Cost Of Living In New Zealand Vs USA

Between New Zealand and the United States of America, the cost of living is cheaper by up to 22% in New Zealand. In New Zealand, you can expect to spend about NZ$3,716.46 (~$2,341) per month for one individual; in the US, that doubles to $4,290.

Regardless of your state of residence in the US, you’ll find that living in New Zealand is cheaper. Although employment and compensation are not as competitive as in the US, New Zealand offers you a safer and more ideal environment where you can live your life.

New Zealand vs USA: Housing

You can expect to pay 34.1% less in terms of housing in New Zealand than in the US. But this doesn’t mean that properties in New Zealand are inexpensive.

The advantage of New Zealand homes is that regardless if it is an apartment, a suburban home, or a townhouse, you can expect the structure to allow the most natural light possible. And it almost always comes with outdoor space, given that New Zealanders have a strong connection to the outdoors.

Unlike in the US, neighborhoods can be crowded, and space is only sometimes available around your perimeter.

Type of HousingNew ZealandUSA
One-bedroom apartment within the city; monthly rentNZ$1,946.34 (~$1,226)~$3,617.5
One-bedroom apartment outside the city; monthly rentNZ$1,593.90 (~$1,004)~$2,516
Three-bedroom family home within the city; monthly rentNZ$3,240.20 (~$2,041)~$6,675.5
Three-bedroom family home outside the city; monthly rentNZ$2654.39 (~$1,672)~$4,519.5
Purchasing an apartment within the city – price per square meterNZ$13,437.05 (~$8,464.00)~$14,277.91
Purchasing an apartment outside the city – price per square meterNZ$10,415.30 (~$6,560.60)~$9,275.19

Interested in buying a property in the US or New Zealand? We have created a transferring money to and from the US guide that showcases the best companies to work with if you need to send large sums of money between the two countries.

New Zealand vs USA: Employment And Compensation

America is the place to be if you want to pursue growth in your career or even build one from scratch. New Zealand is the country to enjoy, experience, and live life. Despite the difference, the workforces support both countries, and plenty of employment opportunities are available. Of course, the US labor market is more prominent—a hundred times larger than New Zealand.

Healthcare-related jobs are always in demand in the US and New Zealand. The need for nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and health workers is always on the rise. Additionally, employment in the IT industry has been growing phenomenally, especially in the US.

Both nations have thrown open their doors to skilled immigrants who can boost their economies. And every year, there is a steady influx of immigrants relocating to the US and New Zealand, primarily for employment purposes.

But it is difficult to match the US salary when it comes to compensation. Without a doubt, it exceeds the wages of Kiwis.

In the US, the ballpark salary before tax deductions is ~$70,000 to $90,000, while in New Zealand, it is NZ $60,000 (~$37,792.50). The average yearly wage in the US is currently $53,490, while the equivalent salary in New Zealand is only NZ$58,836 ($37,059.33).

But with the appropriate lifestyle, you can have a decent home, afford a car, and enjoy a few luxuries on this budget in both countries.

Here are some in-demand job opportunities in New Zealand and the USA and each country’s average financial compensation.

RoleNew ZealandUSA
Project ManagerNZ$97,524 (~$61,430.37)$81,221
Registered NurseNZ$75,670 (~$47,664.53) $77,600
Senior Hospital NurseNZ$80,000 (~$50,392.00)$94,590
ProgrammerNZ$70,467 (~$44,387.16)$93,000
Account ManagerNZ$64,604 *~$40,694.06)$66,941

New Zealand vs USA: Food

New Zealand must import some of its food from other countries due to its remote location. This raises the overall price of the raw ingredients. The cost of groceries is fairly comparable between the two nations.

Some grocery items are cheaper in the US, and the same is true for New Zealand, primarily because of the import tax on raw materials. Drawing up a monthly budget can help you manage your expenses.

In the US, prices can vary by state. For example, a single person living in San Francisco, California, would spend $1,000 on groceries, whereas a person in Brownsville, Texas, would spend less.

The good news is that because prices are distributed fairly evenly in New Zealand, there aren’t any glaring price differences that would prompt you to compare prices.

Here’s a list of basic groceries that every household would need so you can compare the prices between the countries:

New ZealandUSA
1 liter of milkNZ$2.40 (~$1.51)$1.74
1.1 lb. of breadNZ$2.73 (~$1.72)$3.04
1 kilo of riceNZ$2.97 (~$1.87)$5.03
One dozen of eggsNZ$6.64 (~$4.18)$5.16
1 kilo of cheeseNZ$13.84 (~$8.72)$17.66
1 kilo chicken filletsNZ$13.41(~$8.45)$16.24
1 kilo of beefNZ$21.30 (~$13.42)$18.65
1 kilo of applesNZ$4.10 (~$2.58)$6.46
1 kilo of bananasNZ$3.00 (~$1.89)$3.38
1 kilo of onionsNZ$2.56 (~$1.61)$3.5
Bottle of hair shampooNZ$6.79 (~$4.28)$5.27
1 liter of waterNZ$1.13 (~$0.71)$1.27

Dining out occasionally is enjoyable and can liven up your daily routine. Like with groceries, eating out costs are comparable in New Zealand and the US, though you save money in New Zealand.

Meal TypeNew ZealandUSA
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant for oneNZ$22.19 (~$13.98)$20.00
3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for twoNZ$108.76 (~$68.51)$100.00
McDonald’s mealNZ$13.32 (~$8.39)$12.00
0.5 liter of beer (in a pub)NZ$9.62 (~$6.06)$5.45
A cup of cappuccinoNZ$5.22 (~$3.29)$4.64

New Zealand vs USA: Taxes

Everyone in New Zealand is obligated to pay their taxes based on their income, whether it is an individual, corporate, or business level. The individual taxes are progressive, so when your income increases, so does the corresponding tax applied.

It’s the same for the US, although there are differences in the tax rates based on income brackets. As of 2023, there are seven brackets—10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%—which will dictate the tax you need to pay.

In New Zealand, the Goods and Services Tax or GST is at a flat rate of 15%. In the US, it depends on the state you’re living in, but the sales tax ranges from 2.9% to 7.25% at the state level.

New Zealand vs USA: Utilities

New Zealand wins again when it comes to utility costs. The utility bills in New Zealand can amount to NZ$325 (~$204.72) compared to USA’s monthly $250.

New ZealandUSA
Basic utilities, inclusive of electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, for an 85 m2 ApartmentNZ$237.03 (~$149.31)$177.57
1 minute of prepaid mobile without any promos or plansNZ$0.43 (~$0.27)$0.10
Internet plan, 50 Mbps+ 1 month unlimitedNZ$81.28 (~$51.2)$67.3
1 liter of gasolineNZ$2.86 (~$1.8)$1.01

New Zealand vs USA: Childcare

Most families set aside between 10% and 15% of their monthly budget for child care. The total expenses are based on your child’s age—yes, the younger the child is, the more expensive child care is because younger children require more attention and expertise—the number of children, and your location.

Being a developed nation, you might anticipate that the US would give childcare more thought and have a better system in place. Sadly, it is regarded as one of the worst nations, starting at birth, as it is the only one that provides no paid maternity leave. Furthermore, there is no plan in place to improve this.

Child care in New Zealand is more affordable thanks to the government’s Child Care Subsidy program, which offers children aged 3 to 4 years old 20 hours of free early childhood education as long as they go to approved centers until their parents return from work.

Although child care in New Zealand is by no means inexpensive, the government does offer some assistance. New Zealand also has a financial program called Working For Families, where households can get childcare assistance based on specific parameters.

The United States has a similar program called Child Care and Development Fund, targeting low-income families that need financial support for child care.

Here’s a comparison of how much childcare costs in the US and New Zealand. You can save up to 35.0% in New Zealand.

New ZealandUSA
Child Care Per Hour – for 1 Child$5.97 (NZD 9.49)$20.57

New Zealand vs USA: Crime Rates

Hands down, New Zealand has a lower crime rate than the US, given that it is the second-safest country after Iceland based on the Global Peace Index.

New Zealand has a lower crime rate in part because of its stable government, low level of political unrest, and remote location. There are still cases, but they can’t be compared to the US, ranked #56 with an overall crime rate of 47.70 based on the 2023 World Population Review.

You’ll notice a clear difference between New Zealand and the USA in terms of safety.

New ZealandUSA
Crime Rate Ranking#77#56
Crime Rate Index42.8847.81
2021 Global Peace Index Ranking#2#122

In New Zealand, you can leave your house and your car unlocked and get back to it without anything missing. You can leave your children to play outside, occasionally peeking to check on them.

In the USA, especially now, you cannot risk this, and more people are installing quality security systems for their homes. Walking in the US has become scary, with unprovoked attacks, especially in subways in New York City.


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