Cost of Living Dallas vs Chicago 

Chicago and Dallas are among the most popular cities to live in America based on several factors like the infrastructure, people, weather, education, job opportunities, entertainment, the standard of living, and much more. Let’s look into the Cost of Living: Dallas vs Chicago.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Dallas-Fort Worth saw a six-time increase in population over Chicago since 2000. The report says that 97,000 people moved to Dallas, while 92,000 moved away from Chicago in 2021. 

In such instances, one cannot help but wonder about the cost of living in both cities and how they compare. Which city is a better choice to live in and why? How do the local health, housing, transportation, food, amenities, and other costs affect an average US citizen? 

Let’s find out in detail. 

Cost of Living Dallas vs Chicago (Overall Comparison Table) 

FactorsDallas, TXChicago, ILComparison
Housing (median home price for 2BA & 3BR)$408,230$513,821Dallas is 22% lower
Healthcare (avg. cost of a doctor’s visit)$120.57$105.00Chicago is 8% lower
Education (cost per year per child)$15,418.50$19,997.72Dallas is 22.9% lower 
Personal Transportation (cost of gas per gallon) $3.493 to $4.574$4.330 to $5.206Dallas is cheaper by close to one dollar per gallon 
Local Public Transportation (cost per ticket per month)$98.5 $87 Chicago has cheaper public transportation 
Food (per person per year)$551$552Dallas is marginally cheaper 
Airport Proximity 5.5 miles 9.3 miles Easier to reach the airport in Dallas 
Unemployment Rate 7.4% 9% Dallas has more job opportunities
State Taxes 8.3% sales tax 10.3% sales tax Dallas has a lesser tax rate 

*The table has been compiled by gathering data from multiple sources listed in the references. 

What is “Cost of Living”? 

The cost of living is the basic amount you need to spend to live in a particular place. This includes the money spent on housing, healthcare, infrastructure, food, taxes, etc.

Cost of living is linked to salaries. Living costs are higher in a higher-cost area, so you will need a higher income to pay for the basic expenses.  

A higher cost of living indicates that a city is expensive. People have to spend more money to have a decent standard of living.

This affects their personal wealth as they won’t have enough money left for savings. For example, US cities like New York, California, Chicago, etc., are considered cities with a high cost of living. 

How to Calculate Cost of Living? 

Cost of Living Dallas vs Chicago 

Cost of living is an index, which means it has a baseline to establish the expensiveness of a city. The index value changes based on the factors considered.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) uses the term Regional Price Parities (RPPs) to compare the cost of living between two US states, regions, or cities. 

The cost of living in two cities can help you choose the right place to relocate based on your income and requirements. It is much more than simply totaling the expenses and averaging them to compare the values. 

All expenses are not equal. We have to buy food and groceries regularly, while we buy clothes occasionally. People who rely on public transportation have to consider the cost of traveling from home to work and vice-versa to determine how much it affects their monthly budget. 

Dallas (TX) vs Chicago (IL)

How do Dallas and Chicago fare in the cost of living comparison? One of the world’s leading travel media brands has listed both cities on its top twenty-five best US cities to live and visit in 2022.

While Chicago grabbed fourth place, Dallas was listed in fourteenth place. Does it mean Chicago is a better place than Dallas? 

Maybe, maybe not. That depends on many other factors that we have listed below. Remember that each platform has its own method to compare cities and create the ‘best list’. 

For example, a crowdsourced database that calculates the cost of living of popular cities in the world shows that Dallas is 5% less expensive compared to Chicago.

It means you can save more money when you live in Dallas as you have to spend comparatively less on essential amenities, taxes, housing, etc. 

Median Salary 

Dallas is considered the 41st most expensive city among 268 cities in the US, while Chicago is in the 25th place. Chicago is more expensive than Dallas, which means you need to earn more to have the same standard of living.

  • The median salary in Dallas is $42,259
  • The median salary in Chicago is $47,371 

Housing (Rent and Purchase)

The median cost of renting and buying a two/ three bedroom apartment/ house is less in Dallas compared to Chicago. Living in Dallas can save money on housing expenditure, especially if you are single or have a small family. 

Rent for a 2BA$1,607$2,210
Purchase price for 2BA, 3BR$408,230$513,821

Cost of Food and Groceries 

Cost of Living Dallas vs Chicago 

This is a tricky area as we are dealing with more than one item. Food and groceries include a range of products like bread, eggs, milk, vegetables, meat (chicken, steak, etc.), processed foods, restaurant meals, takeaways, and much more. 

The prices of some food products are costlier in Dallas, while a few others are more expensive in Chicago. Also, note that the costs change periodically based on inflation. 

Food ItemsDallasChicago
Milk (gallon)$0.80$0.78
Bread $1.20 to $4.20$1.70 to $4.20
Eggs (dozen)$2.20$2.20
Fast Food Meal (Mc Donald)$8.50$8
Restaurant Dinner (mid-tier, for 2 people)$45 $45 
Domestic Beer$1.40 to $4.00$2.40 to $5.70
Coffee Cappuccino: $4.40 Espresso: $2.60Cappuccino: $4.50Espresso: $2.70
Chicken Breasts (2.2 lbs) $4.40 to $15$5.00 to $15
Local Cheese (2.2 lbs)$9.90 ($4.40 to $20)$10 ($4.60 to $18)

Transportation (Local and Personal)

Transportation is one of the primary aspects to consider when moving to another city. Here, you have to calculate how much it would cost to use your own vehicle (pay for gas, maintenance, etc.) and the charges for public transportation like buses, taxis, etc. 

Statistics show that it costs less if you use your vehicle to move around in Dallas. Local transportation is costlier compared to Chicago. But Chicago will be expensive if you use your personal transport and pay for gas.

Furthermore, the base price for taxi services is higher in Chicago, though the cost per mile is the same in both cities. 

TransportDallas Chicago 
Personal (cost of gas per gallon) $3.493 to $4.574 (regular gas and diesel) $4.330 to $5.206 (regular gas and diesel)
Local (cost per ticket per month)$98.5 $87 
Taxi Service $2.25 base price $1.80 per mile$3.25 base price $1.80 per mile


Healthcare is expensive in both states. However, Dallas fares slightly better. According to the statistics shared by eHealth, the average cost of an inpatient per day is $2,394 in Illinois and $2,292 in Texas.

The average cost of health insurance per person is cheaper in Texas (~$510) than in Illinois (~$580). 


Cost of Living Dallas vs Chicago 

The cost of education is less in Dallas compared to Chicago, though both are higher than the national average. Private education at school, college, and the university is more costly in Chicago. The national average university tuition is $41,281 per year. 

You can cover the total cost per year of studying at the University of Dallas if you spend around $1000 more on the tuition/ sticker fee for the University of Chicago. The total difference per year is more than $18,000. 

Private School (per year per child)$15,418.50$19,997.72
University Tuition$46,602$60,963
University Total Cost $62,050$80,277

*The fee will change based on the college and amenities provided. 

Benefits of Living in Dallas 

What makes Dallas a better place to live and relocate to in the current scenario? Let’s take a look. 

  • According to a news report in The Dallas Morning News, there has been a substantial increase in the monthly housing permits (for private homes) in Dallas. The housing permits touched 5986 per month in 2021 in Dallas (from less than 5000 in 2006), while they crashed to 1529 per month in Chicago (from slightly less than 4000 in 2006). 
  • Big companies like AT&T, JCPenny, Bank of America, Southwest Airlines, AMR Corporation, etc., are moving from Chicago to Dallas. Catterpillar Inc. has also announced that it would move its headquarters from Chicago to Irving in Dallas County. 
  • With more businesses entering Dallas, the city will provide increased job opportunities for people with different education and skills. 
  • Even though Dallas is more expensive than the national average cost of living, it is still cheaper than Chicago while providing similar services. In fact, Dallas has lower taxes, too (which means more savings). 
  • Despite hot summers (it’s Texas, after all), Dallas has beautiful weather in other seasons and enough places of entertainment for singles, couples, and families. 

Final Words 

We can conclude that Chicago and Dallas are great places to live, but Dallas has better opportunities for a more budget-friendly cost of living. Dallas has been thriving after the pandemic and seems to offer more to the average US citizen. 

We hope you enjoyed reading our article about the Cost of Living: Dallas vs Chicago.

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