How Much Does It Cost to Live in China?

Overview of Living Expenses

Cost of living in China depends on the country you are from, the region, city, lifestyle (and a host of other factors) where you live and your personal spending habits. As it did at every level from the biggest megacities in Shanghai and Beijing down to the smallest cities and rural towns.

Accommodation Costs

Urban vs. Rural Divide: In major cities like Shanghai and Beijing, the rent of one-bedroom houses in the city center per month could be over 3,000 to 7,000 CNY (i.e. about 420-980 USD). For smaller cities or outskirts you may pay as little as 1,500 CNY (~$210).

Variations in Types of Housing: Costs can vary according to the type of housing. Student and young professionals usually preferred shared apartments or hostels which are cheaper while, if you rent the entire apartment or house this will offer privacy but will cost more.

Food and Dining

Meals: Food is cheap here in China, especially if you stick to local food Eating out - in a cheap restaurant will cost you somewhere between 20-50 CNY ($3-7 USD), and a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant might cost 150-300 CNY ($21-42 USD).

Groceries: A single person might spend between 300 to 700 CNY ($42 to $98 USD) per week, also depending on dietary habits and whether you buy local or imported goods.

Transportation Expenses

Of course, it would have varied --- Public Transportation: China cities are equipped with robust public transport system like Buses, subway, taxis. The convenience and low cost of local transit makes it attractive for individuals taking public transit as part of their daily commute, while the typical one-way ticket costs 2-6 CNY ($0.28-$0.84 USD).

Own vehicle: Fueling and parking, particularly in big cities, could make owning a private car more expensive in China.

Education and Healthcare

Education Costs : International schools can be particularly pricey for expats, with tuition between 50,000 and 200,000 CNY ($7,000 to $28,000 USD) a year. Therefore, Chinese-speaking parents can consider local public schools as a more affordable alternative, but do note that the language barrier will be an issue unless you prefer your child to be bilingual.

Healthcare: China has a public and private healthcare system. While healthcare is provided at a cheaper rate in the public hospitals, the speed and comprehensiveness of service in private hospitals can be much faster but a lot costlier.

Leisure and Miscellaneous

Another way to consistently enjoy going TR villas is if you go touring the island setting up leisure activities such as cinema, sports and nightlife. A movie ticket will be around 60 CNY ($8.42 USD), and a gym membership cost is between 200 to 500 CNY / month ($28-70 USD).

Regional Examples

Jiangsu Province: To give you a real idea about the cost of living, let's take an example from Nantong University. It represents a more cost-effective option for students and academics who wish to experience life in China but without the expense of living in the country's biggest cities.


The cost of living in China is variable, based on the requirements and expectations from quality of life. The secret sauce in taming your expenses - is managing local price levels to correlate with your personal budget and lifestyle desires.

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