Cost of Living in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles is the third most expensive city in the US, after New York and San Francisco. Globally, LA is ranked 23rd out of 209 cities in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2017. Therefore, those moving to Los Angeles should make sure that they're appropriately 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. They can attend events, enjoy the city's nightlife and indulge in some great 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 an expat’s biggest expense, 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 expat’s cost of living will depend on their lifestyle. 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 expats will have 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; expats will just need to know where 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

The majority of expat families in Los Angeles choose to send their children to private or international schools. While it is possible for expats to access LA public schools at no cost, many people bypass this option as standards tend to be low in many cases. Charter and magnet schools are good options, but competition for places can be tough and many operate long waiting lists.

Cost of transport in Los Angeles

While Los Angeles does have a public transport network, it is not as comprehensive as the systems in other US cities. 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 any expat moving to Los Angeles should budget for. Expat 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 March 2018.


Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 3,600

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 2,700

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,600


Eggs (dozen)


Milk (1 litre)


Rice (1kg)

USD 4.80

Loaf of white bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 10

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)


Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)



USD 4.50

Bottle of local beer


Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant

USD 60


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)  

USD 0.30

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 60

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 150


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.70

Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 1.75

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.85

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