Cost of Living in West Palm Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, with a population of 108,365. The total cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other necessities for a single adult in West Palm Beach is $38,025 a year — greater than the annual cost of living for Florida of $36,375 yet roughly in line with the national figure of $38,433.
Using cost of living data from the nonprofift think tank Economic Policy Institute, 24/7 Wall St. estimated the cost of living in West Palm Beach and over 29,000 other cities and towns in the US.
Housing Costs in West Palm Beach, Florida
Housing is one of the largest components of cost of living. In West Palm Beach, the median home value is $237,400, greater than the national median home value of $204,900. The median price of a home built in 1939 or earlier is $339,300, while the median value of a home built in 2014 or later is $239,000.
Renting is a sometimes lower cost alternative to homeownership. In West Palm Beach, some 51.80% of occupied homes are rented, greater than the 36.2% national renter rate. The typical renter in West Palm Beach spends $1,220 a month on housing, greater than the $1,023 national median monthly rent.
In addition to home value, one of the largest determinants of housing affordability is area income. While nationwide the price of a typical U.S. home is 3.4 times the $60,293 U.S. median household income, housing affordability ratios range from approximately 1.0 in the least expensive cities to more than 10.0 in the country's most expensive markets. In West Palm Beach, the median household income is $51,635, 4.6 times the median home value.
Transportation Costs in West Palm Beach, Florida
Transportation can also be a significant component of cost of living. In West Palm Beach, 86.90% of commuters drive to work, compared to 85.5% of commuters nationwide. An estimated 61.10% of workers commute to jobs outside of West Palm Beach, a larger share than the 43.7% share of commuters nationwide who live and work in different cities. The average commute in West Palm Beach is 22.6 minutes long, compared to the 26.6-minute average commute nationwide. Taking into account the cost of gas, as well as public transit and car maintenance, the EPI estimates that a single person in West Palm Beach spends $8,999 a year on transportation, less than the national average of $9,760.
Health Care Costs in West Palm Beach, Florida
Out-of-pocket health care costs and insurance premiums — assuming at least a basic level of health insurance coverage — are slightly lower than they are on average nationwide in West Palm Beach and also below what they are across Florida as a whole.
For a single adult living in the area, average health care costs come out to $4,001 per year, compared to an average of $4,213 across Florida and $4,266 nationwide.
Child care Costs in West Palm Beach, Florida
For families with children, child care adds thousands of dollars to overall annual spending. In West Palm Beach, the average annual cost of child care for two children — one 4 year old and one 8 year old — is $13,437, about $1,300 more than the comparable average of $12,134 across all of Florida. Meanwhile, across the U.S. as a whole, childcare expenses for two children averages $15,853 per year.
Food Costs in West Palm Beach, Florida
Food is another every day expense that has a significant impact on overall cost of living. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that the cost of food varies from city to city and town to town.
In West Palm Beach, a single adult spends an average of $3,563 on food annually, and a family of four spends $10,291 on average. For context, average annual food expenditure across Florida and the U.S., respectively, are $3,411 and $3,240 for a single adult, and $9,850 and $9,354 for a family of four. These estimates are calculated for a nutritionally adequate diet of food purchased at a grocery store for at-home preparation.
Taxes in West Palm Beach, Florida
Few expenses vary as much from city to city and town to town as taxes. Accounting for state and federal income taxes, as well as Social Security contributions and Medicare payroll taxes, the average adult working in West Palm Beach, Florida pays $5,618 annually — closely in line with the statewide average of $5,307.
It is important to note that these calculations do not include other common taxes such as property, sales, and excise taxes. Accounting for these taxes, while excluding taxes levied at the federal level, West Palm Beach residents live in a state with a low average tax burden. Per capita state tax collections in Florida total $2,158 per year, compared to the $3,151 average across all states.
To estimate the cost of housing, food, transportation, health care, child care, taxes, and other necessities, 24/7 Wall St. assigned county-level Economic Policy Institute data to cities, towns, villages and Census-designated places based on boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. For places that span multiple counties, data was aggregated based on the percentage of boundary overlap.
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