Thinking about moving to California? If you’re working in tech and/or looking for an affluent area to relocate to, you might have your eye on Cupertino. Cupertino is in an area that forms part of Silicon Valley, with a generally high-income population and lots of amenities. But places where six-figure salaries are common also tend to cost more to live in. So is Cupertino worth the increase in the cost of living?
Benefits of Living in Cupertino
First off, let’s take a look at the many benefits of living in Cupertino. The area offers an appealing balance of urban and suburban feel, with lots of families living in the area and some of the most highly rated public schools in the country. It’s ranked #54 of 524 in the list of best suburbs in California. Both violent and property crimes are relatively low, and the neighborhoods of Cupertino are safe.
As previously mentioned, Cupertino is an ideal place to live if you’re in a high-paying tech career: the area’s biggest employer is Apple, and the median household income is $163,954 a year.
In terms of quality of life, you’ll also find plenty to recommend Cupertino: the famously pleasant California weather; proximity to plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, nature preserves, and campgrounds; and a wealth of restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and dining locations, as well as a diverse and lively population.
Income and Cost of Living in Cupertino
Here’s the short version: the median household income in Cupertino is $163,954, which is more than double the national average. According to Payscale, Cupertino’s cost of living is 153% higher than the national average, and other sources cite even higher numbers, up to over 200%.
Why such high numbers? For one thing, California is already more expensive to live in than most of the rest of the country. Cupertino is most famous as the home of Apple, meaning properties are in high demand from tech workers and their families. In short, the housing market is the major factor driving up the cost of living in Cupertino–coming back to numbers from Payscale, the housing prices in Cupertino are over 450% of that of the national average.
If you’re looking to buy a home in Cupertino, you should know the average sale price of a home there is $2.2 million. However, most homes won’t sell for even a fraction of that price. The homeownership rate in Cupertino is 63%, and prices for rental properties have been in slight decline for a while — however, the average rent in Cupertino is still $3,074.
While the housing situation might seem kind of dire, it’s not all bad news. Some expenses, such as utilities, are cheaper than the rest of California, though they’re still more than what you’re likely to pay elsewhere in the United States. Groceries will cost you a little more in Cupertino: 44% over the national average. Transportation costs overall are 23% higher, and utilities are about 8% over the national average. According to Ross Martin from The Zebra, motorists in places like Cupertino will pay $1,810 a year for their car insurance premiums. While that’s not exactly cheap California car insurance (it’s more than the average American motorist will pay), it’s considerably better than nearby Los Angeles, where premiums range up to $2,688 a year.
Transportation can be a particularly costly proposition in Cupertino, as most drivers (86%) commute to work and 81% commute outside Cupertino. As Cupertino has relatively little in terms of public or mass transportation, that means a lot of time spent on the road, which means more maintenance costs and more money spent on fuel. The EPI estimates the average person in Cupertino spends $10,300 a year on transportation. Although Cupertino has recently rolled out some changes, such as making Via’s mobility services available in the area, it’s still likely you’re going to be spending a lot of time behind the wheel.
There’s also the issue of taxes, from which Cupertino residents will find little relief. The average citizen of Cupertino pays about $12,942 a year for Social Security, Medicaid, and federal state income tax, against the national average of $8,248. This doesn’t include such things as property and sales taxes. Overall, residents of Cupertino pay a relatively high tax burden compared to the rest of the country, although it’s not prohibitively high.
So is moving to Cupertino worth it? While the cost of living is higher in Cupertino than in the rest of the country, it’s also a place where high-paying tech jobs are common and the median income is high. If you have (or are pursuing) a career in tech, those costs may not mean as much compared to the many benefits Cupertino has to offer.
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