Cost Of Living Comparison between France and United States

Cost Of Living Comparison between France and United States

Whether you decide to relocate from France to the USA, or vice versa, it is essential to figure out what are the main differences when it comes to the cost of living comparison. There are many decisive factors to look at, so we will dive deeper into specific details. The financial aspect of any relocation should be your primary concern, and that is why we must talk about the differences in the cost of living.

Cost of living comparison - factors to look at

So, what are the decisive factors we must look at if we are to calculate how much it will cost you to live in France or in the United States? Before you start with move preparations, let’s put it on paper and talk about all the things you spend your money on :

  • food
  • bills
  • recreational activities
  • education
  • finances


Food is an everyday necessity. If we look at everything we spend our money on, the largest amount goes on food and bills. When living in a foreign country, one of the smartest and more affordable ideas is to shop at the grocery stores and markets. Sure, you have to go out to a restaurant once in a while to treat yourself. However, shopping in grocery stores is better for your wallet.


The difference in restaurant prices between France and the United States is a couple of dollars. For your benefit, know that the €1 is around $1.14. A single meal in an inexpensive restaurant is from €13-€15 in France. In the US the cost is €1 lower on average. If we look at a dining experience for two people in a mid-range or expensive restaurants, you would have to pay around €50. In the US, it is somewhere around €43.

McDonald’s is popular both in the US and in France, and prices differ around €2 in favor of the US. But that is not so strange, since the prices in Europe, in general, are a bit higher when it comes to McDonald’s.


If you are moving with family in the US, it is much better to buy your food in the grocery stores. While a night out in a restaurant can cost $40-$80, your groceries can cost around $150 for a whole week. Fruits and vegetables are from $1.50-$3.50 per kilo. Meats are around $8-$12, domestic beer is $2 and a bottle of wine is around $12.

While food is more expensive in France, even 20%-30%, liquor is almost 50% cheaper.

Children care

Working parents must think about what to do with kids while they are in the office. In France, preschool or kindergarten for one child costs around €660 per month. The US is more expensive in this case. Price per month for one child is around €780.

However, it is quite the opposite situation for primary school. The cost in France is around €15,500, while in the United Stated it goes around €15,000 for one child per year.

Monthly salary

We can safely say that you can earn more money in the US than in France. Average US net salary per month is €2,700, while in France you can earn around €1,800. That is after taxes, of course.

However, that doesn’t have to mean that the larger salary in the US means you will live a more comfortable life. Many people are not only moving their families but their business as well. Should you decide to relocate your office space, start thinking about monthly salaries, especially if your company requires more employees. You must plan your financial budget to the last detail.


If we look at recreational activities like going to the gym or practicing a sport, France is a little cheaper. Also, going out to the movies is cheaper as well. For example, a ticket for one person is approximately €10, while in the US it is around €11. As you can see, the difference is not that large.


The difference in the cost of clothing between France and the United States is substantial. France is more expensive, so carefully plan when spending money on clothes. To give you an example, while in the US you would pay around €35 for a pair of Levis 501 or similar jeans, in France, you would have to spend almost €80.

While business shoes and running shoes like Nike have the same price comparison as jeans, chain stores like Zara or H&M have pretty much the same prices. With that in mind, when you start creating your ultimate moving checklist, carefully decide what clothes to bring with you, and what to buy after the relocation.

Monthly utilities

Basic utility bills, like electricity, water, heating and such, are a bit more affordable in the US. The difference in prices is around 5%. However, that number skyrockets if we look at the telephone bill or monthly cost for the internet. One minute of Prepaid Mobile Tariff in the United States is €0.09, and in France is double that amount. On another hand, the internet is almost 50% cheaper in France than in the US.

Paying rent

Rent in the US is extremely expensive when compared to France. The cost of living comparison, in this case, shows why the larger salary doesn’t guarantee more money for living expenses. One bedroom apartment in the city center in the US is a whopping €1,130, while in France it costs around €650.

Apartments outside of the center are cheaper, but the difference in price has the same percentage. The same apartment in the US, outside of the center, is around €900, and in France is €500.

Buying real estate

Should you decide to buy an apartment, we have a whole other situation here. If you want to make a purchase in the US, the price per square meter in the city center is around €2,200, while in France you have to pay almost €6,300.

All in all, moving to America has its perks, but also its downsides, depending on what aspect of living we look at. Cost of living comparison between France and the United States differs in all sectors, so make your moving plan with everything in mind !