Providence, Rhode Island Cost of Living


Perched on the banks of the Providence River lies Providence, Rhode Island. As the state capital, Providence is home to the visually striking Statehouse and many renowned universities, art centers, cultural hotspots, and outdoor recreation areas. With so much to offer both new and long-time residents, the area is such a popular place to call home. It is the third largest city in New England, with a population of approximately 180,000. The entire metropolitan area, which includes the Massachusetts cities of Fall River and Warwick, has a population of approximately 1.6 million.

Despite the popularity of Creative Capital, the cost of living here remains relatively affordable. Providence’s cost of living index is 105.1, slightly higher than the national average of 100. That said, living in the state capital doesn’t have to break your budget, as there are plenty of affordable places to live. Let’s take a look at the average rental prices and identify where to find the cheapest apartments in Providence.

How much does an apartment cost in Providence?

According to our internal Providence Rent Research, monthly rent rates for about 75% of apartments in the city are between $ 500 and $ 2,500. The other options in town are more expensive. About 20% of the rent for $ 2,500 to $ 4,500 per month, while about 5% cost over $ 4,500 per month.

Considering these relatively low rental rates, it’s no surprise that Providence is one of the more affordable cities in the region. The statewide cost of living index is 110.6, about five points higher than the Providence average. For comparison, in Boston, New England’s largest city, the cost of living index is 162.4.

The cost of living indices in Providence include many data points, which can be best understood when explored more closely:

  • The housing cost index in Providence is 91, while it is 123.4 in Rhode Island and 260.6 in Boston.
  • The utility cost index is almost equal in Providence and across Rhode Island: 115.5 and 115.9, respectively. It is only slightly higher than Boston, at 116.8.
  • The cost of transportation index is a bit higher in Providence, 111.4, compared to the state transportation index of 106.1. It’s 131.8 in Boston.

While you might expect rental rates in Providence to increase over time, the cost of living here has surprisingly fallen in recent years. The exact rental rate depends on the size of the unit, but most median rents in Providence have fallen by around 5%. So, if you are wondering if moving to Providence makes sense given your budget, this could be one of the most affordable times to move here.

Providence apartments for rent

How to find cheap apartments in Providence?

It is not difficult to find reasonably priced accommodation in Providence, provided you know what to look for. In many cases, the size of the apartment is the most important factor that determines the overall price. If you don’t need a lot of space, a smaller apartment could help you save on rent each month. Here are the average prices by apartment size:

  • Studios cost only $ 1,305 per month
  • One bedroom units are priced at $ 1,450 per month
  • Two-bedroom apartments cost around $ 1,700 per month
  • Three-bedroom units cost $ 1,950 per month
  • Four bedroom homes cost $ 2,600 per month

Of course, size is far from the only thing that affects rental rates. If you want to keep your costs low, avoid looking for apartments in the more expensive areas of the city. Upscale neighborhoods like College Hill, Fox Point, and Wayland tend to have some of the more expensive accommodation in town.

Downtown Providence can also be pricey, but the rent usually goes down the further you get from the city center. On average, apartments in the Providence-Warwick metropolitan area are $ 35 cheaper per month than they are within city limits.

You can also cut costs by looking for apartments with minimal amenities. Many newer and larger apartment complexes have facilities available to residents, such as gymnasiums, swimming pools or community spaces. The cost of these extras is built into the monthly rent, making these homes more expensive. This means that you can save money by looking for complexes without these facilities or by looking for single family homes.

Renting an apartment with a roommate can also lower your rent. You could save hundreds of dollars each month by sharing a two- or three-bedroom apartment with roommates rather than renting a studio on its own. If you share your living space, you can also divide utilities and other housing-related costs to lower your monthly expenses.

What’s the cheapest rent in Providence?

Providence rental rates and cost of living are cheaper than many cities of similar stature. However, when looking for apartments, you are likely to find a wide range of rental rates, some almost double the price for spaces of similar size. For the cheapest rent in Providence, check out these neighborhoods:

  • Wayland and Olneyville, where studios cost an average of $ 1,150 per month.
  • South Elmwood and Charles, where one-bedroom apartments can cost as little as $ 775 per month.
  • Manton and Silver Lake, where two-bedroom units cost less than $ 1,000 per month.
  • Washington Park and Mount Pleasant, where three-bedroom apartments cost around $ 1,500 per month.
  • Lower South Providence and West End Providence, where four bedroom units can cost less than $ 1,750 per month.

Now that you know the cost of living in Providence, Rhode Island, and where to find the cheapest places to live, budgeting for your move just got a lot easier. Start your Providence apartment search today and find a great new place to call home.

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