Cost Of Living In Los Angeles, USA

Cost Of Living In Los Angeles illustration

Los Angeles is the stuff of American Dreams. The centre of the global entertainment industry, LA is the place to make a name if you love the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

But the city is so much more. Perched on the Pacific coast, LA is a major port and air hub linking the USA with Japan and the Asia Pacific. In addition, LA is the busiest container port in the Americas.

As the largest city in California, Los Angeles (population 3.5 million), while the metropolitan area swallows another 10 million people.

If you are planning a move to Los Angeles, the significant drawbacks are the traffic and smog. In addition, even short trips can take agonising hours.

How Much Are Day-To-Day Living Costs In Los Angeles?

Expats should set aside £4,548 a month in Los Angeles to cover the same standard of living they would expect from spending £4,800 a month on bills and rent in London.

  • Prices in Los Angeles are 7.59 per cent lower than in London (excluding rent)
  • Renting a home in Los Angeles is 5.24 per cent cheaper than in London
  • Eating out costs 1.13 per cent less in Los Angeles than in London
  • The weekly grocery shop is 15.83 per cent lower in Los Angeles than in London
  • Spending a pound in Los Angeles buys 16.76 per cent less than spending a pound in London

Here are some examples of living costs compared between London and Los Angeles:

Eating out

LondonLondonLos AngelesLos AngelesDifference
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant15.0020.6714.5120.00     -3.24 %
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course60.0082.6858.0680.00     -3.24 %
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)    +8.86 %
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught)5.006.895.087.00    +1.60 %
Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)5.006.895.818.00  +16.11 %
Cappuccino (regular)2.974.093.544.88 +19.29 %
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle)1.431.981.732.38 +20.51 %
Water (0.33 litre bottle)1.131.551.572.16  +39.07 %

Day-to-day groceries

LondonLondonLos AngelesLos AngelesDifference
Milk (regular), (1 litre)0.941.300.700.96   -26.09 %
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)1.041.442.503.45+139.75 %
Rice (white), (1kg)1.582.173.454.76  +119.03 %
Eggs (regular) (12)  +10.57 %
Local Cheese (1kg)6.949.569.2912.80  +33.82 %
Chicken Fillets (1kg)6.108.409.0012.40  +47.61 %
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)10.1213.9511.0315.20   +8.99 %
Apples (1kg)  +27.01 %
Banana (1kg)1.131.561.151.58   +1.00 %
Oranges (1kg)2.002.762.353.23  +17.14 %
Tomato (1kg)2.493.442.873.95  +14.91 %
Potato (1kg)1.121.551.852.55  +64.69 %
Onion (1kg)1.151.591.542.13  +33.88 %
Lettuce (1 head)0.781.071.231.69  +57.99 %
Water (1.5 litre bottle)1.011.391.281.76  +26.85 %
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)8.0011.029.4312.99+17.84 %
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre bottle)1.882.591.852.55     -1.45 %
Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)2.112.911.752.41 -17.20 %
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)12.5017.227.2610.00  -41.94 %

Getting around

LondonLondonLos AngelesLos AngelesDifference
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)2.753.791.271.75  -53.82 %
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)158.00217.7272.57100.00  -54.07 %
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)2.803.862.072.85   -26.13 %
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)1.702.341.221.68   -28.38 %
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)28.8039.6821.1829.19     -26.45 %
Gasoline (1 litre)1.231.690.751.04     -38.52 %
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline or equivalent23307321151814325000     -22.16 %
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort or equivalent23327321441589021895     -31.88 %

Utilities (Monthly)

LondonLondonLos AngelesLos AngelesDifference
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment185.62255.77119.92165.24     -35.40 %
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)     -33.28 %
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)31.8143.8448.7767.20     +53.29 %

Sports And Leisure

LondonLondonLos AngelesLos AngelesDifference
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult46.0363.4231.9844.07     -30.52 %
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)9.0912.526.689.21     -26.48 %
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat14.9720.6310.8915.00     -27.31 %


LondonLondonLos AngelesLos AngelesDifference
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child140019297841080     -44.00 %
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child1550256241688823271     -9.18 %

Clothing And Shoes

LondonLondonLos AngelesLos AngelesDifference
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)55.6976.7438.3652.86     -31.11 %
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …)27.8138.3331.6043.54    +13.60 %
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range)72.0799.3059.8882.52     -16.90 %
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes85.38117.6692.54127.51     +8.38 %

Cost Of Buying A Home In Los Angeles

Most expats rent rather than buy when they move to Los Angeles.

Rents and property prices are lower in Los Angeles than in London.

Los Angeles spreads across many small communities and neighbourhoods, each with its feel, unlike many world cities. As a result, types of housing vary considerably – from studio flats to sprawling multi-million dollar mansions.

The average home costs $775,000 (£563,000) – but that’s due to the Hollywood effect of celebrities having money to burn pulling up prices.

However, mortgage lenders charge around half the interest rate in Los Angeles, making homes more affordable even though they are more expensive than the UK average of around £255,000.

If you are interested in the east coast of the USA, make sure to read the expat guide to buying property in Florida

Make sure to read through the dedicated articles and guide for Property and Real Estate.

Rent Per Month

LondonLondonLos AngelesLos AngelesDifference
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre1677231116092216 -4.09 %
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre1290177712131671 -5.97 %
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre3281452131824384    -3.04 %
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre21382946219030182.44 %

Buying an apartment

LondonLondonLos AngelesLos AngelesDifference
Price per Square metre to Buy Apartment in City Centre114571578763338726  -44.73 %
Price per Square metre to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre5662780242445847  -25.05 %


Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate2.54%1.17%-54.34%

Cost Of Living inLos Angeles FAQ

What is the currency and exchange rate in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is the largest city in California, with more than 13 million people living in the urban sprawl. The currency is the US dollar. The exchange rate is $1 equals £0.73p.

How much tax will I pay in Los Angeles?

Expats pay sales tax of 9.5 per cent in Los Angeles. The US average is 7.3 per cent.

The income tax rate is 9.3 per cent compared to an average of 4.6 per cent in the US.

Surprisingly, the median household income is lower than the US average in Los Angeles – $49,682 (£35,982) than $53,482 (£38,867).

Can I retire as an expat in Los Angeles?

Yes, expats can retire to the US, but they must have a residency permit or qualify under a visa program.

Many expats retire on an EB-5 investment visa that demands a $500,000 investment into a pre-approved US corporation.

Can I collect my state pension in Los Angeles?

Yes, expats can collect their state pension in Los Angeles. The USA is one of a few countries outside of Europe where the state pension rises with the cost of living increases.

How much do expats pay for healthcare in Los Angeles?

Healthcare in Los Angeles is expensive – some treatments cost twice as much in LA as in the USA. According to the Los Angeles Times, the average medical bill in LA County was $84,179 (£61,232) a patient, while the national average is $46,412 (£33,760).

Read our Expat Health Insurance Guide to understand your options.

What’s the weather like in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles has a Mediterranean style climate, with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. July is the hottest month, with average temperatures reaching 72 Fahrenheit (22 Centigrade). The wettest and coldest month is January.

Make sure you read the guide on moving abroad before you decide. In addition, you can find other additional country guides following the links below.

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