Cost of living in United States of America (USA) for Immigrants

There are so many people dreaming of a new life in America. If you are among these people, just know that you are not alone. Every year, some number in the region of one million people become new, legal residents in the United States of America. 

But before you think of booking your flights, you need to conduct a thorough research – it starts with the cost of living in the USA. This article will walk you through the basic cost of living associated with American soil. 

How Expensive is the USA when Compared to the UK, Canada, Australia?

This is a very important question to answer in this article, and that’s why it’s coming right away. 

A rough chart comparing the cost of living in the US compared to that of UK, Canada, and Australia can be represented by the table below: 

Cost of living for single (USD) – without rent 

Monthly rent for 1-bedroom apartment 

Average monthly Salary after tax (USD)

United States




United Kingdom












Living Expense in USA

The cost of living in the US is around $10,000 to $18,000 in a year, this is just a rough estimate. In a month, this averages like $1,000 to $1,500. Note that this living cost includes the amount you will spend on accommodation, food, travel, course materials like textbooks, clothing and even entertainment.
The most expensive cities in the United States include New York, San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles. 
However, well known places with reasonable life expenditure also exist, with Oklahoma and Cincinnati being notable examples. The cost of living in these cities is much lower than the average cost in other larger cities. Mississippi is the cheapest state to stay in the United States. 
Living in cities is definitely going to be expensive. Nonetheless, you can stay away from exorbitant city life by considering the option of staying in the suburbs.

What is the Cost of Buying an Apartment in the USA?

If you are moving to the USA with your family members, you may think of settling for an apartment. This, however, has to do with how financially strong you are. 
Below, we sampled out the average cost of procuring an apartment in the United States. 

Buying an Apartment in City Centre (Price per Square Meter)

Buying an Apartment Outside of Centre (Price per Square Meter)

3,542.13 $

2,117.94 $

Healthcare and Dental Costs in the USA

Health, they say, is wealth. No matter where you intend to stay in the USA, having health insurance remains vital. Having an insurance or private healthcare savings gives you the privilege to enjoy world-class US healthcare systems. 
However, if you are not able to pay the bills, the level of health you will receive will be highly substandard.  It is important to have savings or insurance because it will save you a lot of cost in the case of emergencies. 
The table below gives you a summary of the cost associated with your health, in the USA.

Healthcare service

Average cost to you

Family doctor check-up


Cold medicine for 6 days


Antibiotic prescription


What is the Cost of Education in the USA?

Education is generally expensive in the USA. However, public and private institutions have different price structures. Despite all the cost, some private educational establishments offer some form of financial support to students from low income families.  
Let’s have a quick chart of the average costs of education in the USA.


Average cost

Preschool / kindergarten (monthly fee)


Private school for lower grades (annual)


University tuition (for four year Public universities)

Annual average for state residents $9,400, for out of state expect averages up to $24,930

University tuition (for four year Private Universities)

Annual average of $36,700

Estimated Cost of Living in the USA for Students 

Student life in the US can be hard especially for international students if they don’t know how to manage their living expenses. Well, everything is based on planning. If you plan these costs ahead of time, you will be able to live comfortably in the US.
The table below gives the estimated cost of living in the USA based on different expenses: 


Average Yearly / Monthly cost

Books and study material

$900 – $2,000 per year


$300 – $700 per year


$9,800 – $11,100 per year


$100 – $150 per month


On campus: $250 per month

Off-campus: $400 – $600 per month

Phone subscription

$50 per month

Home Internet

$45 – $50 per month

Health Insurance

$700 – $1,100 per year


$500 per year

Water, Trash and Sewer

$50 – $75 per month

However, you should not that these costs vary depending on the state which you are residing in. 

How Much is Travel and Transportation in the USA?

It is normal to have a private car in the USA. In fact, having a private car is more economical within and outside most city centers in the USA. 
But if you are living large cities, the reverse is the case. Imagine you find yourself in a New York City with your small Volkswagen! Transportation in the large cities can be tricky, public transport is the best because it is extensive and easy to navigate.
The table below gives summarized figures on the costs associated with travel and transportation in the USA. 

Transportation and vehicle prices for the USA

Average cost⁷

Gasoline (1 liter / 0.25 gallon)


Monthly bus/transport pass


Bus ticket, single use


Taxi tariff, 1km journey


Toyota Corolla, new


VW Golf, new


Is the USA a Good Place to Live?

Throughout history, the United States attracted many immigrants due to the immense opportunity the country presents. Little wonder, a lot of people still make the leap, and relocate to the USA for life. 
Whatever the case may be, the US is a good place whether you are moving permanently, or moving for a few months to years on your exploration pursuits. 


The United States of America is undoubtedly a good destination to visit due to the immense opportunity that the country presents. However, life in the US can be expensive especially for foreign nationals. What is important, if you have made up your mind on moving to the US, is to do proper research on the cost of living. This article has done justice to that.
But before you move, it is advisable that you make sure you have enough savings to cater for your stay for at least one year, before things get straight for you on American soil. 


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