Cost of Living in San Mateo County for 2022: What You Should Know

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San Mateo County is just south of San Francisco, a region known for its beautiful coastline, diverse communities, expansive parks, and open spaces. The county is home to 104,035  residents; its mild climate and proximity to the Bay Area make it a popular destination for visitors worldwide.

San Mateo County is a place of natural beauty, from the redwood forests of Crystal Springs Reservoir to the rolling hills of Huddart Park. But the county also hosts thriving cities like San Mateo and Redwood City, which offer a wealth of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

In this blog post, I’ll look at the cost of living in San Mateo County, covering the cost of transportation, food, housing, taxes, childcare, and school, and provide some tips on managing your expenses.

Transportation Cost in San Mateo County

Transportation Cost in San Mateo County
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The cost of transportation is one of the many factors contributing to the high cost of living in San Mateo County. There are two main types of transportation in San Mateo County: public transit and private transport.

Public transportation in San Mateo County includes bus systems and light rail. The monthly pass for public transit for people without disabilities ranges from $1.10 to $130, while the price for the disabled ranges from $1.10 to $27. The price of a one-way ticket ranges from $2 to $5, depending on the distance travelled.

Private transportation includes driving your vehicle or using a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. The average cost of gas in San Mateo County is $6.32 per gallon. 

The cost of transportation in San Mateo County can be a burden for residents, especially those who cannot afford to live in the more expensive parts of the county. However, there are ways to save money on transportation costs.

For example, you can carpool with friends or family, take advantage of public transportation discounts, or use a bike or scooter for short trips.

Housing Cost in San Mateo County

Housing Cost in San Mateo County

Housing in San Mateo County is one of the highest in the nation. The average listed home costs $991 per square foot. $1.8 million is the median price for a home sale. For many people, the high cost of housing is a significant financial burden. It can be challenging to find affordable housing even if you have a well-paying job. 

The limited housing supply, the increased demand for housing, and the high land costs contribute to the high cost of living in San Mateo County. As a result, many people are forced to travel great distances for work or live in cramped quarters.

Childcare Costs in San Mateo County

The cost of childcare can be a significant burden for families, especially in high-cost areas like San Mateo County. The average price of an entire month of childcare in the county is over $1704, and some families spend upwards of $30,000 yearly.

In addition to the financial burden, the high cost of childcare can negatively impact work and family life. For instance, parents might have to decide between working and paying for childcare, or they might have to work fewer hours to make ends meet.

Businesses and policymakers need to support policies that make childcare more affordable to ease the burden on families.

One way to do this is by increasing funding for childcare subsidies and other programs that help low-income families pay for childcare. Businesses can also help by providing on-site child care or offering child care benefits to employees.

By working together, we can ensure that all families have access to affordable, high-quality child care. Below are the list of the preschools in San Mateo;

Food Cost in San Mateo County

Food Cost in San Mateo County

In San Mateo, the average annual food expenditure for a single adult is $3,837, while the average spending for a family of four is $11,080. The average meal cost at a restaurant in San Mateo County is $32, and the average cost of a grocery bill is $107.

This high cost of food is partly due to San Mateo County’s being home to many wealthy tech workers. However, the high cost of food also hurts low-income residents who cannot afford it.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors created the Food Access Task Force to address this issue. The Task Force recommended measures such as increasing funding for food assistance programs and creating community gardens.

These efforts allow San Mateo County residents to access affordable, nutritious food.

Taxes in San Mateo County

The county’s median home price is over $1 million, and the average tax bill represents 0.56% of that price.

So how does this tax bill help the county? The majority of the tax revenue in San Mateo County goes to fund public schools. Over 50% of the property tax revenue in the county goes to education. 

That means that homeowners in San Mateo County are paying some of the highest taxes to provide a quality education for their children.

And while some may argue that this is unfair, it is essential to remember that quality education is an investment in our future.

School Costs in San Mateo County

School Costs in San Mateo County

San Mateo County is home to over 25 public and 18 private schools, including College Park Elementary School, Baywood Elementary School, Beresford Elementary School, and San Mateo Park Elementary School.

The county is home to Argosy University (The Art Institute of California-San Francisco), with a tuition fee of $18,742.

According to CollegeCalc, the average cost of attending a public elementary school is $28,288 for the 2021/2022 school year. This is an increase of 3.6% from the previous school year.

The annual cost for out-of-state students who don’t reside in California is $35,932. Students who live at home with their parents should plan to spend a total of $8,103.

These costs do not include the cost of transportation, child care, or after-school programs. These costs can add up quickly for families with multiple children in school.

Fortunately, resources such as Tuition Reimbursement Program, helps Regular, Term, and Provisional employees cover the cost of education.

Tips for Managing San Mateo's Cost of Living in 2022

To manage the high cost of living in San Mateo County, residents can take the following actions. These include:

Many resources are available to help residents find affordable housing in San Mateo County. For instance, the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) offers financing and home loan programs resulting in safe, decent, and affordable housing, helping renters and homebuyers.

Many programs are available to help residents cover living costs in San Mateo County. These include food assistance programs, utility assistance programs, and rent assistance programs.

Cost of Living in San Mateo County


The cost of living in San Mateo County is rising and is projected to continue in the coming year. However, there are still ways to keep your costs down, such as by choosing to live in a less expensive area or looking for affordable housing options. 

If you are considering purchasing a property in San Mateo County, don’t hesitate to contact me. I have a wealth of experience and knowledge about the housing market in San Mateo County, and I will surely help you find the perfect property at the right price.

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