The Northland is an affordable place to live, thanks in large part to its relatively cheap housing stock. Rarely do costs rise high above the national average, and in the few cases where they do, it’s driven by real estate along Lake Superior. The region’s affordability becomes especially obvious when compared to other major cities in the region and across the country.

Sperling’s Best Places measures the cost of living in an area relative to a US average of 100. If the number is above 100, it’s more expensive to live in that area. If the number is below 100, then it’s less expensive in that area.

The total of all costs of living is weighted subjectively as follows: housing (30%), food and groceries (15%), transportation (10%), utilities (6%), health care (7%), and miscellaneous expenses such as clothing, services, and entertainment (32%). State and local taxes are not included in any category.

This table lists 20 of the largest communities in the region. For information on smaller towns, contact Karl Schuettler at 218-481-3899 or kschuettler@northspan.org.

City Overall Grocery Health Housing Utilities Transportation Miscellaneous
Aitkin 80.9 97.8 73.5 74.7 92.6 62.7 98
Chisholm 71.6 90.8 81.7 25.3 98.3 85.8 101.3
Cloquet 83.8 97.2 82.7 66.9 92.3 84.8 98.1
Cohasset 86.6 99 80.5 88.3 92.6 66.1 98
Duluth 85.8 97.4 81.7 76 85.4 81.5 100.7
Ely 79.6 94.6 81.7 51.4 93.4 86.2 100.9
Eveleth 74.5 92.3 81.7 37.5 90.7 85.6 99.9
Grand Marais 92.4 102.6 81.5 101.8 91.7 65.8 104.6
Grand Rapids 80.9 97.5 80.5 71.8 87.6 65.1 98.5
Hermantown 96 99 81.7 107.4 82.8 86 99.8
Hibbing 74.3 92.4 81.7 39.1 87.2 82.7 100.5
Hoyt Lakes 71 91 81.7 27.1 88.1 85.8 99.8
International Falls 68.6 94.9 80.7 29 95.6 65.7 99.7
Moose Lake 83.9 96.6 82.7 66.3 92.9 86.3 98.1
Mountain Iron 81.1 94.2 81.7 54.9 97.3 86.3 101.4
Proctor 84.1 97.8 81.7 66.7 89.5 85.6 100.4
Rice Lake 69.8 99.3 82.4 25 91.2 80.8 96.1
Silver Bay 73.6 94.2 82.4 38.8 88 74.9 103.3
Superior 82.6 94.6 105.6 53.6 97.1 86.9 98.4
Two Harbors 81.2 96.5 82.4 64 83.4 75.3 103.4
Virginia 72 92.2 81.7 31.4 97.3 79.1 100