The cost of living in Orlando is higher than in Lakeland, FL. | Screenshot via salary.com
With Lakeland constantly growing and undertaking multiple high-profile developments this year, we figured it was time to talk about the cost of planting some roots in Swan City.
The median household income in Polk County is $51,535 according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, Florida is 37 in the country for median income at $57,703 per household.
The overall cost of living in Lakeland is lower than the national average, and lower than the rest of the state.
In Lakeland, the cost of healthcare is lower compared to other parts of the state + the US. The cost of groceries, housing, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses in Lakeland also have lower average costs than other cities in Florida and the country overall.
Breaking down the numbers
Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $50,000 annually — according to experts — you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly gross income on rent and utilities. Don’t worry, we did the math for you — your max monthly budget would be $1,250. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Lakeland is $1,505 — putting you over budget.
According to a recent study by Attom Data Solutions, it’s actually more affordable to buy a home in Polk County than to rent.
Take a look at the chart below to see how Lakeland’s cost of living compares to that of Orlando, Florida.
Interested in seeing Lakeland’s cost of living compared to cities in other states? We played around on salaray.com’s cost of living calculator, where you can put in any city along with your current pre-tax household income to find out what other cities you could actually afford to live in.
We took a look at the cost of living in Lakeland compared to Orlando. Here’s what we found:
The cost of living is 5.7% higherin Orlando.
To maintain our standard of living, we would need to bring in $52,850 to our Orlando household.
The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,937, which is $432 more than Lakeland.
Lakeland also has entities such as the Lakeland Housing Authority + other government-funded programs to help develop more affordable units.
There are also a number of local development firms working on apartments seemingly all the time — from Green Mills Group’s Parker Pointe on Bella Vista Street to the affordable housing development from Blue Sky Communities at Swan Lake Village.
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Classic Albums Live: U2 - “The Joshua Tree” | Thurs., Sept. 22 | 7:30 p.m. | RP Funding Center | $84+ | Musicians from across the country will perform U2’s album “The Joshua Tree” exactly as you remember hearing it — note for note, cut for cut. 🎸
Glow Night | Fri., Sept. 23 | 8 p.m.-12 a.m. | Union Hall | $10 | Get your glow on as you dance under the neon lights to electronic music with live drums.
NDEW Electric Vehicle Show | Sat., Sept. 24 | 9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Munn Park | Free | View electric cars owned by Lakeland locals at this showcase featuring an “EV-IQ” quiz, activities for kids, and prize drawings.
Buckler Arts & Craft Fair | Sat., Sept. 24 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | RP Funding Center | $6 | Grab your craftiest friends and head to this two-day arts and crafts fair — admission guarantees entry both Saturday and Sunday. 🧶
Let’s Celebrate Expo | Sun., Sept. 25 | 12-7 p.m. | RP Funding Center | Free | This wedding + event expo features giveaways, inspiration, and a fashion show — $10 VIP tickets can be purchased for reserved fashion show seating and other perks.
Lakeland Punk Rock Flea Market: Vol 5 | Sun., Sept. 25 | 12-6 p.m. | Swan Brewing | Free | Attend the fifth annual Lakeland Punk Rock Flea Market for live music, local vendors, skateboarding area, kids activities, and more. 🛍️
We have amonthly guide filled with events + activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.
For tickets to local and regional events, check out our 6AM Tickets resale marketplace.*
Total time: ~30 minutes (Makes four servings). | Photo provided by Publix
Take your tastebuds on a trip in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrate the dynamic flavors of Latin America with this recipe from Publix:
South American-Style Steak Sandwiches (Churrasco)
2 ripe Hass avocados
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
1 large tomato
1 New York strip steak (about 1 lb)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 hamburger buns
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Juice limes (2 tablespoons). Halve avocados; scoop out flesh and smash, then stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice. Chop parsley and garlic finely; slice tomato.
Preheat a cast-iron skillet. Season steak with salt and pepper. Place oil in a pan and add steak. Cook on each side until browned to your preference. Transfer steak to cutting board and let stand 5–10 minutes before slicing; temperature will rise 5–10°F during this time.
Combine mayonnaise, parsley, garlic, and remaining lime juice. Spread mayonnaise mixture on bottom buns. Top with steak slices, tomatoes, avocado mixture, and top buns.*
89º | Scattered thunderstorms | 40% chance of rain
The Lakeland City Commission will begin interviewing candidates to fill Phillip Walker’s seat on Mon., Oct. 10 at 8 a.m. Following interviews, the commission will appoint one of eight candidates at their meeting on Mon., Oct. 17. The selected individual will serve as an interim commissioner through Dec. 31, 2023. (The Ledger)
What goes around, comes around. At least, that will be the case at the intersection of Galloway Road and Sleepy Hill Road when the new roundaboutopens to traffic this Fri., Sept. 23. The $1.59 million project began back in June and wrapped in under 100 days. 🚧 (The Ledger)
Florida Southern College shared five ways you can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Whether you’re visiting the Art of the Ancient Americas Collection at Polk Museum of Art or checking out the Hispanic Heritage Book Display at FSC’s Roux Library, there are plenty of ways to celebrate this month.
No. 4. That’s what Florida ranked on WalletHub’s 2022 list of Best States for Teachers. Looking to make a career change? Polk County Public Schools is hosting interview days for aspiring educators on Tues., Oct. 4, Thurs., Nov. 3, and Wed., Dec. 7. 🍎
Benjamin Smith grew up around Lake Morton swans, and it made an impact. On two occasions, Benjamin penned letters of gratitude and well wishes to the Queen, and both times he received a response. Benjamin’s original copies are carefully protected, but he displays high-quality copies in his father’s Lake Hunter home. (The Ledger)
When you hear “three-legged alligator,” what comes to mind? For us, it’s Blinky, but a new three-legged reptilemade the news this month. Owen Lauer recorded a Circle B Bar Reserve alligator scooping up her young and carrying them to the water’s edge. Talk about a mama bear gator. 🐊 (WFLA)
Break out your lederhosen — Oktoberfest is back at The Brass Tap this weekend. Stop by from Fri., Sept. 23-Sun., Sept. 25 for live music, games, and themed beers on tap with no entry fee. Prost! 🍻
Dissent Brewing(125 S. Kentucky Ave.) has a new selection on tap: The Pineapple Upside Down Cake Berliner. Head in today from 3-10 p.m. to try it for yourself.
Registration is open for Red Tent Initiative’s Annual 5K on Sat., Oct. 29 at 8 a.m. The race will kick off at First Presbyterian Church on Lake Hollingsworth, and interested racers can sign up now for $35 — prices will increase to $40 on Sun., Oct. 23. 👟
Mark your calendars for Fri., Nov. 11 for a concert under the stars at Bok Tower Gardens. Grammy nomineeHayes Carllwill be performing his Americana hits from 7-9 p.m. on the Oval Lawn. Registration is required and tickets start at $35.
Let’s talk turkey. La Imperial Bakery’s annual Thanksgiving catering packagemenu launches Sat., Oct. 1. If you’re looking to skip the prep this year and dive right into dining, call the biz at (863) 500-4422 as early as Tues., Oct. 4 at 8 a.m to place your pre-order. 🍗
23. That’s how many food + bev options are in Orlando International Airport’s (MCO) new Terminal C. Travelers will see some Central Florida brands among the options, including Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co., Wine Bar George, Orlando Brewing Bar & Bites + more. ☕ *
Excited about Bonnet Springs Park opening? So are we. The park is set to celebrate its opening weekend on Sat., Oct. 22-Sun., Oct. 23 — in the meantime, get all your questions answered with their Grand Opening Weekend FAQ.*
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Do you think you could catch a swan? | Photo via The City of Lakeland
Most of the City’s swans reside on Lake Morton where they’re cared for through a program by the City of Lakeland’s Parks and Recreation staff. Here are just a few ways the City takes care of our local swans. ⬇️
During the City’s annual swan round up, Lake Morton’s swans are thoroughly checked by a veterinarian and receive a health assessment. This year, the swan roundup will take place on Tues., Oct. 18 at 7 a.m.
Lake Morton is a “designated bird sanctuary,” which makes it a prime location for Lakeland’s swans.
Staff are tasked with filling feeders for swans + informing the public on what swans can be fed (FYI, no bread, please).
To prevent loss, speed limit signs were introduced around Lake Morton, reminding residents to watch for swan-crossing.
Today’s issue was written by Rilee.
Editor’s pick: I attended last year’s swan roundup for the first time, and it was a memorable experience.Check out my visit and mark your calendar for the morning of Oct. 18 to see it for yourself this time around.
Missed yesterday’s newsletter? We took you on a tour of Lakeland’s Urban Forest, here.
Content marked with an * was created in partnership with 6AM City’s advertising partners. Paid content helps keep this newsletter free. 6AM City may also receive a commission on purchases made through affiliate links in this newsletter.