertainment and Other Costs in Portland

Entertainment and Other Costs in Portland

We always tend to spend more money when it comes to leisure activities, especially if it is something we love to do. But if you visit or move to another place, you may be surprised or not at the cost of the leisure activities they can offer. 

In case you have no idea about this in Portland, we’ve collected the data for you based on Numbeo.

Cost of Entertainment and Miscellaneous Expenses in Portland

Since there could be a lot of aspects under this category, we reckon you need a refresher. The details below can guide you when you’re in Portland.

ItemEstimated Cost
Fitness Club (Monthly Fee)$63.58
Tennis court rent$18.25
Cinema (1 seat)$12.50
Clothing (basic)$41.00 

Based on the data, going to see movies, although quite pricey, is one of the recreational things you can do in Portland even when you are tight on budget. 

Joining fitness clubs/gyms could also be ideal. However, the table shows that it’s the most expensive thing to do followed by shopping for clothes.

Entertainment and Other Necessities Cost vs. Comparable Cities

Fitness Club (Monthly Fee)$63.58$48.00$58.20
Tennis court rent$18.25$10.33$27.17
Cinema (1 seat)$12.50$13.00$15.00
Clothing (basic)$41.00 $38.00$44.00

With all the data combined, Portland is the second most expensive city for entertainment and other necessities, with Seattle as the first and Austin being the cheapest. 

Furthermore, fitness club membership in Portland is most expensive among these three cities.

Are entertainment and other miscellaneous costs affordable in Portland?

Certain things in Portland are more expensive than in other comparable cities, like fitness clubs and tennis. Even clothes are on the expensive side here, although our costs for clothing appear to fall below Seattle’s.

Is Portland an affordable place to live in?

When you think of moving to Portland, you surely have a lot of things to consider, and first on the list is the cost of living. 

Although we can’t hide the fact that it is expensive to live in the City of Roses, it’s still reasonably priced in comparison to some bigger cities overall (given the data above). It’s no wonder so many people still want to move here.

Related topics