Cost of living in the USA

USA2Over one million people from all over the world arrive to live across the US’ 50 states each year, making the country by far the world’s most popular emigration destination. But before you join them it’s a good idea to know what it costs to live there.

Along with usual things like food and entertainment, you will need to take into account, for example, issues such as the high-cost of healthcare (especially if you’re coming from a country with a universal healthcare system) and be aware that property prices and living costs can vary dramatically, depending on where in the country you choose to settle.

The cost of living in the USA varies from region to region and from city to city, but on average, expenses are less than in Western European countries. The chief cosmopolitan centres like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles are the most expensive places to live in the USA.

A total of 21 US cities feature in Mercer’s annual cost of living index, which ranks 207 cities worldwide in order of most expensive by measuring the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location. In 2015, they included New York which ranked 16th, Los Angeles 62nd, San Francisco 37th, Chicago 42nd, Washington 50th, Honolulu 52nd, Miami 56th, Boston 64th and Dallas 77th.

A large portion of the high cost of living is due to expensive property prices, a cost that can be somewhat alleviated by living outside city centres. Expats living outside of major cities in the USA will have to invest in a reliable vehicle for commuting but luckily petrol tends to be much cheaper than in Europe and UK (but keep in mind that consumption is likely to be higher).

Download your free USA Emigration Guide