Alaska is undoubtedly one of the wildest and beautiful states in the U.S., and living there is a call that many cannot ignore. The biggest city, Anchorage, has a lot to offer both in the way of stunning scenery and interesting culture with over 360,000 residents. If you’re thinking about making the move way, way north, you need to know what it will cost you. Hint: Alaska’s economy is a bit different than the rest of the country due to its isolated location. Read on for the average cost of living in Anchorage, AK.
Cost of Housing
Of all categories, housing is the most expensive thing on your list of bills. Coming in 48% higher than the national average, you can expect to pay nearly $900 for a studio, $1350 for a two bedroom, and on up. The average listing price of a home in Anchorage is around $345,000, the highest in the state. But because Anchorage is the biggest harbor in the state and 95% of imports pass through its docks, there’s a lot more demand for housing in Anchorage.
Luckily, the median income in Anchorage is significantly higher than the national average, too, at just over $78,000 per year. Many are employed in the shipping industry, but even hires with a year or less experience will make over $35,000. Sales and state income tax don’t exist, so you’ll keep a lot more of your salary in your pocket.
Cost of Food
Groceries will be the next big ticket item in your budget. Since a lot of food that hits the shelves in Anchorage has to be imported quite a distance, the prices go up accordingly. Expect to pay about 38% more than the national average on your grocery bill, especially on fresh fruits and vegetables. Many Alaskans supplement their food by catching fish, crabs, which may be part of why you’re considering moving to Alaska. The average single adult can budget just over $3,000 per year for food.
Cost of Utilities
Perhaps the low cost of utilities will make up for the generally higher cost of living in Anchorage? Expect only to pay 1% more than the national average, or around $186 for one person living in a studio for heat, electric, gas, and water. Internet service costs around $80 per month for the basic package, and do remember that the winters in Anchorage are very cold… so you might find yourself cranking the heat a bit more than you’re used to.
Cost of Transportation
First and foremost, Anchorage, AK is a driving town — especially in the winter, when there’s very little light and the temperatures drop. Vehicles need to be equipped to handle snow and ice, so transportation costs are about 13% higher than the national average. That said most Anchorage residents have a fairly short commute, around 18 minutes. In the short summers, bicycling is an option. Get out and savor those sunny days!
Cost of Healthcare
Maybe it’s the long, cold winters or the lack of sunlight, but healthcare in Anchorage costs about 43% more than the national average. The average cost of a visit to a private doctor is around $175, and most Alaskans pay rather high insurance premiums for their coverage. It pays to stay healthy in this state.
How much does it cost to live in Anchorage, AK? More than the national average, certainly — but most residents agree that the stunning scenery, access to truly wild landscapes, and abundant fresh seafood make it worth the budgeting headaches!