Comparing the cost of living in the UK, US and South Africa


Comparing the cost of living in the UK, US and South Africa

Thinking of moving from the UK or US to South Africa? Before you up sticks why not take a look at the difference in the cost of day-to-day living in the three nations!

In this article we briefly compare the cost of living in South Africa, the US and the UK by looking at the average price of a selection of every day goods and services.

Product/Service Average Price in US Average Price in South Africa Average Price in UK
Basic restaurant meal £6.59 £5.30 £10.00
Combo meal at McDonalds £3.95 £2.83 £5.00
1 pint beer £2.96 £1.06 £3.00
Coffee (takeaway) £2.30 £1.13 £2.30
1 litre Milk £0.66 £0.71 £0.98
1 loaf bread £1.45 £0.67 £1.00
One-way ticket on local transport £1.32 £0.71 £2.00
Monthly pass on local transport £42.80 £28.29 £55.00
1 litre petrol £0.64 £0.81 £1.36
Basic monthly utilities for a flat £115.24 £70.89 £137.00
1 min of prepaid mobile tariff £0.10 £0.14 £0.17
Internet connection for 1 month £29.63 £35.36 £20.00
1 Cinema ticket £6.59 £3.18 £8.00
Monthly rent for a one bed flat  in city centre £592.65 £295.39 £620
Purchase Price per m2 for flat in City Centre £1,063.21 £742.63 £2,309.89
 Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax) £2,078.88 £1,060.90 £1,600

Our table features figures compiled by Numbeo, the world’s largest user-contributing database. Figures are averages, shown here in GBP.

Remember, the cost of living will vary according to location. The more popular areas of South Africa, the US and UK are likely to have a higher cost of living than the less popular locations.


Food – South Africa came out as the cheapest option in each of the food categories. The US came second, beating the UK in every area but coffee (where they drew) and bread (where the UK was cheaper).

Transport – According to these results South Africa has the lowest prices in terms of public transport with the UK being the most expensive, but the US came out on top in petrol prices, having the lowest cost per litre of all three nations.

Housing Costs – In this comparison average utility and rental costs are cheaper in South Africa than either the US or UK. Property purchase prices also worked out to be more reasonable. Housing costs were the highest in the UK by quite a substantial margin.

Monthly Disposable Salary – Although these results show that the average monthly disposable salary is £1000 less in South Africa than the US, the difference between the UK and South Africa is just over £500.

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