Is London Cheaper than the US? 2024 Cost of Living in London vs US

Is London Cheaper than America? I moved to London from America 6 years ago and my friends and family assumed I’d be living at a higher expense. I’ve tallied up the numbers for you comparing London to a similar place like NY and also to Atlanta, GA where I moved from. You’d be surprised by what I’ve found. Read on for my cost of living in London vs US comparison analysis. I’ve compiled the results based on first-hand experience as an American expat and have backed up the findings from reputable sources like statista.com and Numbeo.com. This will surely give you a better idea about the cost of living in London vs. the US.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase something through the links, at no additional cost to you. Read our Affiliate Disclosure here.

Check out my viral reel on Instagram with over 13 million views on my cost of living comparison of the US vs. London

Cost of Living in London vs US (NY & Atlanta)

Here is a helpful list of how much things cost in London vs. NYC & Atlanta.

Some of the most expensive cities to live in the United States are concentrated in large cities known for their thriving industries and high demand for real estate. San Francisco, California, is the most expensive city in the US. New York City, a global economic hub, is renowned for its steep living costs, is. the second most expensive city in the US. In this comparison, we’ll use New York City as it is the most similar to London.

I’ve also included Atlanta in the data points below because I used to live there & it gives a perspective from the South!

DescriptionNYCAtlantaLondon
median income
(yearly)
$68K | £55K
(source)
$64K | £52K
(source)
$49K | £40K
(source)
Income taxes
(per year)
17%
(based on 68K salary)
16%
(based on $64k salary)
24%
(based on £40K salary)
groceries
(monthly cost, per person)
$387 | £314
(source)
$313 | £255
(source)
$289 | £235
(source)
Meal, Inexpensive$28 | £22
(source)
$20 | £16
(source)
$24 | £19
(source)
meal, Mid-range
3 course
$125 | £98
(source)
$110 | £86
(source)
$102 | £82
(source)
1 bedroom rent
(per month, city)
$4,110 | £3,225
(source)
$2,197 | £1,723
(source)
$2,884 | £2,262
(source)
utilities
(per month)
$170 | £128
(source)
$301 | £236
(source)
$397 | £311
(source)
phone bill
(per month)
$75 | £61
(AT&T)
$75 | £61
(AT&T)
$22 | £17
(O2, 25 gb per mo)
healthcare
(per month)
$392 | £319
(source – 37 state avg)
$373 | £303
(source – GA avg)
free at point of use
included in taxes (source)
public transportation
(per month)
$132 | £104
(source)
$95 | £69
(Marta most ppl drive!)
$199 | £156
(Zone 1 & 2 Oyster Card)
car (per month)
(gas, insurance, mainten.)
Public transport is more common in city$263 | £214
(source)
Public transport is more common in city
roundtrip travel
US to US vs UK to Europe
$260 | £211
(source)
$260 | £211
(source)
$53 | £43
(Ryanair & easyjet avg)

Hi, I’m Jackie!

I’m an American expat and I’ve been living in London for 6 years. It was my dream to move here and I’m happy I made that dream a reality. Did you know you could too? You can learn how to move to the UK here!

Which city earns a higher salary, NYC, Atlanta, or London?

One thing that really surprised me when I moved from the US to the UK was how much lower the average wages are in the UK. I took a 30% pay cut to live here but it was my dream to move here and I didn’t mind it. As you read on, you’ll learn other things are much cheaper in the UK than the US which can help balance the pay cut. The median income in NYC is $68K (£55K), Atlanta is $64K (£52K), and London is $49K (£40K). Income taxes are also highest in London at 24%. In NYC, income taxes are 17% and in Atlanta, it’s 16%.

Winner: NYC has a higher average salary than London

Is Dining Out Cheaper in America or the UK?

Dining out is most expensive in NY and least expensive in London. In London, gratuity is not required nor expected unless you dine at a nicer place. If you dine at nicer places, it’s typically included in the bill as a 12% service charge.

The average cost of an inexpensive meal is $28 in NYC, $20 in Atlanta, and $24 in London. New York City food prices are the most costly of the three.

The average cost of a mid-range 3-course meal is $125 in NYC, $110 in Atlanta, and $102 in London.

Winner: London has cheaper meals as tips and taxes are factored into the price already

Are Groceries Cheaper in America or the UK?

Groceries are a lot cheaper in the UK, believe it or not. You can expect to pay $387/mo in NYC, $313 in Atlanta, and only $289 in London for grocery shopping per single person.

Winner: London

Are Rent and Utilities Cheaper in NY, Atlanta, or London?

London rent is cheaper than NY on average but more expensive than Southern US cities like Atlanta. Average rent is $4,110 (£3,225) a month for a single-bedroom apartment in the city center of NY while you can expect to pay $2,884 (£2,262) a month in London and $2,197 (£1,723) in Atlanta.

Of course, you can find much cheaper than that in London. I pay £1,700 for a single bedroom in a stunning neighborhood called Hampstead. And the cost significantly goes down if you find a flatmate.

The cost of utilities is much higher in London because there is even an extra cost for council tax which is paid depending on the suburb you live in. It is similar to an HOA fee but even renters have to pay it.

The average utilities cost $397 (£311) a month for Londoners, $170 (£128) a month for New Yorkers, and $301 (£236) a month for Atlanta residents.

Winner: London when compared to the most comparable US city, NY. But Atlanta, overall.

Are Mobile Phone Bills Cheaper in the US or the UK?

Cell phone bills in London are so cheap compared to the US! I only pay about £12 ($15) a month and I get 30 GB of data which is plenty for me. In the USA, you can expect to pay around $75 a month for a data plan.

Winner: London

Is Healthcare Cheaper in the US or the UK?

Healthcare costs in the United States and the United Kingdom differ significantly due to their distinct healthcare systems. In the U.S., healthcare operates largely through a private system, requiring individuals to have health insurance, which can result in high premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses. Costs in the U.S. vary widely based on insurance plans and the specific medical services needed. If you’re a freelancer, you have to pay a huge monthly premium. On average it is around $392 (£319). This doesn’t include the deductibles.

On the other hand, the United Kingdom employs a publicly funded healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS), where healthcare services are free at the point of use and funded through taxation. While the NHS provides a more inclusive system with fewer direct costs for residents, individuals in the U.S. may face higher healthcare expenses, particularly without comprehensive insurance coverage. The cost of healthcare is a huge factor when considering a move to London.

Winner: London has lower healthcare costs

Is Public Transportation Cheaper in the US or the UK?

Public transportation is great in both New York and London. However, in other cities in the US like Atlanta, most people depend on driving. In the United States, where distances can be vast, owning a car is often a necessity, and costs associated with insurance, fuel, and maintenance contribute significantly to the overall cost of living. For example, in Atlanta, you could spend $263 a month or more on gas, insurance, and maintenance.

If you rely on public transportation alone, you can get around London for $181 a month and NY for $127 a month. New York offers lower transportation costs than London.

Winner: New York if you use public transportation. However, it is London if you live in another US state like Georgia which depends on a car.

In the London vs. America cost of living comparison, the answer isn’t one-size-fits-all. Each location has its unique factors that influence the overall cost of living. London may have lower housing costs, cheaper healthcare, and slightly higher public transport expenses than NY, but salaries are much lower in the UK.

When contemplating a move, it’s crucial to consider personal priorities, lifestyle choices, and the specific city or region within the U.S. While London may be perceived as more expensive, the diversity of the American landscape means there are affordable options available for those willing to explore beyond the surface.

Winner: When comparing to NY, the most comparable US city, London wins. Atlanta and cities in the South of the US will, however, be cheaper than London.

Bottom Line: Where is it Cheaper? London or the US?

In the London vs. America cost of living comparison, the answer isn’t one-size-fits-all. Each location has its unique factors that influence the overall cost of living. London may have lower housing costs, cheaper healthcare, and slightly higher public transport expenses than NY, but the US has much higher salaries.

When contemplating a move, it’s crucial to consider personal priorities, lifestyle choices, and the specific city or region within the U.S.

When compared to NY, the most comparable US city, London wins. Atlanta and cities in the South of the US will, however, be cheaper than London.

Winner: When comparing to NY, the most comparable US city, then the clear winner is London. Atlanta and cities in the South of the US will, however, be cheaper than London. 

Other Things to Consider

Other things to consider when making a move to London from the US is how high the quality of life is and the standard of living. The quality-of-life index score for London is 129.41 while it’s 136.27 for New York.

Crime rate is yet another factor to consider. The crime rate in London is a bit higher in London at 1.77 compared to New York City’s 1.39.

London’s population is just a bit more than NY with 9.0 million people compared to New York City’s 8.6 million people. However, NY is much smaller meaning it’s more packed than London. NY is 784 square kilometers (487 square miles) and London is 1,572 square kilometers (976 square miles).

Another consideration is work-life balance. London definitely has a better work-life balance as the hours are not as long as NY. In London, it is also common to take maternity leave for 6 months or more while the US has a standard of only 3 months.

The British exchange rate has also considerably weakened compared to the US Dollar. Meaning your US money won’t go as far as it used to sadly.

One of the main reasons I moved to London was to be able to travel to so many amazing countries nearby. And let me tell you, flights are much cheaper around Europe than from US state to state. You can get cheap as cheap as $20 in Europe.

Looking to Move to London?

Looking to Move to London? I go into the step-by-step way to move to the UK in this e-book and it even goes into all the logistics you need to prepare for your move and adjust to life in the UK. If it’s your first move abroad, it can be a daunting process so my e-book will help make that process smoother.

It includes:
– Visa types for your move & how to make a permanent move to the UK as an American citizen or other foreigner.
– List of companies that sponsor for employment opportunities
– Budgeting guide for your move
– How to set up a bank account in the UK
– Tips on adjusting to UK life and moving process
– Information about the UK healthcare system and private health insurance
– Packing guide for your move to the UK
– Average cost of living in London, NY, and Atlanta comparison. You might be surprised London is not the most expensive city.
– Neighborhoods ideal for a move to London

the ultimate guide to moving to london

Moving to London? I go into the step-by-step way to move to the UK in this e-book and how to adjust to life here!

Let me know in the comments below what you thought of this cost of living in London vs US analysis!

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