Los Angeles is the third most expensive city in the US, after New York and San Francisco. Globally, LA is ranked 18th out of 209 cities in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2019. Therefore, those moving to Los Angeles should make sure that they're well compensated by their employer to offset the high cost of living.

Expats living in Los Angeles will find that there are plenty of opportunities to keep themselves busy. Some of the pricier pursuits include attending events, enjoying the city's nightlife and indulging in some fantastic cuisine. On the other hand, many LA residents enjoy partaking in sports and outdoor activities, which are generally free or low cost. Ultimately, an individual's lifestyle will have a significant impact on their cost of living.

Cost of accommodation in Los Angeles

Rent will be the biggest expense for new arrivals, though the cost can vary greatly depending on where one chooses to live. However, much of the accommodation available in Los Angeles tends to be on the luxurious end of the spectrum, with a price tag to match.

Many younger expats opt to live in less established neighbourhoods. More affordable accommodation can be found in these areas and there are also lots of house-share accommodation options available, which allow tenants to save money by sharing household expenses.

Cost of eating out and entertainment in Los Angeles

An individual’s cost of living in LA will be very much affected by their lifestyle choices. There's no shortage of entertainment options in Los Angeles, but being out and about in the city doesn’t come cheap.

LA has a wealth of dining options and there will be lots of opportunities to try eclectic new cuisines. However, eating out in the city can become quite expensive, and therefore those on a budget will have to plan accordingly. There are cheap eats to be found at local haunts around the city; new arrivals will just need to spend some time exploring and asking around in order to find them. 

Cost of healthcare in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has some of the most advanced healthcare facilities in the US. However, such high-quality care is extremely expensive so expats should make sure that they’ve invested in a comprehensive health insurance policy.

Cost of education in Los Angeles

Many expat families in Los Angeles choose to send their children to private or international schools. While it's possible for expats to access LA public schools at no cost, many bypass this option in favour of continuing with the curriculum of their home country at an international school.

When it comes to public schools, charter and magnet schools are good options but competition for places can be tough and many operate long waiting lists. However, once this hurdle is overcome, parents won't have to worry about paying school fees.

Cost of transport in Los Angeles

While Los Angeles does have a public transport network, it isn't as comprehensive as the systems in other US cities. Still, using public transport is cost effective and it can be particularly useful for getting around the city centre of LA.  

The majority of people in LA choose to drive their own car. The cost of a private vehicle is an expense that anyone moving to Los Angeles should budget for. Drivers will also need to budget for the expenses associated with maintaining a vehicle, the cost of car insurance, parking fees and the cost of petrol.

Cost of living in Los Angeles chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for April 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 3,000 - 4,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 2,000 - 2,800

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,200 - 2,500

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,500 - 1,800


Eggs (dozen)

USD 3.50

Milk (1 litre)


Rice (1kg)

USD 4.20

Loaf of white bread

USD 3.30

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 12

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 10

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 2.30



Bottle of local beer


Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant

USD 75


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)  

USD 0.20

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 60

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 140


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.80

Bus/train fare in the city centre


Petrol/gasoline (per litre)


Expat Health Insurance


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