The River City, with its strategic East Coast location, embodies a delightful paradox; it’s a city where the economy thrives and the cultural scene buzzes, yet the cost of living in Richmond remains appealingly low. The city’s offerings are manifold, extending from the charm of historical sites to the modernity of its entertainment venues.

As more individuals are drawn to its balance of urban sophistication and affordability, Richmond’s low cost of living, coupled with its burgeoning economy, presents an enticing proposition for both newcomers and long-term residents.

As in most cities, the most significant portion of a Richmonder’s salary will likely go to accommodation, transport and utilities.

Cost of accommodation in Richmond

Richmond boasts various accommodation options, from inner-city apartments and condos to suburban Cape Cod-style mansions, rowhouses and cottages. New arrivals will undoubtedly find something to their style and liking – and at a reasonable price too. Rental costs here are low compared to the US average. Thanks to the influx of new residents, which increases housing demand, plus the incline of the city’s economy, purchasing a house in Richmond is considered a solid investment.

Utilities are another expense new arrivals must account for over and above their monthly rental fees. Fortunately, the cost of utilities is also below the US average, so newcomers can often lead a better quality of life than they did in their home state or country.

Cost of transport in Richmond

Public transport in Richmond is relatively affordable compared to other East Coast cities. But, given that Richmond’s public transport infrastructure is limited outside of downtown and central areas, most Richmonders choose to purchase a vehicle. Driving isn’t cheap considering the purchase, maintenance, gas (petrol) and insurance as well as parking costs, but those who choose to live in Richmond’s suburbs will have no choice but to budget for these costs.

Cost of groceries in Richmond

The cost of groceries in Richmond tends to lean towards the moderate side, especially when placed in juxtaposition with larger East Coast cities. The city’s markets offer a decent variety of fresh produce, meats, and other staples, making it easy for residents to find what they need without having to stretch their wallets too thin.

The presence of both high-end grocery stores and budget-friendly supermarkets allows individuals to choose where to shop based on their financial comfort zone. Moreover, the farmers’ markets scattered across the city provide an avenue for those looking to support local businesses and snag fresh, organic goods at competitive prices.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Richmond

Entertainment costs come down to lifestyle and preference. Richmond is home to numerous theatres, galleries and live music venues. The entry fees and ticket prices are typically lower than what one might encounter in larger metropolitan areas. Free or low-cost community events, outdoor activities, and the city’s rich historical sites provide additional avenues for entertainment. The James River, with its walking trails and water activities, is a treasure for those who appreciate nature’s allure.

Richmond’s culinary scene is burgeoning, with a plethora of eateries ranging from humble food trucks to sophisticated dining establishments. The cost of eating out is reasonable, and one can enjoy a hearty meal without feeling the pinch too much. Richmond’s eateries offer a smorgasbord of culinary delights, yet they don’t demand an exorbitant price for a great meal.

Cost of education in Richmond

Public education in Richmond doesn’t cost a cent, aside from buying stationery and the like. Admission to schools is based on catchment areas, so parents must carefully consider their choice of an area or suburb, as not all public schools in Richmond are of a good standard.

Parents can also choose from several private schools in Richmond, which aren’t bound by zoning regulations but come with steep tuition fees, not to mention myriad extra costs such as uniforms, field trips and books. These schools may be associated with high tuition fees, but they often offer exceptional standards and a wider slate of extracurricular activities than their public school counterparts. 

Cost of healthcare in Richmond

For those who can afford it, the standard of healthcare in Richmond is world-class. For patients without insurance, healthcare can be mediocre at best and inaccessible at worst. Major traumas can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and although everyone is legally entitled to emergency services, patients can typically expect to pay hefty fees subsequently.

Therefore, we recommend that newcomers and expats invest in a good health insurance policy. This comes at a hefty price, though, so we advise that employees negotiate for a healthcare subsidy before starting their new job. 

The cost of health insurance will depend on several factors. These include coverage level, age, health conditions and lifestyle habits, so new arrivals should consider their healthcare needs carefully to ensure they get the best cover at the most affordable rate for them.

Cost of living in Richmond chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for October 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreUSD 2,500
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreUSD 2,200
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreUSD 1,610
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreUSD 1,390
Food and drink
Dozen eggsUSD 6
Milk (1 litre)USD 1.13
Rice (1kg)USD 4
Loaf of white breadUSD 3
Chicken breasts (1kg)USD 7
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)USD 8
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantUSD 75
Big Mac MealUSD 11
Coca-Cola (330ml)USD 2.32
CappuccinoUSD 5
Bottle of beer (local)USD 3
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)USD 0.18
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)USD 32
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)USD 203
Taxi rate/kmUSD 1.55
City-centre public transport fareUSD 1.75
Gasoline (per litre)USD 0.93

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance

Cigna Global Health Insurance.

Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

  • Comprehensive Family coverage, wherever you go
  • Paediatric coverage for well-child visits & immunizations
  • Access to dental and orthodontic care
  • 24/7 multilingual Customer Service

Get a quote from Cigna Global

Moving Internationally?

Sirelo logo

International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.

Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Get your free no-obligation quotes from select removal companies now!