What is the Average Cost of Living in China?


The cost of living has increased in various regions throughout all the segments, thanks to China's fast economic growth. When it comes to living in China, the cost of life can differ significantly from bustling metropolises such as Shanghai and Beijing all the way down to China's more relaxed southwestern cities like Chengdu depending on location, lifestyle and individual spending habits.

Differences in Living Costs by Region

The cost of living in Beijing, Shanghai can be on the higher side as these cities have expensive housing and capital attractions for foreign business. On top of that, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 USD per month - without rent - when living by yourself in some of these cities. These top-tier cities have between $600 to $1,200 USD per month for a 1-bedroom in the city center.

Conversely, in small cities and rural areas - costs are far lower. Xi'an, Kunming...these cities have much lower costs of living ($500-$700/month excluding rent). Rent for at these places can go from $200 to $400 USD on the same place.

Typical Cost To Live Breakdown

So in this post, we try to break down things and answer the question of how expensive it is living in China by categories.

Accommodation: Rent is the largest variable and these costs change with location as premium sites do attract a hefty price tag. The cost of utilities is another expense in living prices, and the monthly electric bills with heating or cooling are around $50 to $100.00 USD also...

Food and Groceries: Meals are very cheap in China It can be somewhere between $3 to $7 USD for a meal in an average restaurant, and is also possible that there are places where you could buy up to 1 week's worth of food spending something like from 20$-50$ depending on your dietary habits and local foods prices.

MOVEMENT AND TRANSPORT Public transportation is so cheap in china suited to everyone. Bus and subway monthly passes runs about $15 to $30 USD. Alternatively, taxis and ride-hailing services will charge about $1.5 USD with an additional 30 to 50 cents per km.

Healthcare: The costs of healthcare in China differ. Public hospital services do not cost so much, but expatriates sometimes prefer private healthcare which is priced a bit high.

Education: Fees for international education are considerable, costing from around $10-30k USD per year and up depending on the institution.


It depends on a number of variables such as the city you go, your lifestyle and personal requirements. Beijing and Shanghai, as two international cities, with an equally high cost of living from a global point of view. In the meantime, smaller towns may give a private lifestyle keeping free way of life however there are generously many costs for enjoy and social activities. This is important information for any expatriate travelling to or living in China - so be it on a permanent, casual basis.

cost to live in China

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