Cost Of Living In France Vs USA

France is a treasure mine of history, stunning architecture, and delectable gastronomy. Living there comes at a steep price, which some say is higher than the cost of living in the U.S.

While the average cost of living in France is slightly higher, by 4-5%, the real difference depends mainly on location, personal lifestyle, and preferences.

We shall delve into the cost of living in France versus the United States in terms of housing, salary, food, taxes, utilities, daycare, and crime rates. By the end of this article, you will have a thorough grasp of the expenses of living in both countries and be better prepared to pick the one that best suits your needs.

France Vs USA: Housing

If you’re looking for a place to call home in the city center of France, prepare to pay an average of $800 per month for a one-bedroom pad, and if you’re in the US, you’ll need to dish out around $900. As for buying a house, France’s median selling price is quite steep, with an average of $6,237.87, while in the US, you can get a home for a more reasonable average cost of $4,493.51.

Why the difference in housing prices? Blame it on the scarcity of land in France’s big cities and the strict zoning and building regulations that limit new construction. Add to that the high demand for housing, and you’ve got a recipe for high housing prices. Of course, the higher cost of living in France, especially in cities, means that people are more than willing to pay extra for a home that’s conveniently located to suit their lifestyle.

Tip: Interested in buying a property in France? We have created a dedicated page where we list the best companies that work with US residents to help them send large sums of money between the two countries.

France Vs USA: Salaries

In France, the average yearly salary is about $45,000, a smidgen below the US average of $70,000. And with an increasing cost of living, making ends meet in France can feel like a tightrope walk. That being said, let’s compare the paychecks of 5 popular careers in the two countries:

ProfessionAverage Salary In FranceAverage Salary In The USA
Engineerss $47,000$85,000

Remember, salaries can vary greatly depending on the company, location, and experience. But this comparison should give you a rough idea of the salaries paid in both countries.

France Vs USA: Food

Dining out in the United States can be expensive compared to France. A mid-range, three-course meal for two people in the US will run you about 70 bucks, 9.3% higher than the 60 euros it would cost in France. On the flip side, grabbing a quick bite at McDonald’s will be cheaper in the US, where a combo meal will set you back by about $9.66, compared to $10.67 in France.

As for beverages, the difference in prices between the two countries is quite striking. Cappuccinos in the US will run you nearly 50% more than in France, while imported beer is 21.8% pricier in the US. Domestic draft beer will also cost 21.9% less in France. Soft drinks and water are also cheaper in France, with a regular coke or Pepsi costing 18.3% less and a bottle of water 8.3% less than in the US. Bon appétit!

France Vs USA: Taxes

When it comes to taxes, the United States and France are two very different countries with very different approaches. In America, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster with tax rates ranging from a low 10% for those making under $9,950, all the way up to a dizzying 37% for those bringing in over $523,601. Meanwhile, in France, it’s a steadier climb, starting at 11% for those making between €10,225 and €26,070, and reaching a peak of 45% for those earning over €160,367.

France’s high tax rate reflects the country’s extensive social welfare system, which provides a range of benefits to its citizens, including healthcare, unemployment benefits, and pensions. Meanwhile, in the United States, well, you’re on your own, pal—for the most part! But really, the difference in approach to taxes is just another example of how these two countries differ.

France Vs USA: Utilities

When it comes to utilities, the United States and France are like two peas in a pod, with the average monthly cost of electricity, water, and gas hovering around $150 in both countries. Just like in France, the cost of utilities in the US can also vary significantly based on your zip code and the type of property you call home. Some utilities may cost more in France than in the USA and vice versa, so it may all even out!

In France, the monthly bill for basic utilities (including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage) for an 85 square meter apartment will set you back around €162.90, which is €7.67 (or $8.18) more expensive than in the US. But don’t pop the champagne just yet. Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) in France sets you back by $31.40, but in the US, it costs a whopping $69.37.

France Vs USA: Childcare

Why settle for average when you can give your little ones the best? Childcare in France may cost a pretty penny, but it’s a price worth paying for parents who place a premium on their children’s education and well-being. The monthly cost of a full-time nursery comes in at a staggering $1,500, but hey, that’s just the cost of being a proud French parent. In comparison, the average cost of childcare in the US is just a fraction of the cost at $1,000.

Of course, living the French dream doesn’t come cheap. The high cost of living in France is reflected in everything, including childcare. But hey, if you’re going to invest in your child’s future, why not go all out? And when it comes to the best international primary schools, France charges €9,878.55 per year (which translates to a cool $10,544.38), still a whopping 57.3% cheaper than the average American school. So why not give your little one a head start and enroll them in the finest French education system?

France Vs USA: Health Care

When it comes to healthcare, both France and the US have their strengths and areas of improvement. In France, patients are highly satisfied with the expertise of medical staff, the speed of examination and reporting, and the availability of modern diagnostic equipment. They also give high marks for the accuracy of reports and the friendliness of staff. The cost of healthcare and its accessibility in terms of location also receive very high ratings.

In the US, American patients are similarly impressed with the technology and equipment healthcare providers use, but they are slightly less satisfied with the speed of examination and reporting. However, they rate the friendliness and courtesy of medical staff high, just like their French counterparts. Unfortunately, the cost of healthcare is not a strong point in the US, receiving only a moderate rating. On the bright side, the convenience and accessibility of healthcare locations is still rated very high.

France Vs USA: Crime

In terms of crime, according to Numbeo, France and the United States are viewed as having moderate crime levels. However, perceptions of crime rate increases in the past three years are high in both countries.

People in both France and the United States express moderate levels of worry about break-ins and theft, being mugged or robbed, car theft, and items stolen from cars.

Worries about attacks and insults are also moderate, while concerns about physical attacks based on skin color, ethnicity, gender, or religion are moderate in France and low in the US.

Both countries face high levels of concern regarding drug use and drug dealing, while problems with property crimes and violent crimes like assault and armed robbery are perceived as moderate. Corruption and bribery are also viewed as moderate in both nations.

According to the latest data, people in France feel relatively safe walking alone during the day (high safety rating) but feel less secure at night (low safety rating), while people in the US feel relatively safe walking alone both during the day and at night (high and moderate safety ratings, respectively).

This data is based on the perceptions of visitors to the website over the past three years. But with a total of 4136 contributors in France and 16501 contributors in the United States, it’s safe to say these data paint a broad picture of crime in both countries.


Choosing to live in France or the US is like picking between two loaves of bread, each with its unique crust, filling, and flavor. The cost of living in either country may vary depending on your lifestyle and priorities. But whether you’re drawn to a country steeped in history and culture, or one that embraces modernity and innovation, both France and the US have something to offer. So before making the final decision, consider all these factors, and weigh all your options well.


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