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Where California’s Household Expenses are the Highest in 2022

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How does living in the Golden State affect your wallet? doxo breaks down key insights about the state’s household expenses, with a close eye to how bills differ in towns and cities. On average, California’s household expenses, doxo’s data reveals, are $2,649 per month.

doxo’s data also has infographics for 431 cities and towns across California, breaking down localized bill pay data figures as well. The state-wide rankings for most and least expensive cities provide insight into cost of living in California and how it changes according to location.

The data sheds light on California’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.

California residents pay $2,649 in household bills a month

The average California household pays $2,649 a month for the 10 most common household bills. This 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.

California residents, overall, pay average household bill expenses: the state ranks 23rd out of 50 states in terms of average monthly spending. Slightly more expensive than California is North Dakota, where residents pay $1,937 a month on average; slightly more affordable is Maine, where residents pay $1,922.

The most expensive state for household expenses is Hawaii, where residents pay a whopping $2,911. The most affordable state, meanwhile, is West Virginia, where residents pay $1,452 per month.

California’s household expenses, on average, are 3.3% lower than the national average of $2,003.

Absolute dollar amounts don’t tell the full story, however. The “percentage of household income” metric provides a more proportional look at bill spending in a particular location. California households spend 39% of their income on household expenses, which is higher than many states where households pay costlier expenses on average. For example, New Jersey is the 3rd most expensive state, at $2,610 on average per household per month, but this accounts for only 36% of local income.

Annually, California residents pay $400 billion in household bills. See more data about bill pay in California by clicking on the infographic link below.

Data: doxo INSIGHTS’ bill pay infographic about California

  • Average Bill Cost per HH: $2,649 per month
  • State Bill Pay Market Size: $400 billion
  • doxoINSIGHTS State Rank: 2 out of 50
  • Percent of HHI Used for Bills: 41%
  • Difference from the National Average: 32.3% higher

Housing costs drive California’s high expenses

The average California’s household pays $2,649 in the 10 most common household bills per month. The much higher-than-average rent and mortgage prices drive the expenses as high as they are, with both being significantly more than the national average. The average mortgage payment in California is $2,234, and average rent is $1,570, compared to the national average mortgage bill of $1,368 and rent bill of $1,129. This makes California’s mortgage costs 63% higher than the national average, and rent costs 39% higher than the national average.

Life insurance is also an area in which California residents spend considerably more than the national average. The average household in the state pays $100 a month for mobile bills, compared to the national average of $82.

Auto insurance, however, is more affordable in California than it is in the country overall. While US residents on average spend $196 per month on car insurance, in California they spend just $163.

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. Also, the state and national bill totals take into account the percentage of households that pay a bill.

Average California Household Bill Spending

Bill Category Average California Monthly Bill National Average Monthly Bill California Percent +/- National Average ($2,003)
Mortgage $2,234 $1,368 63% higher
Rent $1,570 $1,129 39% higher
Auto Loan $474 $433 9% higher
Utilities $347 $328 6% higher
Auto Insurance $163 $196 17% lower
Cable & Internet $117 $114 3% higher
Health Insurance $122 $123 1% lower
Mobile Phone $113 $113 0% higher
Alarm & Security $94 $84 12% higher
Life Insurance $100 $82 22% higher
Total $2,649 $2,003 32.3% higher

Ladera Ranch is the most expensive area for California’s household bills

Residents of Ladera Ranch pay the highest household bills in the state of California, at an average of $4,132 per month. Menlo Park, home to major tech companies and entrepreneurs, comes in second in the rankings, with residents paying an average of $4,029 on household expenses. Marina Del Rey, in the heart of Los Angeles, comes in 7th, at $3,880 on average.

Interestingly, residents who live in one of the 10 most expensive localities in California are likely to spend a smaller share of their income on household expenses than the residents of the 10 most affordable areas in California (listed below). For example, Ladera Ranch residents spend just 30% of their income on household expenses, on average. Meanwhile, residents of Wasco, the most affordable area in the state, spend 52% of their income on bills.

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 doxo INSIGHTS’ regional bill comparison database to see infographics about more than 4,200 cities and towns across all 50 states in the US.

10 Most Expensive California Cities for Household Bills

Rank
(1-10 out of 431)
City Monthly Bill Expenses Per Household Percent of Household Income Used for Bills
1 Ladera Ranch $4,132 30%
2 Menlo Park $4,029 32%
3 Trabuco Canyon $3,946 29%
4 Stevenson Ranch $3,908 37%
5 San Ramon $3,902 31%
6 Danville $3,885 28%
7 Marina Del Rey $3,880 43%
8 La Canada Flintridge $3,859 29%
9 Alamo $3,857 20%
10 Calabasas $3,847 36%

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

Wasco is the most affordable place in California for household bills

Out of 431 cities and towns, Wasco is the most affordable place in California, with residents paying $1,638 on average for household bills. Household bills account for 52% of local income in Wasco. In fact, most of the areas on the list below spend around 50% of average household income on bills; a markedly higher number than those on the “10 most expensive” list.

Corning comes in at the second most affordable town or city in California, with residents paying $1,649 per month on average.

Also on the list of 10 least expensive cities in California are Taft ($1,656 per month), Yucca Valley ($1,696 per month), and Crescent City ($1,719 per month).

10 Most Affordable California Cities for Household Bills

Rank
(422-431 out of 431)
City Monthly Bill Expenses Per Household* Percent of Household Income Used for Bills  
422 Crescent City $1,719 45%  
423 Ridgecrest $1,718 32%  
424 Barstow $1,712 48%  
425 Yucca Valley $1,696 48%  
426 Dinuba $1,673 47%  
427 El Centro $1,662 43%  
428 Brawley $1,658 46%  
429 Taft $1,656 43%  
430 Corning $1,649 46%  
431 Wasco $1,638 52%  

In the wake of the rise of remote work, some individuals may be deciding whether to move from a more expensive city to a less expensive one. doxo INSIGHTS can be a valuable resource for consumers seeking to make key decisions like this, allowing them to compare California’s household expenses against average bills in different cities and states across the country. They can also use doxo INSIGHTS’ regional bill comparison database to compare average costs for over 4000 towns and cities across the country.

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