Cost of Living in Boston

The cost of living in Boston is high. In Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2018, Boston was listed as the 70th most expensive city in the world, ranked above other big American cities such as Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle.

Employment packages often include some contributions toward accommodation (usually an expat's biggest expense) and health insurance. However, in some cases, wages are not increased in proportion to the cost of living in Boston. It is important that new arrivals are aware of the expenses that they are likely to incur before negotiating their salary.

Cost of accommodation in Boston

Accommodation is likely to be the largest expense for those moving to Boston. As there is a high demand for accommodation in Boston, rental costs are expensive. Expats will often need to pay their first and last month's rent as well as a security deposit in order to secure their lease. This, combined with rental agency fees, means that new arrivals will likely need to pay high initial costs for accommodation.

Cost of eating out and entertainment in Boston

There is much to see and do in Boston, but recreational pursuits aren't cheap. Due to the fact that Boston is considerably smaller than many other cities in the US, there is less competition so eating out and entertainment costs remain high. However, expats on a budget who spend smartly can live comfortably while still enjoying the city.

Cost of transport in Boston

Thankfully, those moving to Boston will not need to invest in their own car as the city has a reasonably priced public transport network, which is comprehensive and relatively efficient. Boston is fairly bicycle-friendly for those wanting to commute by bike.

Cost of education in Boston

Education in Boston is of a high calibre. Boston is home to some of the country's top public schools, and expat children are eligible to attend free of charge. On the other hand, fees for private and international schools can be exceptionally steep, and therefore expats should negotiate this into their contracts, if possible.

Cost of living in Boston chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Boston in February 2019.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,400

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,600

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 4,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 2,600


Eggs (dozen)

USD 2.80

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.85

Rice (1kg)


Loaf of bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 11.80

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 11

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 1.90



Bottle of local beer


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 70


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.15

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 65

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 150


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 2.30

Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 2.50

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.70

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Aetna International

Aetna is an award-winning insurance business that provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. Their high quality health insurance plans are tailored to meet the individual needs of expats living and working abroad.

Get a quote from Aetna International


Cigna Global

With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.

Get a quote from Cigna Global