San Jose is an expensive place to live, with the overall cost of living sitting at around 49 percent higher than the national average. That said, most residents say it's well worth the price for the gorgeous weather, safe neighbourhoods and endless activities the city offers.

Cost of accommodation in San Jose

Accommodation is incredibly expensive in San Jose, as are utilities. Attracted by Silicon Valley, the city's population is growing, causing the demand for housing to increase and prices to skyrocket.

Therefore, new arrivals in San Jose should be prepared to pay sky-high prices for accommodation throughout the city. That said, there are neighbourhoods that, while they may not be considered cheap, are more affordable than others.

Cost of transport in San Jose

Although San Jose has an extensive public transport system that will get new arrivals anywhere they need to go in the city, fares are relatively expensive. Owning a car is also expensive in San Jose if taking into account all the costs involved, such as fuel, insurance and maintenance. Parking is also costly in the city, and in some cases, it may actually be cheaper to use Uber instead of driving and paying for parking for an entire day.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in San Jose

While new arrivals will certainly find fine dining restaurants that charge a fortune for a meal in San Jose, eating out is something that can be done on a budget. Some restaurants in San Jose tend to offer similar or even somewhat lower prices to many major global cities. There are also tons of different types of food on offer, with some restaurants being more budget-friendly than others.

There are plenty of opportunities to spend money at San Jose's malls and eclectic nightlife spots, but there are also humble live music bars, clubs, museums and comedy venues for new arrivals from all walks of life to enjoy. As a city in the beautiful sunny State of California, San Jose's lifestyle prioritises outdoor activities, which usually cost little to no fees. 

Cost of groceries in San Jose

Grocery costs in San Jose are 21 percent higher than the national average, making them fairly costly. New arrivals can reduce their monthly grocery bills by buying in bulk, shopping at budget supermarkets and only purchasing produce that is in season. 

Newcomers who can stretch their budgets and are looking for a wider product selection can look at high-end grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Draeger's Market and Heartland. These stores typically sell organic and speciality goods at a premium. 

Cost of healthcare in San Jose

While the standard of healthcare in San Jose is exceptional, it's expensive to access. New arrivals who do not have their healthcare taken care of by their employers will likely need to secure comprehensive health insurance. The cost of health insurance will vary between individuals based on age, existing medical conditions and lifestyle habits. Generally, the older one is, the pricier the medical insurance policy will be. 

Cost of education in San Jose

Public education in San Jose is free for all to attend, but admission is based on catchment areas. The better-resourced and staffed public schools in the city are located in the upmarket suburbs, so parents looking at this option may have to secure accommodation in these areas. 

There are also private and international schools available. Private schools typically have a religious affiliation and their own curriculum and set of admission requirements. Similar to private schools, international schools often teach globally recognised curricula and have excellent facilities, but this comes at a high cost. Parents opting to send their children to private or international schools should budget for the fees, uniforms, excursions and extracurricular activities. 

Cost of living in the USA chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for San Jose in August 2023.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,800

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 2,400

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 4,800

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 4,000


Eggs (dozen)

USD 5.73

Milk (1 litre)

USD 1.29

Rice (1kg)

USD 5.08

Loaf of white bread

USD 4.89

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 13.47

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 11

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

USD 11

Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 2.61


USD 5.49

Local beer (500ml)


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

USD 100


Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and data

USD 43

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

USD 94

Basic monthly utilities (includes electricity, water and refuse)

USD 270


Taxi rate per km

USD 2.02

Public transport ticket

USD 2.50

Gasoline/petrol (per litre)

USD 1.34

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