The Cost of Living in Grand Rapids

Curious about the cost of living in Grand Rapids? This is a hot topic of conversation right now, considering all the inflation conversation but before we get into the details, it’s important to talk about general facts of Grand Rapids and the state of Michigan, versus other parts of the country, just to give you some context. 

Grand Rapids versus the rest of the country 

The greater Grand Rapids area has a population of just over a million and we are considered a very affordable place to live. Grand Rapids has been in many different publications over the years highlighting it as a great place to live. As far as the national average, Grand Rapids sits 6% below the national average as far as affordability. So on a scale of all the states out there, Grand Rapids is in that lower half, which is amazing. If you think about it, there are obviously some expensive states, like Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New York. Grand Rapids would be considered more comparable to a city like Dallas, Texas stats wise in terms of affordability. From a state perspective, Grand Rapids is actually in the upper half of the affordability index within the state of Michigan. That means Grand Rapids is considered 4% less affordable than the average in Michigan, but still a very affordable place to live.

Some of the more expensive places you’ll see in the state of Michigan are actually going to be on the east side of the state with Birmingham, Royal Oak, and Bloomfield Hills. Then if you head up to Grand Traverse County, there’s also Glen Arbor, Traverse City, and some of those areas too. Within Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids is considered an expensive place to live too with higher housing costs. So even though East Grand Rapids is considered a little bit higher, the suburbs and greater Grand Rapids as a whole are right on par with being average. 

Statistically speaking, Grand Rapids residential housing is about 12% lower than the national average as far as housing affordability. That means our average sale price here in West Michigan (as of November 2022) is about $343,000. Of course, that will vary from area to area. 

Renting in Grand Rapids

If you’re looking at rental opportunities, a one-bedroom in downtown Grand Rapids generally starts in the $1,200 to $1,300 range, two bedrooms are right around $2,000, and three bedrooms are right around $3,000, though there are not many three bedrooms in the downtown district. Now, if you want to go into the outskirts of greater Grand Rapids, prices are going to significantly be reduced. In a lot of locations, that one bedroom is going to be closer to $800  to $900, two bedrooms closer to $1,200 to $1,300, and you get a three-bedroom and maybe even a single-family house for $2,200 to $2,300.

Food Costs in Grand Rapids 

When we’re talking about the cost of living, Grand Rapids is known as Beer City USA but we’re also making a push at Food City in Michigan with some incredible restaurants. Grand Rapids is about 4% lower than the national average as far as overall food costs. A standard lunch in West Michigan is going to cost about $15 a person and for a dinner for two, you’re at an average of $57. If you’re going out to grab a cold beer at a restaurant, you’re at about $4.50, and to enjoy a nice cappuccino at a coffee shop, you’re at $4.65.

The cost of Transportation in Grand Rapids 

Moving on, let’s talk transportation costs in and around Grand Rapids. From a geographical standpoint, it is easy to get around Grand Rapids, which ties into overall transportation costs. The average monthly expense for bus tickets is about $35. If you’re looking to hop in a taxi or an Uber, you’re basically for a five-mile jaunt into the downtown district, and with a tip included you’re going to be about $20 for an Uber or taxi ride.

Miscellaneous Day-to-Day Expenses 

Let’s talk about some of the miscellaneous day-to-day things that we may enjoy doing. An average gym membership on a monthly basis here in West Michigan is roughly around $30. We have got some great cinemas Downtown, in Studio Park, at Knapps Corner, and more, and the average cinema ticket is about $11.50. The average haircut cost in Grand Rapids is roughly $17. For daycare and preschool costs, you’re looking at about $1,150 a month.

Total Cost of Living in Grand Rapids 

Now, keep in mind, this doesn’t include your miscellaneous car expenses or any personal expenses. This is the cost of living in Grand Rapids for a single person. Right now, those costs are going to be on average, roughly $1,900 a month to have a pretty fun, good living in Grand Rapids. That’s $1,900 a month as far as your living, food, transportation, and some miscellaneous expenses. For a family of four, you’re at roughly $4,900 a month.

Hopefully, these stats have helped you get a better understanding of the cost of living in Grand Rapids. We actually feel that this is a very affordable place to live, and it’s an incredible community and place to live.