Is Fresno an Expensive City?

It feels like everything costs more these days, but is Fresno an expensive city to live in compared to other places?

It turns out that Fresno’s cost of living is just slightly above the national average and significantly below the overall California average, which does not make Fresno an expensive city to live in at all. In fact, it’s pretty average for affordability.

Let’s look at some of the details of Fresno’s affordability …

Fresno Cost of Living

According to, Fresno’s overall cost of living index is 102.6 (with 100 being the U.S. national average). By comparison, California’s overall average cost of living is 149.9.

BestPlaces further breaks down Fresno’s cost of living into these categories (again with 100 being the national average):

  • Grocery — 99.2
  • Health — 90.6
  • Housing (median cost for average home, including both buying and renting) — 107.1
  • Utilities — 112.4
  • Transportation (including gas, vehicle maintenance, etc.) — 101.7
  • Miscellaneous (including clothing, restaurants, entertainment, repairs, etc.) — 100.2 estimates that the average cost of living in Fresno is $1,845 for a single person or $3,807 for a family of four.

Fresno Median Home Price

BestPlaces puts Fresno’s cost of living index in the housing category at 107.1. California’s overall average cost of living index in the housing category is 239.1.

This means homes in Fresno are significantly more affordable than elsewhere in California. reports that the median listing home price in November 2021 was $349,900. The median home sold price was $375,000.

Other Things to Consider about Fresno

Fresno’s population, as of the 2020 United State Census, was 542,107. It is the fifth-largest city in California and in 2020 was ranked ninth in the Most Racially Diverse Large Cities in America by U.S. News & World Report.

Fresno is centrally located and within short driving distance to both coastal and mountain getaways, including Yosemite National Park.

Fresno is home to Fresno State University, Fresno Pacific University, and Fresno City College, as well as other public and private universities. And in addition to university sports, Fresno also has the Minor League Baseball Fresno Grizzlies, United Soccer League Fuego FC, and United States Premier Hockey League junior ice hockey team Fresno Monsters.

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