Cost Of Living In Spain Vs USA
The United States of America and Spain are among the best places to live in the world, but they are very different from each other. Spain has a well-earned reputation for the warmth of its people, the climate, and the lower cost of living. Living in the US offers multiculturalism, friendly people, and numerous opportunities for career growth.
However, there are a number of other factors to consider when deciding on the best place to live. The cost of living in Spain is, on average, 64% lower than it is in the US. Childcare and rent, in particular, are more expensive in the United States.
What is the true cost of living in Spain versus the United States? We compare housing, salaries, taxes, and more to find out.
Spain Vs. USA: Housing
In terms of housing, Spain costs a staggering 121% less than the United States. In the United States, a one-bedroom apartment would cost roughly $1,876 per month, whereas it would cost around $642 in Spain.
Likewise, Spain has substantially lower median housing sale prices than the US does. The typical home price in the United States is around $467,700, which is significantly higher than the median price of around $267,774 in Spain.
Due to its relatively affordable housing, Spain is a preferable option for many people. The cost of living in Spain is even lower than in many other countries in Western Europe. For example, it is 38% less than in France, 53% less than in the United Kingdom, and 29% less than in Germany.
Tip: Interested in buying a property in Spain? 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.
Spain Vs. USA: Salaries
In terms of salaries, the United States outperforms Spain. The average salary in Spain is $34,923.39, while in the USA, workers can make $54,132 a year.
Here is a comparison of salaries per year for five different job categories:
If a high salary is your priority, you may choose to side with the United States. Even if you are well compensated by Spanish standards, the disparity with the United States is significant.
However, the American way of life is focused on success and wealth creation, whereas the Spanish way of life is more relaxed and prioritizes leisure and pleasure.
Spain Vs. USA: Groceries And Dining Out
Living expenses in Spain, including food and restaurants, are often more affordable than in the US. Groceries will take up a lot of your monthly budget, especially if you are moving with your family. You’ll also be eating out occasionally, so it’s good to know how much it can cost you.
Generally, groceries are more affordable in Spain than they are in the United States. However, some products have very minute differences. Here is a comparison of the cost of a few essentials in the two countries:
|1 Loaf of Bread||$1.05||$2.85|
|1 Dozen Eggs||$2.07||$2.72|
|1 kg Boneless chicken breast||$6.01||$10.33|
|1 kg Potatoes||$1.31||$2.78|
The price of eating out isn’t all that different in Spain and the US. In Spain, the average cost of a meal for one person at a budget restaurant is around $14, while a three-course meal for two would set you back by around $55.
If you move to the United States, you’ll find that the average cost of a meal for one person at a budget restaurant is around 17 USD, while a three-course meal for two would set you back by around $70.
Spain Vs. USA: Taxes
Income tax in Spain ranges from 21% to 28%, depending on the income bracket. The income tax rate in the United States ranges from 10% to 37%, covering a wider range of income brackets.
The standard sales tax on goods and services in Spain is 21%, while it ranges from 2.9% to 7.25% in the US, depending on the state.
The real estate tax, or property tax, in the United States, varies by state. Hawaii has the lowest rate at 0.28%, while New Jersey has the highest rate at 2.49%.
Taxes associated with purchasing a home in Spain can range from 8% to 11.5%, depending on a number of variables. It may depend on whether the property is brand new, sold by a bank or construction company, or whether it is a previously-owned property being resold.
|Income Tax||21% to 28%||10% to 37%|
|Real Estate Tax||8% to 11.5%||0.28% to 2.49%|
|Sales Tax||21%||2.9% to 7.25%|
Spain Vs. USA: Utilities
Although Spain’s utility costs aren’t exactly inexpensive, they are certainly lower than those in the US. Pricing still depends on certain factors, such as the square footage of your home and your utility use.
|Basic (Electricity, Cooling, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85 m2 Apartment||$138.68||$182.04|
|1 minute of Mobile Tariff, Prepaid and Local (excluding plans and discounts)||$39||$40|
|Internet (cable/ADSL, 60 Mbps or greater, unlimited data)||$37.69||$69.34|
Spain Vs. USA: Childcare And Schooling
The cost of raising a child is high, no matter where you live. But if you’re planning to move to Spain and have children, you will save over 50% more on schooling costs than if you choose to move to the United States.
In Spain, leaving young children in the care of a nursery is customary for working parents. Most American families choose to have one parent stay at home.
|1 Child in Preschool or Kindergarten For Full Day, Private, Monthly Cost||$388.31||1,166.67|
|1 Child in International Primary School, Yearly Cost||$8,016.67||$16,598.78|
Spain Vs. USA: Crime Rates
When considering a new location for you and your family, safety should be a top priority.
The crime index for Spain is 35.7, with a safety index of 64.3. The United States has a crime index of 49 and a safety index of 51. According to Numbeo, crime levels between 20 and 40 are regarded as low, while those between 40 and 60 are considered moderate.
Both are comparable in terms of safety and crime. People in both countries were generally confident walking during the day—Spain scored 79.35, while the United States scored 71.18. However, at night, people are somewhat more cautious; both scored moderately, with Spain at 59.33 and the United States at 44.67.
Here are the top 5 most dangerous cities in Spain:
|City||Crime Index||Safety Index|
|Palma de Mallorca||32.8||67.2|
The pandemic did cause a spike in crime, but Spain is still a fairly safe place to live. According to the 2022 Global Peace Index, Spain is the world’s 29th most peaceful country, while the United States ranks 129th.
Here are the top 5 most dangerous cities in the United States:
|City||Crime Index||Safety Index|
In summary, the cost of living in Spain is considerably less expensive than in the United States in terms of housing, childcare, and utilities. It also has a rich culture and many picturesque landmarks. However, wages are lower, and taxes are higher compared to the United States.
The American way of life may suit you better if you prefer to grind and pursue opportunities to increase your earnings. Those who call Spain home are known for their laid-back approach to work and their fondness for spending their free time enjoying leisurely activities.’
Both have amazing people, wonderful scenery, and favorable weather. Ultimately, your priorities should guide your choice of which country to call home.
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