Guide To US Living Cost

If you’re considering becoming an E-2 visa holder in the United States, understanding the US living cost is crucial to ensure a smooth transition. This guide will walk you through the various aspects US living cost, helping you make informed decisions and budget effectively.

Understanding US Living Cost

1. Housing

Securing a comfortable living space is a top priority, especially if you have family or dependents. The United States offers various housing options, from apartments and condominiums to single-family homes. The cost of housing can vary significantly based on location, size, and accommodation type.

E-2 visa holders are legally permitted to own properties in the United States. If you are considering buying your own house, we strongly advise that you consider your location and thoroughly research local rates.

According to the latest statistics by the US Census Bureau, the median value of owner-occupied housing units in the US is $244,900. If you are renting instead, the US Census Bureau states that the median gross rent in the US is $1,163.

Of course, this is wholly dependent on where you will be located. As an example, we will use Florida since it is a popular destination for E-2 visa holders. According to US Census Bureau statistics, the median gross rent in Florida is $1,301, and the median value of owner-occupied housing units is $248,700. You can already see the difference here. The cost of housing in Florida is higher than the national average.

The variance in cost is even more apparent in expensive metropolitan areas like New York or Los Angeles, where rent for a three-bedroom apartment can range from $2,500 to $5,000 per month. Note that these are just estimations. The actual US living cost will vary depending on the neighborhood, local market conditions, and amenities.

2. Utilities

Utilities are unavoidable. You and your family use these basic needs daily to keep your household functioning and comfortable. It includes electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash, cable TV, internet, security, and recycling.

In 2022, consumers paid 14.3 percent more for electricity versus 2021. According to Forbes, Americans spend $429.33 on utilities per month on average.

Cost of living wording with graphs going up and coins

3. Groceries and dining out

A woman looking at product label at supermarket

Groceries are essential, but their cost can vary across regions. According to data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American family spends 10.3 percent of their income on food. According to the Consumer Price Index, the average US living cost of eating at home rose 11.4% in 2022 versus 2021.

In 2022, the USDA estimated the average weekly grocery bill based on family size:

  • 1 person: $84.70

  • 2 people: $156.30

  • 3 family members: $203.70

  • 4 family members: $268.80

  • 5 family members: $344.70

Depending on whether you live alone or have dependents, you can expect your monthly grocery bill to range anywhere from $338.80 to $1,378.80. Of course, other factors that can result in variance also depend on lifestyle, dietary restrictions, and whether you spend liberally or moderately.

Furthermore, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the average American spends almost $300 per month on dining out, or around $3,500 annually. This figure increases the larger the household is.

4. Transportation

Getting around in the US requires reliable transportation. If you lease a mid-sized car, you might spend $300 to $500 monthly. This cost can vary depending on the car’s make, model, and lease terms. Public transportation (via buses), on the other hand, the average US living cost for transportation is $58.53 per month in 2019.

Notably, E-2 visa holders can legally purchase a vehicle in the US It is a viable option if you will be relying on transportation daily.

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5. Healthcare

The US healthcare standard is very high. However, so is the average US living cost of healthcare.

According to data from International Insurance, the average ambulance cost in the US ranges from $400 to $1,200. Air ambulance is even more expensive, ranging from $2,000 to $200,000. As for Emergency Room visits, it can cost you $150 to $20,000. Lastly, seeking urgent care can cost you $80 to $500 per visit and an initial consultation ranges from $100 to $200.

Furthermore, tests typical cost between $100 to $500. Should you need to spend a night at the hospital, it can add an additional $5,000 to your bill.

It is apparent that healthcare is extremely expensive in the US compared to the rest of the world. This is why healthcare insurance is a must in the United States to avoid having to shoulder entire costs out of pocket.

According to Money Geek, this is the average insurance premium in the US by family size:

  • Individual (40 years old): $477

  • Couple (two 40 year olds): $954

  • Couple with 1 child: $1,230

  • Couple with 2 children: $1,506

  • Couple with 3 children: $1,782

6. Education

If you have children under 21, you must account for their education. Public schools are an option, but you might also consider private schools, especially if you wish to maintain an educational standard similar to your home country.

US living cost’s tuition for private schools can range from $5,330 to $25,180 annually, depending on the school and its location. In addition, you must also set aside a budget for extracurricular activities and school supplies year-round.

US public school students

7. Entertainment


Entertainment expenses include going to the movies, visiting amusement parks, attending concerts, sporting events, and more.

On average, American households spend $2,628 on entertainment annually. The spending increases the more members the family has. Moreover, it depends on your family’s preferences and the availability of attractions in your area. Exploring local museums, attending community events, and enjoying outdoor activities can provide memorable experiences too without breaking the bank.

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