Insights » How Much Do Utilities Cost for the Average US Household?

How Much Do Utilities Cost for the Average US Household?

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As both winter and inflation set in, Americans are bracing themselves for a rise in utility bills. But how much are consumers already paying in utilities, and how does that differ across areas of the country? doxoINSIGHTS’ latest report breaks down the amount that utilities cost for U.S. households. doxo’s U.S. Utilities Market Size and Household Spending Report analyzes the numbers, both in terms of overall market size and average cost per household at both the monthly and annual levels.

The report also contains rankings among all 50 states, 50 major metro areas, and 374 smaller cities and towns in the country, showing how average utility bills compare in different places across the country.

doxo’s research also shows the beginning of inflation in this household bill category. Utility payments across doxo’s platform were already up 4% in October 2021 as compared to the same period in 2020.

Check the full report for additional details on national bill payments, and how much utilities cost in comparison to other regular expenses, like auto loans, rent, cable and internet, mobile phone costs, and five more key household bill pay categories. The report also breaks down the scale of the utilities industry market size: $380 billion spent in the US per year on the bill category, out of the $4.4 trillion total that Americans spend on household bills.

How much is the average utility bill?

doxoINSIGHTS’ report on the industry reveals that the average American household spends $316 a month on utilities. Also, 78% of households pay a monthly utilities bill in the first place. This brings the average annual utility bill cost per US household to $2,955.

Utilities Costs for the Average US Household
Average Monthly Utility Bill % of Households w/ Utility Bill Average Annual Utility Expenses per HH

Below, see a breakdown of utilities costs across the most and least expensive states, the 50 largest metro areas in the country, and 374 cities and towns. To check out doxoINSIGHTS’ detailed infographics for states and cities, click the hyperlinks in the tables below.

Hawaii is the most expensive state for utilities

Hawaii tops the list of the most expensive states for utilities costs, with an average monthly bill of $540. This is far and away the highest average utilities expense out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. New Jersey comes in a distant second place, paying $436 per household. The remaining three states on the list include Alaska, at $428 per month, Massachusetts, at $424 per month, and Connecticut, at $408 per month.

Four of the five most expensive other states for utilities have cold winters, suggesting that the expensive heating costs may contribute to their high spots on the list. In Hawaii, meanwhile, the cost of imported oil is understood as the primary factor that drives utilities costs up.

5 Most Expensive States for Utilities

Rank (1-51) State* Average Monthly Bill Average Annual Expenses per HH
1Hawaii $540$6,479
2New Jersey$436$5,229

*From rankings of all US states + the District of Columbia. See full report, page 10 for complete state rankings.

States located in the South and Midwest make up the list of the 5 most affordable states for utilities. Mississippi’s utilities are the most affordable, at $233 per month. South Dakota comes in as the second most affordable state for utility bills, at $239 per month. Indiana ($249 a month), Arkansas ($252 a month) and Tennessee ($254 a month) round out the list of the 5 most affordable states for utilities.

5 Most Affordable States for Utilities

Rank (1-51) State Average Monthly Bill Average Annual Expenses per HH
50South Dakota$239$2,886

Milwaukee is the most expensive major metro area for utilities

doxoINSIGHTS provides rankings of the 50 most populous cities in the country (by number of households), to show consumers how major metro areas compare to one another in terms of household bills. Milwaukee, Wisconsin pays the highest expenses out of the 50 largest cities, with an average monthly utility bill of $440 per month, and annual expenses of $5,278. Birmingham, Alabama comes in second, with average monthly utility bills of $396 per month, and annual utilities expenses of $4,758. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania comes in third ($380 in utilities per month), Hartford, Connecticut comes in fourth ($379 per month), and San Francisco, California fifth ($364).

5 Most Expensive Metros for Utilities

Rank (1-50) City / Town* Average Monthly Bill Average Annual Expenses per HH
1Milwaukee, WI $440$5,278
2Birmingham, AL $396$4,758
3Pittsburgh, PA $380$4,555
4Hartford, CT$379$4,547
5San Francisco, CA $364$4,365

*Ranked among the 50 most populous Core Based Statistical Areas defined by the US Census Bureau.

The South dominates the list of the five most affordable major metros for utilities. Austin, Texas is the most affordable, with residents paying $170 per month in utilities, translating to $2,043 per year. Memphis, Tennessee comes in second most affordable, with residents paying $197 in utilities per month, or $2,359 per year. Orlando, Florida ($212 per month), Charlotte, North Carolina ($227 per month), and San Antonio, Texas ($233 per month) come in third, fourth, and fifth most affordable on the list.

5 Most Affordable Metros for Utilities

Rank (1-50) City / Town* Average Monthly Bill Average Annual Expenses per HH
46San Antonio, TX $233$2,797
47Charlotte, NC $227$2,723
48Orlando, FL $212$2,541
49Memphis, TN$197$2,359
50Austin, TX $170$2,043

Vineland, New Jersey is the most expensive city for utilities

doxoINSIGHTS also ranks cities and towns that are not major metro areas. Below include the rankings for the 374 Core Based Statistical Areas (delineated by the US Census Bureau) that have more than 40,000 households. These also include the 50 most populous metros.

Among these cities and towns, Vineland, New Jersey pays the highest utilities costs: $643 per month, and $7,717 per year. Kahului, Hawaii comes in second place, at $621 per month, or $7,449 per year. Another Hawaii city, Urban Honolulu, comes in third place, at $574 per month, or $6,889 per year. Charlottesville, Virginia ($568 per month) and Yuma, Arizona ($517 per month) come in fourth and fifth on the list.

5 Most Expensive Cities for Utilities

Rank (1-374) City / Town*Average Monthly Bill Average Annual Expenses per HH
1Vineland, NJ $643$7,717
2Kahului, HI $621$7,449
3Urban Honolulu, HI $574$6,889
4Charlottesville, VA$568$6,820
5Yuma, AZ $517$6,204

*Ranked among the 374 US Census Bureau Core Based Statistical Areas with populations over 40,000.

The most affordable city out of the 374 ones doxoINSIGHTS ranks by utilities costs is Fort Collins, Colorado, where residents pay $146 in monthly expenses, or $1,750 annually. Sioux Falls, in South Dakota, comes in at second least expensive, at $156 per month, and $1,870 per year. Bowling Green, Kentucky ($165) is the third most affordable; Austin, Texas ($170) is the fourth most affordable, and Blacksburg, Virginia ($173) is the fifth most affordable on the list.

5 Most Affordable Cities for Utilities

Rank (1-374) City / Town* Average Monthly Bill Average Annual Expenses per HH
370Blacksburg, VA$173$2,074
371Austin, TX$170$2,043
372Bowling Green, KY$165$1,978
373Sioux Falls, SD$156$1,870
374Fort Collins, CO$146$1,750

Market size and more: the scale of the industry

The full Utilities report contains more detailed data as well, including industry market size rankings in all the different geographical divisions broken down above.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people may require assistance trimming regular expenses in order to save money. doxoINSIGHTS’ report can be a valuable resource for consumers seeking to make decisions like this, allowing them to compare average expenses in different cities and states. 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. 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.

The numbers from the full Utilities report are drawn from anonymized data from doxo’s 6 million users paying over 100,000 billers across more than 30,000 zip codes in the United States. Read more about doxoINSIGHTS’ methodology here.

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