Los Angeles is the third most expensive city in the US, after New York and San Francisco. Globally, LA is ranked 11th out of 227 cities in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2023. If you're moving to Los Angeles, you should make sure you're well compensated by your employer to offset the high cost of living.

New arrivals 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 in cost. Ultimately, your lifestyle will have a significant impact on your cost of living.

Cost of accommodation in Los Angeles

Rent will be your most considerable expense in LA, although the cost can vary greatly depending on where you choose to live. That said, 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 new arrivals opt to live in less established neighbourhoods. You can find more affordable accommodation in these areas, and there are also lots of house-share accommodation options available, which can allow you to save money by sharing household expenses.

Cost of transport in Los Angeles

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

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, though limited, it can be useful for getting around the city centre of LA.

Cost of groceries in Los Angeles

Residents of Los Angeles face a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing their grocery bills. The city's vibrant culinary scene and diverse population contribute to a wide variety of food options, but this diversity is also reflected in the cost of groceries. Consequently, you will need to carefully plan your grocery shopping to balance nutrition with budgetary constraints.

To mitigate these costs, many residents make use of local farmers' markets, which offer fresh produce at competitive prices, and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programmes. These alternatives provide cost savings and support local farmers and promote sustainability.

Cost of eating out and entertainment in Los Angeles

Your cost of living in LA will be very much affected by your 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 plenty of opportunities to try eclectic new cuisines. Eating out in the city can become expensive, though, so if you're on a budget, you will have to plan accordingly. There are cheap eats to be found at local haunts around the city; you'll just need to spend some time exploring and asking around to find them. 

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 you to access LA public schools at no cost, you might opt to bypass this option in favour of continuing with the curriculum of your 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. Once this hurdle is overcome, though, you won't have to worry about paying school fees.

Cost of healthcare in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has some of the most advanced healthcare facilities in the US, but such high-quality care is extremely expensive. Investing in a comprehensive health insurance policy is therefore a must.

Cost of living in Los Angeles chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for April 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreUSD 4,900
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreUSD 3,850
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreUSD 2,600
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreUSD 2,150
Food and drink
Dozen eggsUSD 5.80
Milk (1 litre)USD 1.30
Rice (1kg)USD 6.10
Loaf of white breadUSD 5.45
Chicken breasts (1kg)USD 4.85
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)USD 12.35
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantUSD 125
Big Mac MealUSD 11.45
Coca-Cola (330ml)USD 2.80
CappuccinoUSD 5.55
Bottle of beer (local)USD 4.40
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)USD 0.50
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)USD 55
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)USD 230
Taxi rate/kmUSD 1.75
City-centre public transport fareUSD 1.80
Gasoline (per litre)USD 1.35

Expat Health Insurance

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