As with any city, the cost of living in Detroit will vary depending on the lifestyle and taste of individuals. That said, the Motor City is quite affordable overall, as evidenced in its ranking of 80th most expensive out of 209 cities surveyed on the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2020, placing it well below other large cities in the US. 

Cost of accommodation in Detroit

The cost of accommodation in Detroit varies. Owing to the constant redevelopment of the city, there are many opportunities to buy or rent properties on the cheap, but this will often entail extensive maintenance and renovations. New arrivals looking to avoid these extra costs would do better to seek out accommodation that is slightly more expensive but requires less renovating.

That said, housing overall remains relatively cheap. Rent is usually affordable, even within the upmarket suburbs near the city centre. Utilities are not usually included in the advertised monthly rental price and will need to be paid for separately. 

Cost of education in Detroit

Those who send their children to local public schools will have few expenses as fees are free of charge. Attendance at international schools, on the other hand, isn't free. For from it in fact; they tend to be rather exorbitant.  

Cost of transportation in Detroit

People in Detroit usually own a car, although motor insurance is notoriously expensive. New arrivals should also budget for gas (petrol), as Detroit is a large city and they may find themselves driving a lot.

While public transport in Detroit isn’t as extensive as the systems found in other US cities such as New York or Boston, there are reasonably priced bus services such as Greyhound, Megabus and SMART that travel through both the suburbs and city centre.

Cost of living in Detroit chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Detroit in November 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,360

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,480

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,380

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,000


Eggs (dozen)

USD 1.77

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.66

Rice (1kg)

USD 3.55

Loaf of white bread

USD 2.30

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 7.70

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 7.50

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 1.80


USD 4.25

Bottle of local beer


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 47.50


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.16

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 60

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 153


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.17

Bus/train fare in the city centre


Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.63