What's it like to live in Baton Rouge, LA?

Profile written by local expert:

Dani Kinchen

Baton Rouge, the ever-expanding capital of Louisiana, increasingly absorbs the flavor of New Orleans without adopting the bustle of a tourist spot. Warm year-round and located right off the Mississippi River, the metro area moves at a suburban pace while offering the opportunities of a flourishing cultural hub.

Known for its competitive jobs in engineering and health care, Baton Rouge creates exciting prospects for newcomers. Home to Louisiana State University, the city fosters a close-knit community of college sports fans.

Baton Rouge is continually building to keep up with its growing population, so construction is rampant in some parts of the city. Builders regularly break ground on new residential and retail establishments, and trendy bars and Southern-style eateries continue to flow into the metro area at a rate just fast enough to keep up with Baton Rouge residents' appetites. 


U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana is ranked:

#109 in Best Places to Live

#117 in Best Places to Retire

#2 in Most Dangerous Places

#2 in Best Places to Live in Louisiana

#9 in Cheapest Places to Live




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Baton Rouge, LA Quick Stats

  • 828,741

    Metro Population

  • $44,500

    Average Annual Salary

  • 78.9° / 57.9°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 34.9

    Median Age

  • $179,350

    Median Home Price

  • 60.7 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 4.3%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $873

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 26.6 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Baton Rouge, LA?

Baton Rouge is packed with avid LSU football fans who gather at Tiger Stadium to cheer on their SEC team. The metro area also has plenty of places for shopping, including the unique boardwalk-style Perkins Rowe. Nearby are the Louisiana State Museum, the castle-like Old State Capitol and the Nautical Center, featuring the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Kidd. The Baton Rouge Zoo sits north of downtown and exhibits more than 1,800 animals.

Golf courses, parks, playgrounds, running trails and dog parks are scattered throughout the area. Residents also like to cast their fishing lines into the nearby Gulf waters and go hunting at one of many nearby hunting grounds. The Baton Rouge River Center hosts concerts and other events right on the Mississippi River, while downtown serves residents nightlife with a string of bars and restaurants that line Third Street.

What's the cost of living in Baton Rouge, LA?

Living in Baton Rouge is relatively cheap compared to other major U.S. metro areas, including New Orleans. The cost of living here is roughly on par with the national average, though. The median home sale price in Baton Rouge is lower than the national median. In addition, Louisiana boasts a low state and local income tax, making it one of the most tax-friendly states in the country.

Value Index

Index Score: 8.0 /10

How we calculate this.

Baton Rouge offer a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2018

Baton Rouge


Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Baton Rouge, LA.

What's the weather like in Baton Rouge, LA?

In Baton Rouge, most of the year resembles summer, with high temperatures and stifling humidity. An all too brief cool-down in December and January brings mild conditions. The metro area experiences some occasional flooding.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

5.7 in


4.9 in


6.4 in


4.7 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Baton Rouge, LA?

If you live in Baton Rouge, you do need a car. While the Capital Area Transit System (CATS) offers bus transportation, service is limited. Taxis are not prevalent, though ride-sharing companies like Uber are available.

The high volume of drivers leads to heavy traffic, especially during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Baton Rouge's roadways are some of the most congested in the nation. While a movement to make biking a viable form of transportation has grown, the metro area still lacks the infrastructure to support it.

The small Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport sits less than 10 miles north of downtown and is serviced by American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Direct flights are available to destinations like AtlantaHouston and Charlotte, North Carolina. Still, residents often choose to drive the 70 miles to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which offers a greater number of flight options. Baton Rouge is also serviced by charter bus companies such as Greyhound.

Commuting in Baton Rouge, LA

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

26.6 minutes

0.2 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Baton Rouge, LA?

Baton Rouge is home to residents of a wide range of ages, from retired citizens who grew up in the area to young families just starting out to college students attending LSU, Southern University or Southeastern Louisiana University. About a quarter of the population is in their 20s and early 30s, and a little over a fourth of Baton Rouge households include children.

Like many Southern cities, Baton Rouge has a Bible-minded population and is home to a host of regular churchgoers; Catholicism and Evangelicalism are two of the metro area's most prominent religious sects. 

While Baton Rouge is home to a host of middle-class and upper-middle-class families, the city's poverty rate is 26 percent.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

More single people in Baton Rouge than
national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.