Is it Cheaper to Live in China or the US?

When considering an international transfer, most individuals look first at the cost of living and the quality of life there. After all, trips and extended stays may quickly add up without careful planning and preparation. Many people, therefore, consider the expense of living in China or the United States while planning a lengthy vacation abroad. Nonetheless, the issue of which nation provides the most bang for the buck still remains. Which country, China or the United States, offers lower living costs on average?

In this article, we'll evaluate how much it costs to maintain a similar standard of living in China and the United States, accounting for differences in housing, transportation, food, healthcare, and entertainment.

Comparing Housing Costs

Comparing home costs in China and the United States is a good indicator of overall living costs in both countries. Costs of renting in the United States are often out of reach for most people. Renting a two-bedroom in Los Angeles, the second most expensive city in the world, will set you back a median of $2,925 a month, as reported by CNBC. One year's rent would cost you $34,100.

In contrast, the cost of a home in China is far cheaper. CNY 4,740 (or around $702) is the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in a big city like Beijing. The yearly rent is just $8,424, which is roughly four times cheaper than in the United States.

Simply said, if you're trying to save money on housing, China is probably your best chance.

Transportation Costs in China and the US

Depending on where you live, transportation expenses might range widely. In the United States, the price of public transportation may vary widely; for example, a monthly unlimited Metrocard in New York City costs $127, whereas a monthly ticket on the bus in Detroit costs just $66.

Most forms of public transportation in China are quite cheap. On average, a taxi journey in Beijing will set you back around CNY16 (about $2.3). A monthly bus and subway pass costs just CNY40 ($5.8) for individuals who are eager to use public transit.

Similarly, gasoline is substantially less expensive in China than in the United States. Now, a gallon of gas in the United States costs around $2.71, but in China it costs just about $2.10.

All things considered, China may be the superior alternative if you're trying to save money on shipping fees.

Food Costs in China and the US

The cost of food and groceries in China and the US can also vary widely. Generally speaking, food in the US is more expensive than in China, with the average cost of groceries being around $8.25 per person per day. In China however, this cost is only around $3.10.

The cost of dining out also tends to be cheaper in China. In the US, the average cost of a three-course meal - including an appetizer, main course and dessert - is typically around $30-50. In China however, this cost is usually between CNY¥80 and CNY¥100 ($11.5 to $14.5).

Ultimately, if you’re looking to save a few bucks on food and groceries, China is your best bet.

Healthcare Costs in China and the US

When comparing the two countries, it is also useful to look at the price of healthcare. Healthcare is often considered to be among the most expensive services available in the United States. In 2019, the typical American spent $10,739 on healthcare each year, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Healthcare in China is far less expensive than in the West. A luxurious hospital room in Shanghai may cost approximately CNY800 ($113.7) per day, while a one-hour appointment with a doctor at a top hospital in Beijing costs on average around CNY140 ($19.9)

Overall, China may be the best alternative if you want to avoid paying exorbitant prices for medical services.

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