How Much Does It Cost to Live In China?

No matter if you are a young college graduate looking for and dreaming of having a good lifestyle or you are a person in want of a fun neighborhood in a cool city, China might be your option.

Certain lifestyles can be expensive, especially living in a major city, but earning a salary that enables a great lifestyle is possible here.

The country is huge and it is practically impossible to answer this question how much you would need to lead a decent life here, but some data might be worth considering.

Cost of Living Index:

China : Cost of Living by City



China has to offer a variety of food options and the majority of restaurants sell the local food at very affordable prices.

You can choose between a family restaurant which is cheaper and high-priced restaurants for those more wealthy citizens.

No matter if the food is cheap, it will definitely take the most of your monthly budget.



If you are a savvy person, you would not mind checking out the local market in your neighborhood so as to find inexpensive food.

Fruits, vegetables, and little snacks are more affordable here than in larger supermarkets, where the prices are higher, but still quite reasonable.



On the whole, you will not have to pay a lot for transportation in China, due to the fact that the monthly pass is less than $20.

You can choose efficient buses or metro services to commute to work which only costs $0.30 per ride.



China is such a great country when it comes to utilities prices.

Actually, there is almost nowhere in the world where you can find such a developed country with so affordable service prices.

The Internet access is less than $15, per month, while for all the other utilities you will need around $50.

Sports and leisure


The leisure time is very important in China and going to the spa or getting a massage is very frequent.

They also pay attention to the healthy lifestyle, so give pretty much money on sports.

The fitness club passes are affordable, as well as the tennis court rents.

Clothing and shoes


China is famous for low cost clothing available all over the world.

If you buy that kind of apparel, you would not need much money, and that might be the reason why Chinese people spend more on clothes than on the utilities.

When designer clothes are in question, they are more expensive, but still not as in some European or American countries.

Rent per month


Wherever in the world you go, the rent will be your greatest cost.

The majority of people experience the same situation in their home countries, but it is worth noting that even though it is the biggest expense, the cost to rent an apartment in China’s major cities is quite lower than in some small towns in the USA.

Cost of Living Averages Table for China

Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant) $3.28
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter) $0.89
Water (0.33 Liter) $0.31
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter) $7.18
Loaf Bread (500g) $1.38
Eggs (12) $1.70
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket $0.30
Monthly Pass $17.89
Gasoline $3.97
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling) $53.17
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local $0.03
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $14.94
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $37.52
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour) $11.11
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release $7.45
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable) $60.18
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...) $36.22
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range) $87.88
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center $541.51
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center $312.19
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center $1215.00

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in China?

How available things will be and how high their prices are will very much depend on the size of the city you decide to live in.

Rent is not so expensive here, so it would not take you more than 30% of your monthly salary, while the most of your money will go for food.

Chinese do not spend too much money in restaurants, but they invest a lot in doing sports and having entertainment.

It is interesting to notice that more money is spent on clothes than on utilities in China, which is not the case with other countries.


China: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

As in any country, salaries range widely in China from $200 workers income to over $1000 for the professionals.

It is good to know that many companies might offer a housing besides the salary to their foreigner employees,and make the living situation even better.

If you are thinking of buying a property in China, mortgage interest rates are quite high, above 5%.

So as to save some money on the rent, it is advisable to take an apartment out of the city center, as they are more affordable.

Average Salary$917.87
Minimum Wage$224.7
Mortgage Interest Rate5.04%

Cost of Living by City in China

City Cost of Living Index
Beijing 43.88
Chengdu 36.16
Guangzhou 40.29
Shanghai 50.41
Shenzhen 42.21
Suzhou 37.95

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