Cost of Living in the USA Part I

California or New York, Minnesota or Michigan – if you want to spend a semester abroad in the USA or complete a degree in the USA, you have a variety of study locations to choose from. A comparison of the cost of living in the United States can help you make a decision. In fact, the cost of food, lodging, and other everyday necessities in the United States varies from state to state.

From a purely statistical point of view, according to a study by the World Bank, Americans live cheaper than in Germany (-12%, based on price levels). However, the actual cost of living in the US depends on where you study, where you live, where you live, and your individual lifestyle. It is advisable to budget at least US $ 1200 – US $ 1500 per month for living expenses.

Living in the US – Cost of Rent and Housing

A room in a student residence, a private flat share or a room with a host family? Students have a choice of different types of housing when they want to study in the United States.

Living in a dormitory on the US campus

Many US universities have the option of a dorm room (Dormitory) to rent. The following applies: The closer the dormitory is to the campus, the higher the rent is usually. At first glance, the costs for a room in the dorm seem high. However, when calculating the cost of living in the USA, students should keep in mind that students in the dormitory usually do not incur any additional costs for electricity, gas or Internet access.

In addition, many universities offer so-called meal plans. This means that some students can eat as often as they want on campus. The costs are often included in the semester fee. This means that living in a shared apartment is not necessarily cheaper and the bottom line is that it can even result in higher costs of living in the USA. Learn more about USA and North America on oxfordastronomy.

Some universities require freshmen in the undergraduate area to live on-campus and use the on-campus catering options. Graduate students, on the other hand, are often free to choose where they live and eat.

Living in a shared apartment

Many students see a flat share as a comfortable and affordable alternative to a room in a student residence. In fact, living in a WG may vary expensive, because the rents to local conditions addressed.

For example, students pay around US $ 700 – US $ 900 per month for a room in a shared apartment in San Francisco. In contrast, US $ 900 – US $ 1500 monthly rent for a room in downtown New York is not uncommon. However, the same applies to New York as to all other large cities: If you are willing to live outside, you can save a lot of money on the cost of living in the USA.

In the case of a room in a shared apartment, students should also bear in mind that, in addition to the rent, there are additional costs for electricity and gas and possibly costs for Internet access. In addition, there are costs for daily meals, which are often included in the total price in the student dormitory and with a host family.

Tenants usually register electricity and gas themselves with the local electricity and gas supplier. The meter readings are usually read once a month, with payments made every two months or quarterly.

Homestay: living with a host family

Students who spend a semester abroad in the USA and who value getting to know the Real American Way of Life are in good hands with a host family. Homestay programs are often offered in combination with meal plans, so that living costs can also be saved with this type of living:

  • Homestay including two meals
  • Homestay with breakfast or dinner
  • Homestay without meals. Students can prepare their own meals in the kitchen.

Even with homestay programs, the costs vary depending on where you live and where you live. In Seattle, for example, students pay around US $ 800 per month for Homestay with Meals, in San Diego around US $ 900 per month and in New York from US $ 1500 per month. Those who live with a host family are usually not required to pay additional fees for electricity, gas or internet use. It can therefore be worthwhile to compare the different types of housing and the cost of living.

Average monthly rental costs Average monthly electricity and gas costs Average monthly internet costs (flat rate)
Student residence (1 room on campus) US $ 900-1100 Usually included Usually included
Shared apartment (3-room apartment) US $ 450-600 Part of the total amount of US $ 100-175 Part of the total amount of US $ 30-50
Host family US $ 550-1000 Usually included Usually included

Transportation costs in the USA

Any transport costs incurred must also be taken into account when calculating the cost of living in the USA. In large metropolitan areas, students can usually get from A to B without any problems using public transport. A monthly pass costs an average of $ US 50 – 70. In some cases there is also a discount for students.

Due to the fact that many suburbs and smaller cities in the US have poor transportation networks, the car is the most popular mode of transport. Many international students therefore buy a used car from other students in order to sell it again before they finish their studies. At an average of US $ 0.70 – 0.90 per liter, fuel costs in the USA are lower than in Germany.

Even taxis are a common means of transport in the United States, above all in the big cities. The Yellow Cabs from New York are known worldwide. There is usually a fixed base amount of around US $ 2.50 for a taxi ride. Add to that US $ 1.50 – 2 per mile. There is a surcharge for luggage. A tip of 10% to 15% is also common.

For students who want to cover longer distances in the USA, there are domestic flights due to time constraints. But buying a plane ticket can also be financially worthwhile. Good offers are regularly available from airlines such as Delta Air Lines or JetBlue Airways.

Cost of Living in the USA Part I