Cost of Living in Ethiopia

Ethiopia, the third most populated country in Africa, can surprise you by many things.

It has its own calendar with thirteen months in the year or thirteen months of sunny weather, as tourists say.

The last month is only 5-6 days long while the rest of the months are equal and last for 30 days each.

This is a Christian African country with a long history dating back to the 25th year B.C.

Ethiopia is one of those countries in Africa which do not have the seaports, therefore the international airlines are highly popular here.

They are probably the only way to get in and out of the country.

The airport is located in the capital city Addis Ababa.



Local people are not really eager to visit restaurants and cafes.

According to the statistics, a very low percentage of the salary is spent on eating out.

Although, there are a few restaurants in big cities in Ethiopia, mostly for tourists.

National cuisine excludes pork, so you can try other delicacies like goat meat, lamb or beef which is often raw, by the way.



The largest market in Africa is located in the capital Addis Ababa.

It is spread to a few square kilometers and divides into separate quarters each of them selling specific goods.

You can buy a thousand spices here, but you will not be able to take raw coffee home because the airline officers do not allow doing so.



Besides the airlines in Addis Ababa, the natives use buses to travel around the country.

The mini-buses are also offered but they lack comfort.

The only possible way to see the suburbs and some farther areas is by taxi or a rented car.

If you are looking for kind of an extreme, buy a new car in Ethiopia: Volkswagen  Golf is $60.000, and Toyota Corolla is $38.227 on average.



Since the country is hot and dry, the natives can really save on warm clothes and heating.

Sadly, most of the citizens and rural population are too poor to have any utilities at all.

So they use foreign humanitarian aid to have water supply and decent sanitation.

The prices for the Internet connection sound impossible, $538,75 per month.

Sports and leisure


The leading kind of sports in Ethiopia is, of course, track and field athletics, which are followed by less developed sports like boxing and football.

You have probably heard a lot about the Ethiopian sportsmen who won a lot of gold medals at the Olympics.

Fitness clubs, cinema, and restaurants are available on the territories of the hotels.

Clothing and shoes


Several textile factories in Ethiopia specialize in manufacturing clothes and home textiles.

There are also great fabric shops where you can buy high-quality silk or order to sew clothes exclusively for you.

The salesmen at the markets are polite, smiling and always ready to bargain.

Rent per month


In Ethiopia, you can rent apartments, buildings, offices, houses, stores, and land.

In popular cities like Addis Ababa, Nazret, or Bahr-Dar one-bedroom apartment costs $498.73 in the city center and $288.16 outside the downtown.

3 bedroom apartments in the center cost $2090 on the average.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Ethiopia

Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant) $4.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter) $1.00
Water (0.33 Liter) $0.44
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter) $1.02
Loaf Bread (500g) $0.79
Eggs (12) $1.74
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket $0.30
Monthly Pass $10.00
Gasoline $0.89
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling) $61.63
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local $0.04
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $538.75
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $52.15
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour) $11.13
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release $3.00
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable) $31.83
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...) $146.50
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range) $89.00
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center $498.73
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center $288.16
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center $2090.00

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Ethiopia?

The figures are totally different from what you might see on the statistics and ratings of the European, American or Asia countries.

The Ethiopians are mostly poor, and the feeling of wealth and prosperity are rather appropriate for the hotels, boutiques, and splendid off-beat nature of the region.

Lots of money is given to the monthly rent here, and the rest is divided between markets, transport, bills, recreation, and image.

Only 5.6% of money gets lost in restaurants.

As much as 18.2% of income is set out to pay for the utilities.

Sports and leisure are worth about 5% of the wage.

Utilities (Monthly)
Sports & Leisure
Clothing & Shoes
Rent Per Month

Ethiopia: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

The national minimum wage in Ethiopia is not determined.

Some lowest salaries often start at the point of $35 per month in the villages and towns, increasing up to $193.40 after tax per month in the cities.

The mortgage loan is a comparatively new option here, which is actually offered to foreigners, non-residents, and people with Ethiopian origins.

The interest rate for such a loan is 17.60% and is paid by those who meet all the criteria like work permit, renewed passport for non-residents of Ethiopia and the ability to pay at least 20% of the house price.

Average Salary$193.40
Minimum Wage$
Mortgage Interest Rate17.60%

Cost of Living by City in Ethiopia

*Click the name of the city for more information.

City Cost of Living Index
Addis Ababa 49.96


  1. Colton S

    Well this was an interesting read, a country with 13 months! How bizarre. What is the extra month called? Also, I see the average salary is under $200 and yet the cheapest apartments are almost $300, do most people live on the streets? Very interested to know how people survive there.

  2. 13 months of sun shine

    It sounds bizarre but for Ethiopians not. We have 12 months with 30 days and the 13th month (called pagume) has 5 days or 6 days every leap year. With regards to renting, apartments are mostly rented by only those people who can afford to pay. I would say the majority of the Ethiopians either own houses or live in a government-owned houses. There are also some that rent a room or rooms in the someone’s houses (which are also cheaper compared to apartments or condos).

  3. Ak

    I think in some point they need to research those again. And the 13 month is called pagume and here is why there are 13 months. In other countries months like jan,mar,may…….. they do have 31 days and here in Ethiopia we dont do that shit only 30 days in single those left over days become 6 days in a year and we call them pagume which is the 13 month 😎

  4. Kinane

    The majority of Ethiopians are subsistence farmers who farm small plots of lands which the whole family depends on. The majority of Ethiopians use soil and hay to build a traditional one room Ethiopian style cottage where the whole family and their farm animals live in with no access to restroom. This cottage is also a barn where their farm animals live within it with flea and bed bugs infestations, maybe card board division within it to demarcate where the adults sleep in. Bathing and using the restroom facilities is done outside often in rivers. Those who reside in the cities mostly engage in crimes , prostitution , asking help from relatives living outside Ethiopia or beg more net from religious missionaries , tourists or the few elites within Ethiopia just to survive because what people earn monthly from honest work is not enough to ladt two days let alone a month. That is why each year more than two hundred thousand young Ethiopians go in illegal immigration to other African countries or war torn Yemen making remittance money sent back to Ethiopia the backbone money for their family members in Ethiopia to survive on .

    In 1974 when Derg socialist political party got to power overthrowing the emperialist Emperor Hailesselasie’s regime $1 USD = $2.05 Ethiopian Birrs

    In 1991 when capitalist EPRDF got to power overthrowing the socialist Derg regime $1 USD = $2.07 Ethiopian Birrs

    Now in 2020 $1 USD = $36.58 Ethiopian Birrs with devaluation reaching an all-time rate , ec not slowing down due to covid-19 and foreign aid slowing down Ethiopia is in big trouble unless somehow the GERD hydroelectric power reignites the economy by reaching agreement with Egypt about the Nile water feud.

  5. Anna tigest shiferaw

    Ethiopia is historical country and the foundation of human berso our way of counting days is different than yours ,people are more religious interm of housing or food they like to share,, our life style is all together type.when you compare to other african countries i belive Ethiopia is one of the country will have the best future interme of economy or privateaisaion, investment, realization, ,

  6. Andrew

    I thought Ethiopia was a better country than Zambia. But alas it seems fake leadership has destroyed African economies. I was worried if $600 dollars would be enough at the university in Addis Ababa for food. My daughter was accepted for a masters degree there.

  7. Austine

    I was thinking if I can move into Ethiopian but with the cost of house rent and low salaries I think it will be best if I stay in my country, or is that $200 for a whole year

  8. Tove

    Totally wrong information. You need to spend more time and energy to get the real figures.

  9. An Ethiopian who loves his country.

    No worries. $600 goes a long way in Addis Abeba if your daughter is domesticated. When you convert $600 to Ethiopian birr at the current conversion rate of $39 birr. You are looking at $23,400. This amount is very generous and she will not starve. The average expense for food for one person is a lot less than your privileged daughter monthly allowance. I would not be too quick to jump into any conclusion about the fake leadership. Your daughter will learn a lot more than her discipline. Ethiopia offers culture, history, friendship, love, adventure, travel, world heritage sites etc. In addition, it is a peaceful country that respects its guests. Your daughter is in good hands. Good luck

  10. Anonymous

    The country where only dictactor change it over.

  11. Anonymous

    Did you check the cost of the Internet there? Last I heard it’s over $500 per month — more than the rent for a one bedroom in one of the cities.

  12. Jay

    No roads, no space to move around,terrible traffic, you get water once or twice a week , you don’t electricity consistently. No safety or security, they rob u on daylight.You pay $400 to $600 for rent ; hell no


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