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Big City Benefits Without the Big City Price Tag

New Orleans offers the benefits of access to good jobs, great culture, and high quality of life, all without breaking the bank.

Compared to other cultural hubs like Austin, San Francisco, or Chicago, a full and exciting life in New Orleans is surprisingly affordable. Though housing prices are on the rise due to the region’s growing popularity, average rent for a one bedroom in Greater New Orleans is just $947, and the median home price is $184,100, with options ranging from sophisticated downtown lofts, to charming uptown Victorians, to suburban cul-de-sacs, to rural farms.

Residents can easily fill their weekends with free entertainment and recreation at one of the region’s many parks, festivals, art galleries, and music venues; public school options continue to improve; and food and transportation costs in South Louisiana are some of the lowest in the country.

Greater New Orleans is the ideal location for families, entrepreneurs, young professionals, and retirees to make the most of their hard-earned capital.

Rankings & Facts

The Good Life Has Never Been More Affordable

There’s plenty to do on a smaller budget in Greater New Orleans. In fact, there are dozens of activities to do on no budget at all!

The Greater New Orleans region is home to hundreds of public parks, including City Park (50% larger than NYC’s Central Park and the 20th-most-visited urban park in the U.S.), Audubon Park, the Lafitte Greenway (a 2.6-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail and green corridor that connects six diverse neighborhoods across the city), and the St. Tammany Trace (a 31-mile asphalt trail for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and more).

Parades, including those during Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, and New Year’s are all free. Outdoor festivals often offer free entry, including the French Quarter Festival, the largest free music festival in the South. In addition to countless galleries and venues where you can see some of the world’s best art and listen to some of the world’s best music for free, The New Orleans Museum of Art offers free admission every Wednesday, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park is always free, and YLC hosts the free Wednesdays at the Square each Spring.

Low Cost of Getting Around

Whether by car, bike, bus, or plane, getting to, from, and around the Greater New Orleans region has never been more affordable.

Located near the energy industry that operates in Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana gas prices are among the lowest in the nation. Paired with low traffic in a compact area, residents spend significantly less money at the pump.

With more than 100 miles of bikeways, a 945% increase in bike lanes from 2005-2015, and hundreds of bikes available for rent through the “Blue Bikes” Bike Share Program, New Orleans has been ranked a Top 10 City for Biking to Work.

Public transportation in the City of New Orleans is anchored by the iconic New Orleans Streetcar. Five lines provide convenient access through the city and are managed by the New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which also operates bus service across 40 routes. A one-way fare via either bus or streetcar costs just $1.25, while a 31-day unlimited pass costs $55.

Greater New Orleans residents also have access to numerous public transportation systems throughout the region, including JeT in Jefferson Parish, SBURT in St. Bernard Parish, STAR in St. Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa Parish Public Transit, and the River Parish Transit Authority.

Located between the two coasts, it’s easy to get to anywhere in the country from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which currently serves 50 nonstop domestic destinations – and 8 international nonstop destinations – with an average domestic fare of $305 ($52 lower than the U.S. average).

A Great Place to Live and Work

Louisiana’s low cost of living makes it a great place to live and work.

Like many states with strong tourism economies, sales tax forms a broad base of public funding, allowing for some of the lowest corporate and individual income taxes in the country. Louisiana also boasts a progressive property tax structure, and the Homestead Exemption—which offers a $75,000 credit on primary residences—makes owning a home in Greater New Orleans easier for everyone.

When it comes to standard purchases such as groceries, utilities, or consumer goods, Greater New Orleans sits just above the national average. This gives residents the expendable funds to enjoy the cultural assets of the region without worry.

Cost of Living Index

New York (Manhattan)242.5
San Francisco201.7
Boston151.2
Portland 134
Chicago120.1
Miami114.5
Denver110.8
New Orleans105.6
Atlanta101.3
Austin97
Little Rock96
Cleveland95.9
Charleston95.3
Houston94.5
Source: C2ER 2019 Q2