What Is the Cost of Living in the UK Vs. the US in 2024?

8th February 2024

With the rise of remote work opportunities, many people choose to live in different countries to explore the world and try themselves in various environments. Among a list of 195 countries, numerous individuals regularly decide to move to the United Kingdom and the United States. Why are these honestly costly destinations so popular, and what is the cost of living in the UK vs. the US in 2024? Keep reading to learn which of the two countries is less and more expensive.

Overview of the UK and USA Cost of Living

While a lot of UK residents move to the USA in pursuit of the American dream, it is essential to mention that the living expenses in the United Kingdom are generally lower than in the U.S.

In the ranking of countries on the cost of living index in 2024 made by Numbeo, the United States ranks 11th with an index of 75,5, while the United Kingdom takes 26th position with an index of 64,5.

Living in the U.S. comes with high prices for various services, and people often use small loans, such as a $500 loan, to cover unforeseen expenses. Many lenders allow borrowers to get funded within one business day, which is especially appreciated by applicants. Unexpected medical procedures, car or home repairs, and too-high utility bills typically serve as the main reasons Americans apply for financial assistance.

Living Cheaply in the UK and the US: What Places to Choose?

Like in other countries, the overall cost of living in the US and UK differs depending on the region. People usually spend higher sums in major cities, so New York is the most expensive city in America, and London is the most costly in the United Kingdom. On the list of the most expensive cities to live in, New York ranks 2nd, while London finds itself in the top 10 cities with the 12th place.

Although smaller cities and towns often don’t offer the same opportunities as bigger ones, they generally have cheaper groceries, lower property prices, healthcare costs, and the overall cost of living.

For example, instead of overpaying for apartments in downtown New York or San Francisco, you can choose smaller cities with a cheaper cost of living, like Victoria, Lubbock, Green Bay, or El Paso. In the case of the UK, you can consider Swansea, Dundee, Aberdeen, or Shildon.

Cost of Living in the UK Vs. the US

To compare the cost of living between the two nations, it is crucial to take into account several expenses, including public transportation, food, medical care, accommodation, utilities, etc.

Housing Costs

Accommodation is the biggest expense item for all UK and US residents. However, in the United Kingdom, housing is generally cheaper than in America. According to Rightmove, the national average monthly rent in the UK in the first quarter of 2023, excluding Greater London, is £1,190pm ($1,502). In Greater London, this amount more than doubles to a whopping £2,501 pm ($3,158).

The average rent for an apartment in the U.S. is $1,702. The cost of rent varies depending on several factors, including location, size, and quality. In New York, average rent prices are around $2,639 per month.

Utility Costs

The average price of housing is affected not only by the rent costs but also by utilities. When setting a budget for your accommodation, always consider funds for utility bills. Here, the expenses are higher in the UK compared to the U.S. While in the first case, you can count on $3,156 yearly, in the second one, it will be nearly $2,904.

Transportation Costs

While life in the UK is generally cheaper than in America, US residents have more affordable public transport, petrol, and vehicles. While a single-journey bus ticket in the United States costs $2,50, in the United Kingdom, this sum reaches $3,01, which is 20.4% more expensive.

The difference in the petrol prices is much more significant, with 88% more expensive gasoline in the UK.

Healthcare System

Differences in medical care play an important role in comparing healthcare systems in the UK and the US. United Kingdom residents can easily access various social services and get free medical assistance free of charge through the National Health Service (NHS). In contrast, the US healthcare system is considered one of the most expensive ones in the world.

The American system is entirely privately operated, which means you have to pay for all the procedures. Having health insurance can help people avoid unaffordable costs, but currently, the demand for insurance has significantly risen. So, its monthly cost is around $560.


According to the weekly spending on groceries in the two countries, food costs in the UK are nearly 20% higher than in the US. While an average American family spends $257 per week on food, in the UK, this sum reaches $346. Although the overall cost of living in the UK is lower, they tend to spend more on food than Americans.

However, the prices depend on the chosen products. While rice, bread, fruits, and vegetables are typically cheaper in the UK, the British tend to pay more than Americans for eggs, milk, and chicken breasts.

The Bottom Line: Is America Cheaper than the UK?

While the cost of living in the UK vs. the U.S. can vary depending on the specific region, with New York and London being the most expensive cities, the consumer prices in America are generally higher than in Great Britain. At the same time, you should not forget that the average monthly salary in the U.S. is higher by nearly 42%. Of course, living in the city center of the two states comes with spending more money on rent. If you want to save, consider an apartment on the outskirts.


How do Americans afford their high cost of living?

While the cost of living in the U.S. is really high, it is important to remember that the salaries in the country are also high. The average salary nationwide is $59,428, while in the UK, this sum is $42,173.

What’s the average price per square foot in the U.S.?

The average price per square foot for housing sales in the United States is $221, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The average cost for one square foot of property in the UK is currently £331 ($418), but in inner London, the figure rises to £724 (914).

Which country should I choose for immigration: UK Vs. US?

Before choosing a country for immigration, make sure to consult with expert immigration lawyers who will help you to make the right decision based on your personal situation. While the UK tends to be a less costly place than the U.S., the salaries in America are higher due to the high cost of living. With the cost of living calculator, you can understand how much your life will cost in a specific country.