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If you’re thinking about moving internationally to one of the US’s most beautiful counties, you probably think that such beauty can’t come at a low price. And that is somewhat true. Life is not cheap in the OC, but how high is Orange County cost of living? And could it be that there is something for everyone’s pocket after all? Let’s find out.

Looking for a new home in OC? Every city is different, but we gathered all data, from housing to salaries, so that you can pick the right city for your new home.
Are you looking to find out more about Orange County cost of living? Grab a calculator. We have the numbers you need about the best places in OC

Whether you’re moving overseas or cross country, when relocating to a place with such a worldwide reputation, you can’t be concerned at least a bit about the cost of living in Orange County, CA. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to be 24/7 next to the ocean, underneath the palm trees, riding a cabriolet along the coast, and having a fabulous tan year-round? Exactly. OC is a highly desirable place to be, and we don’t blame you for wanting to become a local. But, the question is just how much will such a lifestyle cost you? It all depends on your budget and how well you can adapt after moving to Orange County. We have prepared some numbers, so if you’re ready to see the real cost of living in Orange County, let’s take a look.

Orange County Cost of Living: Higher or Lower Than the Other California Cities?

Although OC consists of 34 distinctive cities, with 3.17 million residents, it has a higher population than many US states. It’s the third-most populous county in California and sixth in the US. The state of California is home to some very expensive cities such as nearby Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Jose. So, how does OC stand in comparison to them? According to payscale.com, Los Angeles has a 43% higher index score than the national standard. San Francisco has a stunning 80% higher index score, and San Jose, with a 49% higher score, is somewhat close to OC, which has the cost of living index 52% higher than the national. Nevertheless, keep in mind that these large metropolises have a bigger population and many high-paying companies.

OC is known for being pricey, especially when it comes to housing, but it is not impossible to afford such a lifestyle.
Are you ready to start a new life in OC? We gathered crucial information about the best places and leave it up to you to compare them and make the final verdict

How Much Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Orange County?

Figuring out how much money you’ll need to earn to maintain a certain lifestyle can undoubtedly increase your moving stress, whether you’re moving with kids or alone. Those who manage to find a job before moving across the world are in a somewhat better position. Still, there are still plenty of relocation questions to ask the employer to ensure you have all documents for moving internationally, especially when traveling during the Coronavirus outbreak. The price of some moving-related expenses might be decreasing, but not the expenses in OC. So, let’s get back to them. OC is not known for being the most affordable place on Earth or in California, but there are always some ways to save money if you know how to manage it.

First, figure out how much you’re currently spending monthly, and compare those numbers to OC costs. Comfortable living is a subjective term, so it is hard to come up with a universal figure that will suit everyone’s needs. It could be anything from $55,000 per year, but let’s say that you’ll need at least $77,000 per year for a somewhat comfortable lifestyle. Expat communities are a great way to get a first-hand insight into your future hometown’s real-life expenses and get all the information on how to move abroad to OC.

Calculate the Costs of International Moving to OC

Before you actually get to OC, you shouldn’t neglect the costs of moving overseas, or interstate, to the sunniest county of them all. We mentioned that you could save some money on moving services due to the current circumstances, whether you’re moving internationally by sea or moving by air. Finding a reputable Orange County international moving company can be a time-consuming task because you have to collect all the data and compare prices of packing services, renting storage, oversized freight, overseas shipping of vehicles, and finding boxes and moving supplies. So, there are many things you should add to your calculator to get a better picture of overall expenses and your budget.

 Laid-back beach lifestyle is the reason why many crave living by the ocean.
The best way to start a new life is to do it by the beach

The Average Cost of Living in Orange County Revealed

Besides that, we decided to show you some prices in some of the most popular OC cities, so grab your calculator and start writing down the data. We covered everything you should take into account, from transportation to rents and even monthly fitness fees. Let’s take a look.

How Much is the Average Monthly Rent in OC?

The housing market is expensive in OC, especially if you’re looking to become a homeowner. In that category, housing expenses in OC go up to 150% above the national average. The median price for buying a home is around $712,500. But if you’re looking to rent a place, then you are prepared that the most significant part of your monthly income will go on rent. However, that still gives you more freedom to move easier and frequently if you find a better deal or a job in another town. In the chart below, you’ll find prices for a monthly lease, based on these four cities’ location.

CityAnaheimNewport BeachIrvineSanta Ana
1-bedroom apt, central location
1-bedroom apt, out of the center
3-bedroom apt, central location
3-bedroom apt, out of the center
Basic utilities for a 914 square foot apt

Source: Numbeo

How Expensive Is Transportation?

If you’re thinking about relocating to OC, shipping overseas a car should be on your list. It is not like you can’t live without it, but it will certainly make your life easier. Orange County Transportation Authority, OCTA, runs a network of 58 bus routes, encompassing all OC cities, and the prices are reasonable. For all information, trip plans, and maps, you can download their app.

  • A single ticket is $2
  • A daily pass is $5
  • The prepaid one-day pass is $4.5
  • The regular monthly pass is $69
  • Youth monthly pass (6 to 18 years only) is $40

There is also an express bus route that utilizes freeways and has fewer stops, but it comes at a higher price:

  • The monthly pass is $210
  • A daily pass is $14
  • A single ride is $7

Persons with disabilities and older than 60 enjoy reduced fares for both express and regular transportation routes. You must have proof of age, disability, or a Medicare card with you to be eligible to pay a reduced fee.

How Much You’ll Be Spending on Healthcare When Living in OC

According to many surveys, healthcare costs in OC are only slightly above the national average, so there are no significant differences whether you’re moving to Connecticut or OC in terms of that. However, many opt for private health insurance plans that they obtain either through employment or individually. The price depends on many factors, including your zip code, age, and so on. In California, all residents have to have health coverage, and since 2020, CA has a state-mandated coverage and state-based premium subsidy.

Cost of Sports and Leisure Activities

Besides rent, there are those things in life we don’t really have to spend on. Then again, they impact our overall life quality, so why not treat ourselves from time to time, whether it is a monthly gym membership or a dinner out on a Saturday night with your partner if you’re moving for a loved one.

CityAnaheimNewport BeachIrvineSanta Ana

The monthly fee for a fitness club





A meal in an inexpensive restaurant





Three-course meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant





A cup of regular cappuccino





Source: Numbeo

Home-Shopping Around OC, What Can You Get for $1 Million Dollars?

If you’re ready to invest and become a homeowner in OC, take a look at this video to find out what you can get for around $1 million dollars. We already mentioned that housing is pricey here, but this will help you get a better picture of the housing market. You can compare these homes and prices to the nearby LA, or even some other international destinations if you ever thought about moving to Vancouver, or some of the best places to live in Europe like France, Germany, or Spain.

What Is the Average Income in Orange County?

OC might be pricey, but certainly, its population wouldn’t grow continuously if people could not find well-paid jobs that allow them to stay there. According to the data from 2018, the median household income in OC for the period from 2014 to 2018 was $85,398. The average income is around $125,325, and these numbers have a growing tendency.

What Salary Do You Need to Live in Orange County?

We already mentioned above what could be considered as enough for a comfortable lifestyle, and since salary depends on many factors, we decided to briefly summarize for you monthly salaries (after-tax) in some of the best places to live in Orange County, CA.


Average monthly net salary (after-tax)



Newport Beach




Santa Ana


Source: Numbeo

OC Tax Guide

The minimum combined sales tax in 2020 for OC is 7.75%, while the property is taxed at a rate of 0.72%. If you’re interested in calculating how much you’ll be giving annually, take a calculator and multiply your home value by 0.72, and you’ll get a rough estimate. You can find many online calculators that could help you with that.

Start packing your bags. OC is waiting for you.
Don't hesitate. The best time of the year to move here is anytime

Is Orange County a Good Place to Live?

Now when you know everything about the cost of living in Orange, CA, the remaining question is, can you afford it? OC is definitely an excellent place. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be facing such a strong influx of newcomers moving abroad and interstate to stay in OC. So don’t worry about it. There’s nothing not to like about a place with almost 300 sunny days per year and 40 miles of coastline. You’ll be fine. Now, if you’re ready for moving internationally, schedule a free estimate, and book your moving overseas adventure so you can start packing for moving. Just don’t forget to keep in touch with friends and invite them to visit you in this piece of paradise in Southern California.