Cost of Living in Lakeland, FL

May 01st, 2023

Cost of Living in Lakeland, FL

The Real Cost of Living in Lakeland

Are you relocating to Lakeland and would like to learn more about the cost of living? Check out these essential expenses that determine the cost of living in Lakeland, Florida.

Let's talk about what Lakeland has to offer. Lakeland, also known as Swan City, is a beautiful city located east of Tampa. This city gets its nickname Swan City because of the swans in the lakes of Lakeland dating back to 1923. The people of Lakeland considered these swans the 'people's pets.' Over the years, the name felt very fitting to this city. You can enjoy the lovely views of this city while seeing these amazing royal swans at any time of the day. Lakeland has so much to offer and is an extremely affordable area.

Lakeland is the largest city in Polk County, with a population of 115,685 people reported in 2020. It is also the 22nd largest city in Florida and has a growing rate of 1.33%. People are flocking to this city because of its amazing lakes and affordable cost of living. In this guide, we are going to discuss what it costs to live in Lakeland. All of these factors play a huge role in most people's everyday lives.

Here are things to know about the cost of living in Lakeland.

General Cost of Living

This city is one of the most affordable cities in Florida. The overall cost of living in Lakeland, Florida, is nearly 12 percent lower than the national average. If you are looking for an inexpensive city to live in Florida, Lakeland is the perfect destination. 

For those who are looking to relocate to the Tampa area, we highly suggest you look into Lakeland. Lakeland is just a 45-minute drive to the big city of Tampa and is significantly cheaper. Tons of people who are relocating to that area tend to lean towards moving to Lakeland because of how affordable it is.

Not only is the overall cost of living in Lakeland inexpensive, but the city itself has so much to offer to its residents. As you read through this guide, we are going to discuss in more detail what makes up the cost of living in this city.

Downtown Lakeland, FL at dusk with palm trees and buildings

Housing Prices

Another huge factor that plays a role in the cost of living in a city is the housing costs and real estate market. We are happy to discuss that the overall cost of housing in Lakeland is 24 percent lower than the national average. This is great for those who are looking to move to a city that has affordable housing costs

As most people are aware, the housing market in the United States right now has been chaotic. Home prices all over the country have increased significantly in all areas. The current median sold price for a home in Lakeland is $299,991, which is $189 per square foot. This is a 13 percent increase since last March, when the median sold home price was $264,466. 

On the plus side, the real estate market is still thriving in Lakeland. There are a little over 1,000 homes that are currently for sale in this town. This is great for those who are relocating to Lakeland because there will be a variety of homes to choose from. 

When it comes to purchasing a home, understanding if homes usually sell for the asking price or above is essential. You will be happy to know that more than half of the homes sold in Lakeland sell for under the asking price. This is great news for the buyers but not such great news for the sellers. 

Beautiful home in Florida with great landscaping


The average cost of utilities in Lakeland is 2 percent less than the national average. Utility bills can be difficult to estimate before moving to an area. However, on average, a Lakeland resident spends around $229 a month on electricity. This number can waiver per person or family depending on how often you use your electricity.

Keeping track of how much you spend monthly on utilities can benefit you in the long run. If you notice an influx in your bill one month, then the next month, you should be cautious of the electricity you are using. You can lower this monthly bill by turning things off like lights, TVs, etc. 

Another bill that can be a lot if you aren't careful is the water bill. In Florida, residents tend to use a lot more water than people in other states. This is mainly because it is warmer in Florida longer than in most other states. When it's warm in the south, people use water to do extra things like water plants, fill pools, use sprinkler systems, and more. The average Lakeland resident has a water bill of around $48 a month


The average cost of transportation in Lakeland is 15 percent less than the national average. This cost includes things like gas prices, public transportation costs, and more. With transportation being a huge factor in residents' daily spending, finding a city that has an affordable cost of transportation is ideal. Especially for those who live in Lakeland but work in Tampa and have to make the 45-minute drive to and from work. 

The average cost for gas in Lakeland is $3.59 per gallon for regular fuel. This is below the national average of $3.62 per gallon. It is essential to keep in mind that whatever the gas price is today does not mean it will be the same tomorrow. But, overall, Lakeland gas prices are usually less than the national average.

For those who rely on public transportation, Lakeland has a public system that runs through Polk County. Citrus Connection is the primary source of public transportation in Lakeland, Florida. The cost to ride Citrus Connection is $1.50 per adult, $1.25 per student, $0.75 per senior, and children ride for free.

Food and Groceries

Purchasing food and groceries can be some families' biggest expense. Especially living in Florida, where food costs are higher than the national average. This is because there is no income state tax, so the state increases the prices of other things to make up for lost revenue. 

On average, a single adult living in Lakeland spends around $3,000 a year on groceries, and a family of four spends around $9,000. This can vary depending on where you are grocery shopping, what you are buying, etc. Those who are budget grocery shopping at places like Lidl may spend significantly less money on groceries than those who shop at Whole Foods or Publix.


The median household income in Lakeland, Florida, is around $50,000, last recorded in 2020 by Data USA. This is significantly less than the United States median household income of $71,186 recorded in 2021. Because Lakeland is such an affordable city, having a lower median household income is doable to live comfortably in this city.

The overall employment rate continues to grow in Lakeland as more jobs and companies are moving to the area. Some of the biggest industries in this city are Office and Administrative Support, Sales, Management, Production, Business & Financial, and more. 

Aerial view of Lakeland, FL during the sunset near the lake


The cost of healthcare in Lakeland is about the same as the national average. This is a huge benefit for those who are seeking to move to a city that has good, affordable healthcare. For a single adult living in Lakeland, you should expect to pay around $4,265 a year on health care costs. The Florida average for a single adult is $4,213 annually, and the United States average for a single adult is $4,266. 

The number one hospital in Lakeland, Florida, is the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. They have earned awards for High Performances in eight different procedures and conditions. Not only does Lakeland have good healthcare systems throughout the city, but you are also just a short drive to Tampa medical centers if needed.


Taxes play a huge part in which city you live in, Florida. Most tax rates vary depending on which city or county you reside in. A great thing about living in Florida when it comes to taxes is that Florida doesn't require state income tax. So those who are receiving paychecks won't be taxed by the state for their income. This is great news for those who live in Florida because their paychecks have more income on them than those who make the same salary living in a different state.

When talking about sales tax rates, the rate for Florida is 6 percent. Every city has a different local sales tax rate. Polk County has a 1 percent rate, which equals a combined sales tax rate of 7 percent. You will see this tax rate on any goods or services you purchase. 


How expensive is it to live in Lakeland, Florida?

Lakeland has an overall cost of living that is affordable when compared to the national cost. A good monthly budget to have when living in Lakeland is around $1,250, not including housing costs.

Is Lakeland, FL, a good place to live?

Lakeland, Florida, is one of the best places to live in Florida. Living in Lakeland also gives you easy access to larger cities like Tampa and Orlando. You can enjoy a calm, friendly environment or go miles down the road to one of these cities to enjoy its vibrant community.

What is a good salary in Lakeland, Florida?

Determining what a good salary is to live off of is up to you personally. On average, most people find having a salary of anything between $40,000 to $50,000 allows you to live comfortably in this city. But each person and their circumstances are different, and you may find yourself capable of living off of a salary that is less or more than that.

What are the best neighborhoods in Lakeland?

This city is full of amazing neighborhoods and communities. There isn't a single neighborhood in Lakeland that a local has talked badly about. Some of the best neighborhoods in Lakeland are Beacon Hill, South Lake Morton, Raintree, and more. For more information on these neighborhoods, check out our blog on the best neighborhoods in Lakeland.

How far is Lakeland from the ocean?

If you are considering going to the beach when living in Lakeland, the shoreline is approximately 59 miles from this city. However, Lakeland has tons of beautiful lakes, and some of these lakes even have their own beaches. Before you drive the way to the coast, check out some of the local lakes. 

Beautiful lake mirror in Lakeland, FL with Lilly pads and buildings in the background

Pros and Cons of Living in Lakeland


  • Affordable cost of living
  • Healthy housing market
  • Inexpensive transportation
  • Cheaper utility bills
  • Affordable healthcare


  • Expensive food costs
  • Housing prices have increased over the last year
  • High monthly water bill 
  • Lower median household income compared to the national average

Cost of Living in Lakeland - The Last Words

As you read through this guide on the cost of living in Lakeland, we hope you found it useful. Understanding the cost of necessities and everyday purchases in certain areas is important to learn about before moving to the area. Figuring out if a city is affordable or within your budget is a smart idea.

Lakeland, Florida, is one of the most affordable cities in Florida. Not only does it have affordable housing, but it also has affordable transportation, utilities, taxes, and more. 

If you are considering moving to Lakeland, Florida, contact us here to get connected with you a local Real Estate specialist for more guidance. 

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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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