What's the Cost of Living in Athens, GA?

September 15th, 2023

What's the Cost of Living in Athens, GA?

What's the Cost of Living in Athens, GA?

Are you considering moving to Athens and want to know more about the actual cost of living? Georgia is known as an affordable place to live, but let's look a little deeper into the cost of living, real estate costs, average household income, and more expenses.

Located in the heart of Georgia, the town of Athens is like no other. While most people picture bustling cities like Atlanta, GA, Athens is a quieter but equally beautiful town. The city offers urban and rural living, prime real estate, mouthwatering cuisine, fun activities, an abundance of history, and so much more.

Widely known as "The Classic City," Athens is undeniably one of Georgia's best places to live. While it is home to the University of Georgia, there is a diverse population of young adults, families, and retirees who get to call Athens home. The area's friendly community, Southern hospitality, old-style charm, and new-style appeal will captivate you.

With a population of approximately 127,354 residents, it is Georgia's sixth most populous city but is growing rapidly. Meaning you will have many good-paying job opportunities. Similar to the whole state of Georgia, Athens has a relatively low cost of living. 

There are many things to know before moving to Athens, one of the most important being the cost of living. Fortunately, our team at UpHomes has collected all the crucial data so you can learn the actual cost of living in Athens. 

Keep reading to learn more about the cost of living in Athens.

Cost of Living

The overall cost of living in Athens, GA, is about 12% lower than the national average. This is almost the same as other cities around Georgia, as it is a relatively affordable state. The cost of living varies greatly depending on your career, average salary, and the real estate market in the area. 

If we look a little closer into the cost of living, you should expect that the rest of your expenses, apart from utilities, are lower than the national average. Compared to the national average, grocery costs are 4% lower, healthcare is 4% lower, transportation is 20% lower, and most importantly, housing costs are 22% lower. Remember that these prices can vary depending on your personal spending habits, and there are many ways to decrease them even more. 

Georgia is known to be highly affordable, which will give you plenty of extra cash to spend on the things you want to buy. Not only does Athens have low prices, but Georgia offers many other affordable cities and towns. Check out the cost of living in two of the state's best cities,  Savannah, Marietta, and Atlanta, for more information. 

When looking for a place to live in Athens, it's essential to remember that certain areas may be more expensive than others. To ensure that you find a comfortable home that you love, it's a good idea to research the cost of living in your desired location.

Athens is home to the University of Georgia Athens.

Real Estate

Housing prices in Athens, on average, are 22% lower than the national average. In most cities around the country, real estate costs are the most significant expense. Luckily, that is not the case here in Athens. The real estate is highly affordable, with a median home price of $280,100 and a median rent between $1,200 and $1,600 monthly.

Housing prices vary greatly depending on location, house size, the number of people you live with, and many other factors. Luckily, there are tons of beautiful and affordable neighborhoods in Athens. Check out the top 7 neighborhoods in Athens for more information.

Athens is proud of its diverse range of home styles, including Victorian Electic, American Four-square, Bungalow, and Craftsman styles. Many homes around the town are rooted in deep history, some dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Many newly built apartment complexes are in and around the downtown area, perfect for young professionals or students looking for short-term housing. Check out the fantastic single-family homes and townhomes for sale in Athens.

Most residents opt to rent if they're not ready to purchase a home or seek temporary accommodation. You'll not only adore your living space but the community as well. Befriending your neighbors comes with several advantages, and fortunately, Athens is renowned for its delightful Southern hospitality.  

Make sure to check out the best neighborhoods in Atlanta, Marietta, and Savannah as well. 

Enjoy beautiful architecture all across Athens, GA


As one of the most populated cities in Georgia, Athens offers many job opportunities. Over the last ten years, Athens has grown by more than 10%, 0.82% annually. On average, residents usually make between $75,126 and $36,291 annually. 

According to the United States Census Bureau, the average household income in 2020 was $39,713 and has grown higher over the past three years. Of course, your salary will vary depending on your occupation, experience, and many other factors.

Athens is home to several industries, the top sectors being Biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, Craft Beverages, Brewing and Distilling, Entrepreneurship and small business, and Healthcare and Life Sciences. This means that various employment opportunities are available for residents with different areas of expertise. 

Food and Grocery

Grocery prices in Athens are 4% lower than the national average. Similar to many other places in Georgia, you can expect to save a lot of money on grocery and food costs. Grocery prices will vary depending on where you live and where you shop, although there are many affordable grocery stores and farmer's markets available. 

It is essential to consider how food and grocery prices may impact your overall cost of living before moving to a new area.

Frequent dining out can become quite expensive, but fortunately, the grocery prices are low, allowing you to cook at home at a fraction of the cost it would be somewhere else. Although, on nights when you don't feel up to cooking, Athens has many delicious local restaurants.

Check out the list below if you are looking for some of the best local places to eat in Athens. 

  • The Pine Bar: This delicious Southern-inspired American cuisine is the perfect spot for a casual putting. Enjoy amazing tapas, wood-fired oysters, cheese, and charcuterie paired with the best wine and a full bar. 
  •  Seabear Oyster Bar: This casual and charming restaurant is one of the best places in Athens if you're looking for high-quality seafood. 
  • Terrapin Beer Co.: Visit this trendy brewery for the best beers made in-house, as it is a precious local favorite. 

Enjoy some of the best restaurants in all of Georgia here in Athens.


The minimum combined 2023 sales tax rate in Athens is 8%. This is a total of state, county, and city sales tax rates. Georgia's sales tax is currently at 4%, and the Clarke County tax rate is 4%.

Along with the rest of Georgia, Athens' taxes are billed against the property's assessed value, 40% of the market value. The average property tax rate is 1.24%, the same as the country average. 

Georgia has a graduated individual income tax, and the average rates range from 1.00% to 5.75%. In addition, there is a 5.75% corporate income tax rate. Taxes are often overlooked, and it is vital to remember them while looking into your next home. 


Athens' transportation costs are 20% lower than the national average. This includes average transit and gas prices. One of the many perks of Athens is its ACC Transit, a public transit system that provides fare-free rides for everyone. 

Combined with the transit system, Athens offers extensive bus and trolleybus systems. This means you can easily travel around the city at no extra cost. These buses run seven days a week, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.

Not only can you travel without paying a dime, but the area is known to be relatively affordable, depending on where you are. You may choose walking or public transportation, as vehicle traffic can happen in the busy city. 

If you are traveling from somewhere else, you can fly through the Atlanta Airport or the Athens-Bene Epps Airport and take a rental car, taxi, bus, Uber, or Lyft to your desired destination. 

Athens offers fare-free public transportation for all


Although an often expensive expense, healthcare is often not thought of when people consider the cost of living. Luckily, healthcare prices in Athens are 4% lower than the national average. 

Athens has many great hospitals to keep you healthy, including Piedmont Athens Regional, Landmark Hospital of Athens, and St. Mary's Health Care System. All of which are rated highly, you can ensure to be taken care of. 

The average healthcare costs may not equate to exactly how much you will be spending. Personal healthcare costs vary greatly depending on where you go, the specialized service you need, and your type of healthcare. This is why it is vital to consider how the average compares to your current city. 

Find the best healthcare for you in Athens

FAQ: Cost of living in Athens, GA

Here are some commonly asked questions about the overall cost of living in Athens, GA.

Is Athens, GA, expensive to live in?

Along with many other cities in Georgia, Athens is relatively affordable to live in. One of the reasons Athens is so cheap is its housing costs, which are 12% lower than the national average—making it not only a beautiful place to live but highly affordable. Georgia has many other affordable cities and towns that are worth checking out. 

Is Athens, GA, an excellent place to live?

Athens is known as one of the best places to live in Georgia. The city offers residents the perfect combination of a dense suburban feel, and most rent their homes. On top of this, there is an abundance of fun-filled attractions, parks, bars, and restaurants.

What do I need to know before moving to Athens, Georgia?

First, the cost of living is comparatively lower than many other cities nationwide. It is a smaller town, but it has a vibrant music and arts scene, good healthcare, and so much more. 

What is the best area to live in Athens, GA?

Depending on what you are looking for, Athens has many unique areas. Some of the best are downtown Athens, Cobbham, Five Points, Normaltown, and West Side Athens. 

Is Athens cheaper than Atlanta?

Athens is about 0.7% lower than Atlanta, GA, and employers typically pay 0.7% less than employers in Atlanta. 

Cost of Living in Athens, GA - The Bottom Line

The town is best known for being the home of the Dawgs and is considered the state's pride and joy in college football. Bringing in tons of new residents and tourists, the town is growing more and more each year but still keeping that small-town charm. Even if you're not a UGA gan, Athens is still one of the best places to live in Georiga. 

After researching the cost of living, one of the first things that should be on your list is to find the home of your dreams. No matter your lifestyle, budget, or family size, Athens has a plethora of options to choose from. 

Even if you decide that Athens isn't for you, Georgia has many other amazing cities with low costs of living, fabulous restaurants, beautiful architecture, and fun-filled activities. Check out Marietta for a more small-town vibe. 

No matter why you decide to move to Athens, you can guarantee to love it. One of the most important things to do before moving to a new area is research the cost of living, and we are so glad we were able to help you along the way. Make sure to reach out to one of our highly qualified Realty Specialists as the next step. Our team at UpHomes is dedicated to helping you find the homes of your dreams. Don't forget to check out some of the prime real estate here in Georgia

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.

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