The Average Cost of Food in the US

Joe Roberts
Researcher & Writer
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Published on June 21, 2021
1 min read
Average cost of food

The average cost of groceries in America is $355.50 a month per person. However, this number can vary greatly depending on factors like age and personal eating habits. Location is another important—though potentially surprising—factor in determining food costs. Groceries cost more in some US cities and states than others.

To find out where people pay the most for food every month, we looked at grocery costs in each state’s most populous city. We found that residents of Honolulu, Hawaii pay the most for food every month ($556.76), while people living in Manchester, New Hampshire pay the least ($183.00).

Keep reading to learn more about food costs across the country and to see where your state ranks.


Key findings

  • The average Honolulu resident pays $556.76 for groceries every month. That’s over $200 more than the national average of $355.50.
  • An area’s population size doesn’t seem to greatly influence food costs. Densely populated cities and smaller metros both show up evenly throughout our rankings.
  • With three exceptions (Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii), the ten states where food costs the most are all either eastern or southern states.
  • Many of the states with the lowest food costs are western states, though there are exceptions. The most notable exception is New Hampshire, which, despite being an East Coast state, actually has the lowest food costs in the nation.

States with the highest and lowest food costs

10 states with the highest food costs

  1. Hawaii (Honolulu): $556.76
  2. Vermont (Burlington): $497.41
  3. Alaska (Anchorage): $483.24
  4. New York (New York City): $482.87
  5. West Virginia (Charleston): $427.19
  6. Mississippi (Jackson): $423.33
  7. South Carolina (Charleston): $411.29
  8. Massachusetts (Boston): $406.21
  9. District of Columbia (Washington DC): $405.08
  10. Washington (Seattle): $402.08

10 states with the lowest food costs

  1. New Hampshire (Manchester): $183.00
  2. Kansas (Wichita): $261.35
  3. Idaho (Boise): $281.12
  4. Utah (Salt Lake City): $282.23
  5. Arkansas (Little Rock): $282.46
  6. South Dakota (Sioux Falls): $286.23
  7. Texas (Houston): $286.64
  8. Nevada (Las Vegas): $293.43
  9. Virginia (Virginia Beach): $298.01
  10. Arizona (Phoenix): $302.80
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What about other monthly costs?

Grocery bills are some of the biggest monthly bills most people accrue, but they’re far from the only monthly cost you need to plan for. Get a handle on budgeting your monthly bills by reading our average utility costs guide.


Methodology

For our rankings, we looked at Numbeo’s estimated monthly food costs1 in each state’s most populous city.2 These prices only include the costs for basic groceries. Additional food costs like restaurant bills were not included in these prices.

Sources

  1. Numbeo, “Food Prices in United States.” Accessed May 27, 2021.
  2. Wikipedia, “List of U.S. States' Largest Cities.” Accessed May 27, 2021.

Food costs across the US

Rank
State
Most populous city
City population
Monthly food cost per person
1HawaiiHonolulu337,256$556.76
2VermontBurlington42,417$497.41
3AlaskaAnchorage291,826$483.24
4New YorkNew York City8,175,133$482.87
5West VirginiaCharleston51,400$427.19
6MississippiJackson173,514$423.33
7South CarolinaCharleston136,208$411.29
8MassachusettsBoston617,594$406.21
9District of ColumbiaWashington DC693,972$405.08
10WashingtonSeattle608,660$402.08
11PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia1,526,006$401.02
12GeorgiaAtlanta420,003$397.97
13AlabamaBirmingham212,237$397.39
14MinnesotaMinneapolis382,578$395.39
15Rhode IslandProvidence178,042$390.19
16WisconsinMilwaukee594,833$385.97
17DelawareWilmington70,851$380.39
18OregonPortland583,776$375.41
19MainePortland66,194$372.21
20CaliforniaLos Angeles4,792,621$370.96
21FloridaJacksonville880,619$364.25
22IowaDes Moines215,472$347.05
23OklahomaOklahoma City579,999$346.66
24TennesseeNashville660,388$346.37
25WyomingCheyenne59,466$345.62
26New JerseyNewark277,140$343.77
27MarylandBaltimore620,961$343.67
28ConnecticutBridgeport144,229$343.30
29OhioColumbus879,170$341.48
30North CarolinaCharlotte731,424$341.10
31NebraskaOmaha408,958$336.90
32IllinoisChicago2,695,598$327.31
33MichiganDetroit713,777$327.12
34ColoradoDenver600,158$326.92
35North DakotaFargo105,549$326.66
36LouisianaNew Orleans343,829$325.19
37MontanaBillings104,170$323.91
38IndianaIndianapolis820,445$318.03
39KentuckyLouisville597,337$315.20
40MissouriKansas City459,787$312.63
41New MexicoAlbuquerque545,852$307.79
42ArizonaPhoenix1,445,632$302.80
43VirginiaVirginia Beach437,994$298.01
44NevadaLas Vegas583,756$293.43
45TexasHouston2,099,451$286.64
46South DakotaSioux Falls153,888$286.23
47ArkansasLittle Rock193,524$282.46
48UtahSalt Lake City186,440$282.23
49IdahoBoise205,671$281.12
50KansasWichita382,368$261.35
51New HampshireManchester109,565$183.00
Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over four years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.