How Much Does It Cost to Live in Washington, DC?

Washington is a medium city located in DC with a metropolitan area population of 632,323. A couple could live a moderate lifestyle in Washington on a budget of $5,023 per month, or $60,272 per year.

Cost of Living in Washington, DC

As noted above, the cost of living in Washington, DC is $5,023 per month for a couple living a moderate lifestyle. This budget consists of $3,111 for housing related costs, $824 for food, and $1,088 for other costs, all of which will be broken down below.


  • A one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Washington is estimated to cost $2,831
  • Basic utilities including electricity, water, and gas will run about $197
  • High-speed internet averages $83


  • Typical grocery costs of $597 per month include things like bread, eggs, milk, cheese, rice, chicken breast, bottled water, fruits, and vegetables
  • Alcohol including beer and wine for moderate home consumption costs about $107
  • Frequent coffees in a neighborhood café are estimated to be about $120


  • Meals out are estimated to be $560 per month, including 4 meals in mid-range restaurants and 8 in inexpensive restaurants
  • Transportation costs of $255 for public transport passes and occasional taxis
  • Fitness center memberships of $203
  • Cinema tickets of $70 include several outings for international releases

Note that Washington, DC is a somewhat walkable city with a Walk Score of 67/100, which means you may need a car if you are living in the city center and you will probably need to use public transportation frequently.


Amount of Money Needed to Retire in Washington, DC

Many people searching the internet for the cost of living in Washington, DC are doing so to see if and when they can quit their jobs and retire. A popular and easy way to calculate your retirement number is using the 4% Rule.

The 4% Rule estimates that a person(s) could withdraw 4% of their retirement nest egg and never run out of money. Using this calculation, a couple would need an investment portfolio of $1,506,798 to live a moderate lifestyle in Washington, DC.

Annual expenses of $60,272 ÷ 4% = $1,506,798 portfolio needed.

Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different, and the above calculation could change based on any other sources of passive income and social security income.


Overall, the cost of living in Washington, DC is affordable coming in at $5,023 for a couple living a moderate lifestyle. Those seeking to retire could do so comfortably with a retirement portfolio of $1,506,798.