The Cost Of Living In Norfolk VA [2023]

Norfolk has improved a lot since its early days. More than half the population of the city may be associated with the Navy or the harbor; however, a lot of outsiders have settled into the city as well. Norfolk VA’s cost of living intimidates a lot of potential residents. However, it’s nothing to be scared of.  A person’s monthly expenses can vary depending on a lot of factors. Here we’re going to discuss all of those. Norfolk has a lot to offer, including some amazing beaches, the best clubs and pubs, and much more!

Norfolk VA Cost of Living

House prices/rent, food costs, utility costs, and all other things impact the cost of living in any city in the world. Below we’ve discussed how Norfolk performs in all of these aspects. 


Whether you decide to buy a place or rent one in Norfolk, you need to know what expenses to expect. Like all other cities in the world, the rent in Norfolk varies depending on the size, location, and condition of the house. 

However, on average you can expect to pay between $1200 and 1500, for an 800 to 900 sq ft house. For a place like this, your yearly rent expenses can range from $14’400 to $18’000. 

drone view Homes in Norfolk VA
Home in Norfolk VA

For people looking to invest in their own house, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250k to $300k for a decent place. Like everywhere else in the US, in Norfolk Virginia cost of living has seen drastic increases due to house prices. 

Despite the increase in property prices, the average cost of a home in Norfolk is still less than the US average of $350k to $400k. 

If you’re looking for affordable neighborhoods in the city, we recommend Algonquin/Belvedere, Bolling Brook, Cottage Road Park, and Glenwood Park. You can even find a one-bedroom place for under $1000 here.  


A big concern for anybody moving into the area is the cost of education in the city. Education, especially at college levels, is extremely expensive in the US. However, some cities have it easier than others. 

You can expect to pay anywhere from $10k to $15k for a kindergarten student. For a private high school, you can expect to pay $15k to $20k. 

boy in black hoodie sitting in class
Norfolk VA Cost of Living

The Norfolk State University estimated the attending cost for students for the years 2021-2022. These expenses included the cost of room, tuition, personal expenses, books and supplies, and transportation. 

 For a resident student hoping to study at Norfolk State University, cost to attend was $26,710 for an undergraduate program. Those that were staying with their parents had to pay $21,115.

Students that were not Norfolk residents had to pay $38,638 at the undergraduate level. Resident, graduate-level resident students had to pay $29,045. Non-resident graduate students on the other hand had to pay $41,857. 

Like any other city, for Norfolk VA cost of living is influenced heavily by education costs. These go up nearly yearly, so you can expect the city’s cost of living to rise too. 


Electricity is one of the biggest utility expenses a household acquires. An average house in Virginia burns around 1100 kWh of electricity, and the cost of electricity in the state is $0.12/kWh. 

Three electricity towers with power lines running through them
Power Grid

So an average consumer in Norfolk can expect to pay $120 per month on an electricity bill. This means about $1440 per year in electricity costs. This varies from family to family, but these numbers can give you a great idea of what to expect. 

In Norfolk, Virginia, the cost of living also has a share of the household’s water bill. According to the water industry, on average, a person uses 3000 gallons of water a month.

 The cost of water per gallon, according to the Norfolk Government, is an estimated $0.08 per 10 gallons. So, you can expect to pay $23.5 per person monthly for your water bill. 


Transportation costs can be a really big contributor to a person’s monthly expenses. You have two ways to travel anywhere in the world: cars or public transport. 

Fuel and parking are the two major costs associated with owning a car. The average gas price in gas stations across Virginia is $4.5 at the moment. 

Norfolk VA Cost of Living
The Elizabeth Ferry

According to the Norfolk Government, the parking rate for a car for 6-7 hours is $11. You will have to pay $13 for overnight parking. These are similar to the average parking rates charged in other states too. 

Even at Norfolk Airport, parking cost is $1 per half an hour, which can get pretty expensive in the long run. 

The other option you have to travel to the city is public transport. Norfolk offers buses, ferries, and light rails for its people. 

Given that Norfolk is home to a harbor and touches the sea, it is no surprise that many ferries are available. The Elizabeth Ferry is a prevalent one in the area. 

You can find a timetable and a list of routes they follow on their website. The ferries leave from High Street, North Landing, and Waterside. All ferries start working from 5:30 and cease operation before midnight. 

All the routes have different charges; however, in Norfolk, the ferry cost for traveling to Portsmouth is $1.75 for adults each way. If traveling with an adult, children ride free, and an adult can only have two children with them. 

You’ll have to pay for the others if you have more than two children. People under the age of 17 are charged $0.75 per each way for the trip. 

Keeping transportation costs in consideration, In Norfolk, VA cost of living sees a real increase for people that go out more. However, you always have the option to walk. Norfolk isn’t a really big city, and most people find it easier to walk places than drive. 

Recommended Read: 30 BEST Places To Live In Norfolk VA

Medical Costs

American residents benefit greatly from insurance, which makes otherwise unaffordable medical expenses bearable. Most working adults have health insurance through their job, however, some might need to purchase a separate insurance plan. 

mayo clinic in norfolk
Hospitals Norfolk

A Virginia resident can expect to pay about $450-$500 a month towards an insurance premium. The premium can further rise or fall depending on your health and other factors. 

Having a baby is another big concern, as labor, delivery, aftercare, and NICU if you need it, can be expensive. On average, you can expect to pay about $14’500 to $15000 in costs when you have a baby. 

If a baby isn’t for you, Virginia allows abortions up to the second trimester of the pregnancy. In Norfolk, abortion costs can be anywhere from $600 to $700, depending on your chosen hospital.


Taxes are a big thing when it comes to the cost of living. In Norfolk VA, you can expect to pay about 5.75% income tax on at least some of your income. 

Norfolk VA Cost of Living

On every purchase, you are charged another 6% sales tax, which can significantly increase the price of basic commodities. You are also charged taxes on your property, assets, and all other items. 

Miscellaneous Expenses

Rent, food, and utilities aren’t the only costs you incur monthly. Other costs may seem minute but can be both unavoidable and big. For people with kids, childcare is a big concern. 

A full-day daycare will charge a child about $650 to $750 per month. You can expect to pay $11 to $15 per hour for a babysitter to come to your home. This will end up costing you more than the daycare. 

daycare girls

If you’re a car owner, you’ll also have to pay a premium for your car insurance. On average, car insurance will cost you about $1200 per year. This can change depending on your car and driving history. 

Finally, there are maintenance charges to consider. Let’s take Pest Control as an example. When it comes to pest control costs, Norfolk has an average of $350-$450 for small removals. 

Internet access is also something you’ll have to pay for. Two major internet providers from Norfolk, Cox and, have monthly starting prices of $29.99 and $49.99, respectively. 

Editor’s Pick: The BEST Bars To Visit In Norfolk VA

What Is the Cost of Living in Norfolk, VA?

Now that we have discussed where Norfolk stands in regard to all the expenses a person has, what exactly does it cost you to live in the city? You can expect to spend around $35k to 45k per year to live in Norfolk if you’re looking to lead a comfortable life. 

This is lower than the average cost of living for the entire state of Virginia, which goes above $40k. It is also less than the other states of the US. 

This estimate can change too, once you tailor the average costs to fit your family. Your cost of living will change depending on if you have children, how many, and whether those children are going to school. 

counting cash dollars
What Is the Cost of Living in Norfolk, VA?

If you have pets, their care will cost you further. While electricity, gas, and water prices are the same throughout Virginia, you will see a change in costs depending on where you live. 

Some areas are more expensive to rent than others. Additionally, some schools and even shops charge more than others. Therefore, your decisions will have a big impact on your life. 

Then there is your lifestyle to consider. The better the lifestyle you want to maintain, the more it’s going to cost you. 

The main question, however, is whether Norfolk is more expensive than other parts of the US. The answer is no. In Norfolk VA cost of living stands below the average in the US. You will find it cheaper to live in Norfolk than anywhere else. 

Is Norfolk VA Safe? 

Most people complain about Norfolk being unsafe, and there is some truth to the rumors. Police confrontations, pickpocketing, and other incidents can happen in the city. Some areas of the city are safer than other places in Virginia, while others are more unsafe. 

The total crime rate of the city per 1000 residents is 35. 28.5 of these are crimes against property, and 6.5 are violent. 

police blue siren engaged
Is Norfolk VA Safe? 

In truth, some areas of Norfolk truly are dangerous, especially at night. However, the city itself is perfectly fine and has a large population of families and businesses. You should avoid areas like Downtown late at night if you’re alone, just as a precaution. 

If you’re unsure about what neighborhood in Norfolk to move to, we can recommend some safe ones. You can choose Sewells Point, Lakewood, Edgewater, Ingersol Ave / Helmick St, Lafayette Winona, Riverpoint, Ghent Square, and Brambleton.

Is Moving to Norfolk Worth It? 

Norfolk is a small county that is characterized by its harbor and naval base. Half the people in the city are associated in some form or other with the ocean. Most people that move into the area come here because of deployments in the naval base. 

Aerial view of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on the Elizabeth River.  Ships in the yard, (L to R), the decommissioned submarine tender PROTEUS (AS-19), a destroyer under overhaul, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN-73), decommissioned submarine tender HUNLEY (AS-31), the stripped down hull of the decommissioned nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser VIRGINIA (CGN-38) and a medium auxiliary repair dock inside the large graving dock at lower right.
Norfolk Harbor

You might be one of those people, or you might not be. The good thing is that Norfolk has a lot more to offer. The city is home to some of the best restaurants, galleries, and other attractions in the world. 

The Government of Norfolk has worked very hard to make it a hub of talent. Many artists, entrepreneurs, and others have moved into the city, bringing diversity. 

There are a ton of recreational activities in the city that you and your family can enjoy. However, there are some downsides too. Like other cities in Virginia, Norfolk is extremely hot. 

Additionally, because it touches the water, the city can be very humid. Heat and humidity aren’t the best of combinations. The nightlife isn’t the best either. While you’ll find a lot of restaurants and bars, clubs are far and few in between. 

Still, the air quality is excellent, and the average income you can earn in this place is extremely high. Couple the high monthly earnings with comparatively lower monthly expenses, and you’ll be able to afford a very good lifestyle. This will also allow you to put some money aside. 

The educational institutions in the city are both excellent and affordable. If you’re a student or have children, Norfolk is a very good place to be. The State University of Norfolk, for example, is a very prestigious university. 

Overall, if you’re considering escaping from the buzz of big cities and want an easy, comfortable place to stay, you’ll love Norfolk. 


People have many questions about Norfolk VA’s cost of living before moving there. We’ve summarized all the necessities of life costs in Norfolk so that you can get a clear idea of your future expenses. And, for those looking for a delicious dining experience, be sure to check out the 23 Best Sushi Places in Norfolk VA. We hope this will make things easy for you. Good luck!

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Hamza Zia Khan
In 2018, I went on a cross-country hitchhiking trip that awakened a dormant part of me that finds incredible meaning in travel, coming across different cultures, and getting to know wonderful people. Since then, my traveling backpack and I have been inseparable.

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