While it would be somewhat misleading to call Pittsburgh a cheap place to live, expats are likely to be pleasantly surprised at the cost of living in the City of Bridges.

In Mercer's 2020 Cost of Living Survey, Pittsburgh was ranked 91st out of 209 cities surveyed. This puts it well below other major cities in the US, and ranks it far lower than the likes of New York City (6th), San Francisco (16th) and Los Angeles (17th).

Cost of accommodation in Pittsburgh

Though accommodation costs are rising in Pittsburgh, it is still a relatively inexpensive place to rent or buy property. However, new arrivals should be aware that utilities are fairly pricey in Pittsburgh and can add a fair bit to monthly expenses, especially during the cold winters.

Cost of transport in Pittsburgh

Most areas are well connected to well-priced public transport, and those who live a few miles from the downtown area have the option of cycling or walking.

Thanks to the good public transport system, it's not a necessity to own a car in Pittsburgh. That said, those with children or who live far out from the central area might need to invest in one. This can be pricey, especially as gas (petrol) is more expensive in Pittsburgh than in many other US cities.

Cost of education in Pittsburgh

There are plenty of excellent public schools in Pittsburgh, which children can attend free of charge. This includes charter and magnet schools. Private schools, on the other hand, charge school fees and can be expensive.

Cost of living in Pittsburgh chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Pittsburgh in November 2020.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,260

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 900

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,980

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,420


Eggs (dozen)


Milk (1 litre)

USD 1.05

Rice (1kg)


Loaf of white bread

USD 3.20

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 10.80

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)


Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)



USD 3.70

Bottle of beer (local)


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 60


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

USD 0.14

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

USD 75

Basic monthly utilities (includes electricity, water and refuse)

USD 180


Taxi rate per km

USD 1.55

Bus fare in the city centre 

USD 2.75

Gasoline/petrol (per litre)

USD 0.75