Unsplash photo of the Birmingham, Alabama skyline

Where Alabama’s Household Bills are Most and Least Expensive

How much do Alabamians pay on living expenses in comparison to residents of other states? doxo breaks down key insights about Alabama’s household bills, with a close eye to how expenses differ in towns and cities across the state. For example, the average household in the Heart of Dixie, doxo’s data reveals, pays $1,653 in bills per month. The national average, meanwhile, is $1,888 per month.

This average monthly expense figure takes into account the 10 most common household bills, which are: Mortgage; Rent; Auto Loan; Utilities (electric, gas, water & sewer, and waste & recycling); Auto Insurance; Cable & Internet & Phone, Health Insurance (consumer paid portion); Mobile Phone; Alarm & Security; and Life Insurance.

doxo’s data also has infographics for 25 cities and towns across Alabama, breaking down localized bill pay data figures as well. State-wide rankings for most and least expensive cities provide insight into cost of living in Alabama and how it varies by location.

The data sheds light on Alabama’s cost of living through other metrics, too. For example, the “percent of household income” data point shows what percentage of household income local residents spend on bills. doxo’s data also indicates how much more or less expensive specific cities are than the national and state average.

Alabama’s residents pay $1,653 in household bills a month on average

The average Alabama household spends $1,653 a month on the 10 most common household bills. This puts Alabama at number 40 out of the 50 states in terms of average monthly spending. Average monthly bill expenses in Alabama are 12.5% lower than the national average: $1,889.

Absolute dollar amounts don’t tell the full story, though. The “percentage of household income” metric provides a more proportional look at bill spending in a particular location. Alabama families spend an average of 39.9% of household income on bills. This is considerably less than the national average, which is 35.2%.

In fact, out of the 39 states in which households pay higher average monthly bill costs than Alabama, all but 7 actually spend a lower percentage of household income on bills than Alabamians. Some of these states are expensive, like California, New Jersey and Alaska, which rank 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in terms of average monthly spending in absolute dollar amounts.

Annually, Alabama residents pay $37 billion in household bills. See more data about bill pay in Alabama by clicking on the infographic link below.

Data: doxoINSIGHTS’ bill pay infographic about Alabama

Wikimedia commons image of a US map with Alabama shaded in red
  • Average Bill Cost per HH: $1,653 per month
  • State Bill Pay Market Size: $37 billion
  • doxoINSIGHTS State Rank: 40 out of 50
  • Percent of HHI Used for Bills: 39.9%
  • Difference from the National Average: 12.5% lower
  • Share of Bills Paid by Credit Card: 7%

Alabama’s monthly utilities costs are $34 higher than the national average

The average Alabama household pays $1,653 in the 10 most common household bills per month. Average mortgage expenses, unsurprisingly, are the largest out of the 10 categories. They are, however, substantially lower than the national average mortgage payment: $898 for the average Alabama monthly mortgage payment compared to $1,279 for the national average. Rent in Alabama is also more affordable than the national average: $790 in Alabama, compared to $1,062 nationally.

Other than housing-related expenses, auto loans are the largest of the 10 most common bills for Alabama residents. The average auto loan bill in Alabama is $400 a month, compared to the national average of $411.

There are expenses, however, that are higher for Alabama residents than they are for US residents as a whole. Mobile Phone is one of these. While the average household in Alabama pays $113 per month in Mobile expenses, the national average for the same bill is $102.

Note: Health Insurance and Life Insurance expenses do not account for payments made by employers on behalf of employees. These just include out-of-pocket expenses.

Average Alabama Household Bill Spending

Bill CategoryAverage Alabama Monthly BillNational Average Monthly Bill
Mortgage$898$1,279
Rent$790$1,062
Auto Loan$400$411
Utilities$350$316
Auto Insurance$164$185
Cable & Internet$114$115
Health Insurance$90$113
Mobile Phone$113$102
Alarm & Security$76$87
Life Insurance$67$88
Total$1,653$1,889

Daphne is the most expensive city in Alabama for household bills

Residents of the Daphne area (including Fairhope and Foley as well) pay the highest household bills in the state of Alabama, at an average of $1,824 per month. This is 3.4% lower than the national average of $1,889. Meanwhile, it is 10.3% higher than the state average of $1,653.

The largest metro in Alabama, Birmingham, comes second in the rankings, with residents paying $1,797 on average per month.

Access detailed infographics about each city or town by clicking on the hyperlinks in the “City” column in the tables below. You can also browse doxoINSIGHTS’ regional bill comparison database to see infographics about more than 900 cities and towns across all 50 states in the US.

Note: Some city data includes surrounding metro areas and neighboring towns, as designated in the US Census Bureau’s Core Based Statistical Areas. (For example, Birmingham is grouped with data from nearby Hoover, since Census Bureau’s CBSA for Birmingham does the same.)

5 Most Expensive Alabama Cities for Household Bills

Rank
(1-5 out of 25)
City Monthly Bill Expenses Per Household* Percent of Household Income Used for Bills Percent +/- from National Average ($1,889) Percent +/- from State Average ($1,653)
1Daphne, Fairhope, Foley area$1,82437.8%-3.4%+10.3%
2Birmingham, Hoover area$1,79737.0%-4.9%+8.7%
3Auburn, Opelika area$1,79046.8%-5.2%+8.2%
4Montgomery$1,77141.3%-6.3%+7.1%
5Huntsville$1,71532.5%-9.2%+3.7%

*Household Bill Pay Expense averages shown above reflect the ten most common bills paid, including housing (rent/mortgage).

Again, percent of household income used for bills is a key metric to consider when it comes to cost of living. While average bills in Montgomery, for instance, are lower than those in Daphne, residents in the smaller city pay 3.5% more of their income on their household bills.

Urban centers in Alabama, perhaps unsurprisingly, are some of the most expensive places to live in the state. Birmingham, Huntsville and Montgomery, the three largest cities in Alabama, are all in the top 5 of the most expensive cities in the state.

Scottsboro is Alabama’s most affordable town for household bills

The most affordable cities and towns in Alabama, meanwhile, tend to be smaller on average than the most expensive ones. Scottsboro, with a population of less than 15,000, is the most affordable, with residents paying $1,385 on average for household bills. This is 26.7% lower than the national average and 16.3% lower than the state average.

Jasper comes in at the second most affordable town or city in Alabama, with residents paying $1,397 per month on average, at 26.0% lower than the national average.

Also on the list of 5 least expensive cities in Alabama are Eufala ($1,428 per month), Atmore ($1,416 per month), and the Anniston, Oxford area ($1,404 per month).

5 Most Affordable Alabama Cities for Household Bills

Rank
(21-25 out of 25)
City Monthly Bill Expenses Per HouseholdPercent of Household Income Used for Bills Percent +/- from National Average ($1,889)Percent +/- from State Average ($1,889)
21Eufaula$1,42851.6%-24.4%-13.7%
22Atmore$1,41648.2%-25.1%-14.4%
23Anniston, Oxford area$1,40436.2%-25.6%-15.1%
24Jasper$1,39739.5%-26.0%-15.5%
25Scottsboro$1,38542.7%-26.7%-16.3%

COVID-19 migrations, Alabama and bill payments

Millions of Americans moved due to factors of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially financial ones. Alabama, especially, is an epicenter in the Southern US where many individuals are moving, ranking #8 in a list of most-moved-to states.

doxoINSIGHTS’ data about bill payments can be a valuable resource for consumers seeking to make decisions about where or whether to move, allowing them to compare average expenses in different cities. They can also use doxoINSIGHTS’ regional bill comparison database to compare average costs for over 900 towns and cities across the country.

Recent research from doxo also showed how COVID-19’s rise in remote work also led to elevated household expenses in certain key bill categories, specifically Utilities, Cable & Internet, and Mobile Phone. Also check out doxo’s most recent report, which breaks down the $925 that the average US household spends per year on the “hidden costs of bill pay“: added costs of credit, late fees, overdraft fees, and identity fraud.

If you have any questions or would like to sign up for updates to doxoINSIGHTS’ research, email aria.thaker@doxo.com

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