Cost of Living in Pasadena, CA

Receipts, Calculator, and a Budget Journal

Are you planning a move to Pasadena, CA and wondering if this city will be affordable for you to live in? Before you make a decision to relocate, it will be beneficial for you to know what the expected cost of living in Pasadena is, particularly housing costs, as these are a major expense for single and married adults.

Pasadena is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metro Division, which is ranked 10th out of 263 urban areas across the United States in terms of cost of living. According to the latest report from the Council for Community and Economic Research, the cost of living index in this area is estimated to be 148, 48% higher compared to the national average, making it one of the more expensive cities in the country.

Cost of Living and COL Index: Definition

Cost of living is the amount of money necessary to cover for basic expenses and maintain a certain lifestyle standard in a particular place and time. These basic expenses include housing, food, taxes, health care, clothing, education, transportation, and entertainment. As the prices of goods and services vary from one city to the next, knowing the cost of living of a specific city or state can be very helpful in determining how affordable it is to live in a particular area.

The cost-of-living index, on the other hand, shows the difference in living costs between cities. It can also provide a comparison between the city and the national average. The cost of living index of the base location is always expressed as 100.

In this article, we will be showing the COL indexes for Pasadena as compared to that of the average within the United States. So, if you see that the index is higher than 100, then that would mean that the cost of that particular expense is x percent higher compared to the national average. Conversely, a number lower than 100 would mean that the cost of that particular expense is lower in Pasadena compared to the national average.

Overview: Cost of Living Indexes in Pasadena, CA

  • Food and Groceries: 104.5          
  • Housing (Homeowner): 352.8     
  • Median Home Cost: $992,600     
  • Utilities: 101        
  • Transportation: 155.5      
  • Health: 86.7         
  • Miscellaneous: 103.7
  • Overall Index: 185.8        

A Young Family Checking Out a House in Pasadena, CA

Housing Costs in Pasadena, CA

Housing costs in Pasadena is 252.8% higher than the national average.

Homeownership Costs in Pasadena, California

  • The median home value in Pasadena, CA is $987,211.
  • This is much higher compared to the national average of all home types of $284,600.
  • Despite the higher home prices in Pasadena, almost half of the population own their homes.
  • Based on the 2019 US Census data, the owner occupied housing unit rate was 42%.

Cost of Renting an Apartment in Pasadena, California

The average monthly rent in Pasadena, CA is $2,589. The cost of rent varies depending on your lease agreement, proximity to the city, and the number of bedrooms.

  • Average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city: $2,391.25
  • Average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment outside the city: $1,956.87
  • Average monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in the city: $3,625.00
  • Average monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment outside the city: $2,775.00

A Young Couple Buying Groceries with Their Children

Cost of Food and Groceries in Pasadena, CA

The cost of food and groceries in Pasadena, CA is 4.5% higher than the national average.

Average Cost of Groceries:

  • Milk, 1 liter: $1.06
  • Fresh White Bread, 500g loaf: $3.34
  • White Rice, 1kg: $5.38
  • Eggs, 1 dozen: $3.99
  • Local Cheese, 1kg: $15.05
  • Chicken Fillet, 1kg: $13.21
  • Beef Round, 1kg: $14.10
  • Apples, 1kg: $3.62
  • Banana, 1kg: $1.40
  • Oranges, 1kg: $3.29
  • Tomatoes, 1kg: $4.20
  • Potatoes, 1kg: $2.82
  • Onions, 1kg: $2.02
  • Lettuce, 1 head: $2.04
  • Water, 1.5 liters: $1.57
  • Bottle of Wine, mid-range: $12.00
  • Domestic Beer, 0.5 liter: $3.10
  • Imported Beer, 0.33 liter: $2.83

Average Cost of Food:

  • Meal for one at an inexpensive restaurant: $16.00
  • Three-course meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant: $60.00
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or equivalent combo meal): $9.00
  • Domestic beer (0.5-liter draught): $5.00
  • Imported Beer (0.33-liter bottle): $7.00
  • Cappuccino (regular): $4.31
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33-liter bottle): $2.17
  • Water (0.33-liter bottle): $1.73

Taxes in Pasadena, California

There are three main forms of state and local taxes in Pasadena: local property taxes, a state income tax, and state and local sales taxes.

  • California has one of the highest base sales tax rates in the country, at 7.25%. This rate only applies to less than a quarter of the cities in California.
  • Considering the additional city and county sales taxes, taxpayers could pay as much as 10.5% in sales tax.
  • The average Pasadena homeowner pays 0.73% on property tax every year, which is lower than the national average of 1.07%.
  • The state of California has a progressive income tax system, meaning income taxes are based on the individual’s yearly income.
  • There are a total of ten income tax brackets in California, starting at 1% and reaching as high as 13.3% for individuals who earn over $1 million.

Utility Costs in Pasadena, California

Utilities cost in Pasadena are 1% just higher than the national average.

  • The average cost of basic utilities per 915 square feet is around $139.63.
  • The average cost of basic utilities like water, garbage, cooling, heating, and electricity for bigger homes in Pasadena is around $400-$500 a month.

Child Care Costs in Pasadena, California

Although a preschool or private childcare is ideal for parents who work full time, this is another expense that you will need to think about because it will impact your overall cost of living.

  • The monthly average cost of childcare in Pasadena is $1,170 for one child.
  • It will benefit you to look around the neighborhood and see who offers at-home child care and compare the cost with that of a center-based service.

A Student Inside a Library at a School in Pasadena CA

Education Costs in Pasadena, California

Pasadena offers an excellent education system.

  • The public schools offer outstanding education to students and are free.
  • On average, parents in Pasadena spend $13,603 annually per child enrolled in a private elementary school.
  • The average annual tuition for a private high school student is $29,894.
  • The average tuition for an in-state community college student is $1,168 a year.
  • The average tuition for an out-of-state community college student is $7,552 a year.

Infographic Showing the Cost of Living in Pasadena CA

If you are considering moving to Pasadena, California, feel free to get in touch with us so we could help you look for the perfect home for you and your family. Give us a call today at 626-272-2365 or send us an email at to schedule an appointment. You may also send us a message for any questions.