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Complete Guide To The Cost Of Living Harrisburg PA

Guide To Cost Of Living In Harrisburg PA

Are you looking to relocate to a city that’s a capital city yet maintains a small-town feel? Harrisburg, PA is a fine blend of urban appeal and natural, open spaces. With a population of slightly less than 50,000, it’s got all the modern trends and a rich, diverse history to boot.

Before you pack your bags and hop on towards beautiful Harrisburg, let’s first look at its cost of living. In this article, we’ll look at the cost of living in Harrisburg PA: the state’s capital city.

The Cost Of Living Harrisburg PA

There is plenty to do and see in Pennsylvania’s capital. Not only does it have a small-town feel, but today lots of people are moving to Harrisburg, where they make a happy, comfortable living.

The cost of living in Harrisburg, PA is 1% lower than the national average. We know that 1% doesn’t sound like much. However, compared to living in New York, the Big Apple is 88.5% more expensive than Harrisburg.

This fact means that it’s easier to save up your hard-earned dollars when living here. Undoubtedly, affordable housing is one of the major factors that give Harrisburg a lower cost of living than other similar-sized cities.


Yes, you’ll find that housing in Harrisburg is around 7% lower than the national average. This affordable housing makes it a popular destination in the United States. 

Today, residents in Harrisburg are fairly young. Since the city is home to several excellent colleges and universities, Harrisburg has a definite youthful atmosphere.

Most of the young residents and singles tend to rent property in Harrisburg. In contrast, older folks and families are attracted to the suburban feel of more traditional neighborhoods. 

We find them living in areas such as Camp Hill, Hershey, and Mechanicsburg. Not only do they find several excellent schools in the area, but they also tend to buy property when moving to Harrisburg.

Renting property in Harrisburg

If you plan on renting an apartment on the outskirts of Harrisburg, you’ll find that a two-bedroom apartment will set you back at around $840 a month. However, if you choose to rent in the city center, where most of the essential amenities are within walking distance from your new home, it’ll be more expensive.

The average monthly rental on a two-bedroom apartment located within the city center is about $900. Since many colleges and universities are located near the city center, renting here is a popular choice for young students.

If you’re a student planning on renting an apartment in the city center, you may be better off sharing costs with a friend. Doing this can cut your rental cost almost in half and keep your cost of living affordable.

Buying property in Harrisburg

Despite housing being 7% lower than the national average, most homes are well looked after in Harrisburg. The quality housing available here means you don’t have to fork out a lot for maintenance when buying a new home. 

If you plan on buying a house here, you should budget around $320,000 for an average-sized three-bedroom home. Numbeo reports that the mortgage interest rate is fixed at 4.47%. While this interest rate is more on the average side of things, it’s an important factor to consider when buying a home in Harrisburg.


Unfortunately, while affordable housing will make you smile, utility costs here will do the exact opposite. Utility costs in Harrisburg are 19% higher than the national average. 

The weather in Harrisburg is also typical of most mid-Atlantic regions. This weather means most utilities, such as your energy bill, will stay fairly consistent throughout the year. An average household of two people can expect to pay an energy bill of around $200 a month.

Internet service, another important amenity, is also more expensive than the national average. A standard 60Mps unlimited data connection will set you back around $75 depending on your provider.

The higher cost of utilities here makes it more difficult to save up for a rainy day. That’s why we suggest you always stick to the 30% rule. 

Your mortgage payments, rent, and utilities should never be more than 30% of your net income. 

This simple rule can help you save quite a bit of money in the long run and ensure that you live a within your means in Harrisburg.

Food and Groceries

One area where you’ll also be able to save some money is on food and groceries. Food and grocery costs here are on average 1% less than the national costs. 

A freshly baked loaf of bread is only $3.30, while a gallon of milk is under $2. Even clothing is more affordable in Harrisburg.

A pair of jeans, like Levis 501, cost only $32. On the other hand, the average chain store summer dress is about $33. You will want to look your best and can afford to while exploring this thriving, trendy city.

If you plan on frequenting one of the many exceptional restaurants, you’ll be in for a treat. A three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant will only set you back about $40. Not only is this more affordable than the national average, but the quality of food will also impress you.

Do keep in mind that the sales tax in Pennsylvania is 18% higher than the national average. So, certain products may be more expensive than what you’re used to paying. 

However, you can’t stay in Harrisburg and not try out one of the local food trucks. An average hamburger will only set you back around $4.50. It would be best if you also kept an eye out for the classic Subway Cafe Pizza, a favorite for Harrisburg residents. This popular restaurant located on Herr Street has been tantalizing locals with mouth-watering pizzas for nearly 70 years.

The wide selection of food trucks and restaurants found in the downtown area is also a favorite among the young student population.


Harrisburg is trendy, exciting, and has a thriving nightlife. This nightlife is mostly driven by the student population that calls Harrisburg home. We know students are penny-pinchers, and if they love Harrisburg’s nightlife, you will too. 

There’s good news for everyone, though. Finding affordable and fun-filled entertainment in Harrisburg is straightforward. Movie-goers can enjoy the latest blockbuster for a little over $12 a ticket. 

If you prefer visiting a pub or bar, you’ll also be saving quite a bit. A mid-range bottle of wine is about $17.50, and a pint of cold beer is $3. These prices will make you smile and can keep parties and nights out affordable. 

There’s also plenty of fun and interesting activities to do for free around Harrisburg throughout the year. A special mention should go to our annual holiday parade in November, where you can indulge all five of your senses. From tasty food to floats and live music, you’ll be having a great time.

Just make sure that you keep an eye on your budget. The tasty food and fun-filled carnival games will make it easy to burn through the contents of your wallet.

Harrisburg is also home to some thrilling adventure trails. Many of these hiking trails wind their way around, even through several wineries and past the 11 local breweries. You’ll be able to stay fit and healthy if you plan on exploring all of these fabled trails.


Healthcare in Harrisburg is 12% lower than the national average. This lower average should help you save more money and enjoy a lower cost of living in Harrisburg.

For example, the average doctor’s visit here will only cost you about $100. A trip to the dentist will be around $85, and you can expect to pay $50 for veterinary services.

Even a gym membership is affordable, only around $25 for one month per adult. The lower cost of healthcare in Harrisburg is one of the major benefits of living in this metropolitan city. 

Education and Childcare

Harrisburg is home to 26 private schools and 43 public schools. There are plenty of schooling options available to parents that want to relocate their family here.

The teacher-to-student ratio here is around 16 students for each teacher. This means that your child will be able to get all the attention they deserve while schooling here.

A typical private school is around $8,000 per year for one child. This cost is on par with the national average. 

On the other hand, should your child require daycare, you can expect to pay less in Harrisburg. Full-day, private daycare costs are on average $750 per month. 

If you’re already paying school fees or private daycare bills, you’ll find that they are pretty much the same in Harrisburg. So no nasty surprises or shocks there. 

Harrisburg is also close to several universities. So, if you have a university student in the family, you don’t have to get expensive separate accommodation. 


Commuting around the city is pretty straightforward.

Harrisburg’s transportation expenses, such as bus fares and gas prices, are around 6% higher than the national average. 

If you plan to use your personal vehicle to get around, you can expect to pay $2.76 per gallon to fill up your tank. Unfortunately, this makes saving money somewhat tricky.

You’ll also find that most residents in Harrisburg drive to work using their cars. On average, commute times are around 23 minutes, which is just under 4 minutes less than the national average.

However, getting around by car isn’t the only way to commute in Harrisburg. You could save some money by using public transport.

Public Transport

Harrisburg boasts a well-maintained public transit system. However, this is mainly limited to the Cumberland and Dauphin counties and Harrisburg proper. Services to other areas are limited, and buses don’t run on Sundays.

A one-way ticket is around $1.80, while a regular monthly pass is just over $50. This is somewhat more than the national average cost. 

One great, affordable solution is to either bike or walk. Harrisburg is an easily walkable city, especially the downtown area. In this pedestrian-friendly part of town, you’ll find easy access to several restaurants, retail stores, and even riverfront attractions. They are all located an easy walking distance of one another.

By choosing to live closer to work or school, you’ll save a lot of money, which will lower your cost of living in Harrisburg.

Salaries in Harrisburg

The main employers in Harrisburg are the commercial sector, education, and agriculture sectors. The average salary, after-tax, is about $3,150 a month. You’ll want to keep an eye on the income taxes while living in Harrisburg.

The state of Pennsylvania’s income tax is 24% higher than the national average. A hefty portion of your income will be going to taxes.

The unemployment rate in Harrisburg is also slightly more than the national average. Most recent reports find that Harrisburg, PA has a 6.4% unemployment rate. However, the leisure and hospitality sector saw an impressive 12-month gain by adding 66,700 jobs.

Today, it’s recommended to secure employment before relocating. This should go a long way to providing you with a relaxed, happy, moving experience, especially if you don’t have to worry about your funds and income.

Key Takeaways

Harrisburg is trendy. It is modern and yet also filled with a rich and diverse history. This beautiful city sits on the Susquehanna River. 

You’ll find several local breweries and wineries to explore among museums and even the popular Hersheypark. This park is a chocolate-themed park offering rides and entertainment to residents and out-of-town visitors. 

Today, the cost of living in Harrisburg is 1% more affordable than the national average. So you can expect to have a comfortable life here.

If you want to live in a modern city that still manages to exude that small-town feel, Harrisburg will be perfect for you. Your next step is to contact a reputable moving company that serves Harrisburg, PA. This friendly city is waiting for you. 

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