The cost of living in Boston is high, and new arrivals should prepare their budgets carefully to avoid any nasty surprises. In Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2021, Boston was listed as the 50th most expensive expat destination out of 209 cities, down from 41st. 

Employment packages may include some contribution toward accommodation (usually an expat's biggest expense) and health insurance. Nonetheless, it's important that new arrivals are aware of the expenses that they are likely to incur before negotiating their salary.

Cost of accommodation in Boston

Accommodation is likely to be the largest expense for those moving to Boston. As there is a high demand for accommodation in Boston, rental costs are expensive. Tenants often need to pay their first month's rent as well as a security deposit to secure their lease. This, combined with rental agency fees, means that new arrivals need to budget for high initial accommodation costs.

Cost of eating out and entertainment in Boston

There is much to see and do in Boston, but recreational pursuits aren't cheap. Since Boston is considerably smaller than many other cities in the US, there is less competition between businesses so eating out and entertainment costs remain high. That said, expats on a budget who spend smartly can live comfortably while still enjoying the city.

Cost of transport in Boston

Thankfully, those moving to Boston wouldn't need to invest in their own car as the city has a reasonably-priced, comprehensive and efficient public transport network. Boston is also fairly bicycle-friendly for those wanting to commute by bike.

Cost of education in Boston

Education in Boston is of a high calibre. The city is home to some of the country's top public schools, and expat children are eligible to attend free of charge. On the other hand, fees for private and international schools can be exceptionally steep, and expats planning on taking this route should try to negotiate the inclusion of fees into their relocation contract.

Cost of living in Boston chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Boston in February 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,600

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 2,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 4,600

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 3,000


Eggs (dozen)

USD 2.55

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.90

Rice (1kg)

USD 4.80

Loaf of bread

USD 3.50

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 11

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 13

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

USD 10

Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 2.40


USD 4.70

Local beer (500ml)


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 85


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.08

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 64

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 195


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.85

Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 2.45

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.76

Expat Health Insurance

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For anyone starting a new life abroad, ensuring access to good quality healthcare is essential. Cigna Global are specialists in providing international health plans for expats, ensuring you have access to quality care and support whenever you need it. Cigna’s health plans can be tailored exactly to meet the individual needs of you and your family.

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