Cost of Living in Kingston, Jamaica

Kingston, one of the most dangerous cities in the world is pretty expensive to live in.

Many tourist say that Jamaican cities are only good for tourism, but living in them isn’t recommended due to their slumped economy, high prices, low wages and dangerous streets.

However, the food is good and general costs of living, apart from petrol and imported goods are reasonable.

What is expensive is the rent: for example a decent one bedroom apartment in a nice area would probably cost $400 per month, which, taking into consideration Jamaican wages, is a lot.



Food is, according to many, expensive if you take into consideration their paychecks, so eating out isn’t recommended if you want to save some money. Of course, there are always inexpensive restaurants with delicious food for 4$, but if you go to a mid-range restaurant, expect the prices to be like anywhere in Europe.



The price of groceries is very high compared to even European prices. Though it is cheaper to cook, definitely, than to go out and eat in restaurants, groceries are still pretty expensive. Jamaica is actually known for having high prices of food. For example, expect a loaf of bread to cost over 2$, milk too, and eggs cost almost 3$.



Public transportation is relatively expensive, especially if you’re traveling by taxi. A normal work day where you have to travel back and forth using public transportation, together with that day’s lunch would cost on average around 10$ per day. Monthly pass for public transport costs more than 50$ and a one way ticket less than a dollar.



Utilities are definitely less expensive than Jamaica’s average as well as European most expensive cities, with one difference: here, the internet is more expensive than in European cities. So, all the basic utilities, including gas, electricity, heating, cooling and garbage services, cost almost 100$ for a larger apartment of about 85m2.

Sports and leisure


The lovely beaches, sand, sun, strolling around its streets…these are just a couple of hundreds of ways to enjoy yourself in Kingston, Jamaica. But if you want to add to that some physical activity, you will have to pay around 40$ for such a pleasure. And if you have some movies on your mind, going to the cinema will cost you 10$ per ticket.

Clothing and shoes


One thing that is cheap in Jamaica is clothing. So if you’re planning on spending any money on clothes – that might be a good idea since the prices are half as much as they are in Europe. For good, quality jeans, you’ll have to pay only around 40$ while quality sneakers are around 60$. Light pieces of clothing like summer dresses and shirts cost almost the same as jeans.

Rent per month


Rent is expensive but largely depends on whether you’re staying in a rural area or closer to the city center. The rent would average at around $350 per month, because outside of the city it would cost somewhere around 250$, while in the center of Kingston, it would cost above 500$ per month.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Kingston

Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant) $4.70
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter) $1.72
Water (0.33 Liter) $0.78
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter) $2.08
Loaf Bread (500g) $2.35
Eggs (12) $2.56
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket $0.78
Monthly Pass $54.84
Gasoline $1.32
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling) $78.35
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local $0.04
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $42.81
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $53.70
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour) $39.17
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release $10.18
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable) $35.82
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...) $11.75
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range) $
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center $511.74
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center $274.21
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center $1041.34

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Kingston?

The largest part of the expenses of Kingston’s citizen is spent on food – in markets. Without a doubt, that is their biggest expense, with around 41% of one’s salary being spent on food.

An average Kingston citizen also spends a lot of his/her money on rent: it is not as expensive as it is in Europe, but it’s rather high in comparison to their incomes.

Transportation is also very high on Kingston’s list of expenses, because it’s impossible to roam around Jamaica’s big cities on foot.

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

Kingston: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

With such high expenses, average monthly net salary is shockingly low. It is almost impossible to cover all expenses, bills and buy food, enjoy sports and buy some clothes with such an average income.

Minimum wage in Kingston incredibly low 169.75$. Having said that, it’s clear to see why the people of Kingston have a hard time making ends meet and why crime is so widespread on the streets of Jamaica.

Many tourists have said that, if you want to live comfortably, you will need around 1000$, which is twice as much as their average monthly salary.

Average Salary$548.82
Minimum Wage$210.92
Mortgage Interest Rate8.93%

Cost of Living by City in Jamaica

*Click the name of the city for more information.

City Cost of Living Index
Kingston 64.59

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