How Expensive Is It To Live In Spain Compared To The US?

On average, the cost of living in Spain is 123% cheaper than living in The United States. The main cost difference is the rent, utilities, groceries, and health insurance. Overall, Spain is just less expensive. 

Even if you move to a more expensive city like Barcelona, you are still paying a lot less than you would in a larger US city like New York or San Francisco.  

Let's break down some of the key expenses:


Renting an apartment in Spainis notably cheaper than in many U.S. cities. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Barcelona for example might cost around €900-€1,200 per month, whereas a similar apartment in New York City could easily exceed $3,000 per month. Even in less central neighborhoods of Spain, rents remain relatively affordable, providing expats and locals alike with attractive housing options.


Utilities in Spain, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, are generally more affordable compared to their U.S. counterparts. A typical monthly bill for a medium-sized apartment might range from €80 to €150, depending on usage. In contrast, the same utilities for an apartment in a U.S. city could easily surpass $200-$300 per month.


The cost of groceries in Spain is also lower than in many U.S. cities. Fresh produce, meats, dairy products, and other essentials can be purchased at local markets and supermarkets for reasonable prices. While dining out can be a bit more expensive in Spain's touristy areas, there are plenty of affordable options, including traditional Spanish tapas bars and neighborhood eateries.

Health Insurance

Healthcare in Spain is known for its quality and accessibility, and the cost of health insurance is significantly lower than in the U.S. The Spanish public healthcare system provides coverage to residents, including expats who contribute to social security. Private health insurance is also available at relatively affordable rates, offering additional coverage and flexibility.

Comparative Overview of Living Costs: Spain vs. The United States

Item Spain United States
Meal at an Inexpensive Restaurant 12.00€ 18.25€
Domestic Beer 2.80€ 5.48€
Imported Beer 3.00€ 6.40€
Cappuccino 1.82€ 4.65€
Loaf of Bread 1.28€ 3.25€
Eggs 2.43€ 3.41€
Bottle of Wine 5.00€ 13.71€
Monthly Public Transportation Pass 32.30€ 65.82€
Basic Utilities 127.87€ 187.96€
1 Bedroom Apartment in City Center 931.40€ 1,617.38€
1 Bedroom Apartment Outside of City Center 699.36€ 1,327.07€

Spain's significantly lower cost of living compared to the US makes it an attractive option for students and expatriates. Key living expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, and health insurance are all substantially cheaper. Whether in the bustling city of Barcelona or quieter neighborhoods, living costs remain affordable. For those considering studying in Spain, leveraging these lower costs can make your educational journey more manageable. To explore university options and make informed decisions, contact StudiesIn. Their professionals can guide you through the application process and help maximize your experience in Spain. Discover how life in Barcelona offers an affordable and vibrant lifestyle; dive into our detailed article to see how much you could save on living costs in this charismatic city!

For more help and information, contact StudiesIn to speak with a trained professional about your next steps for studying in Spain.

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Written By

Tessa Sternal

Undergraduate Student, 2023

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