The cost of living in Boston is high. In Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2019, Boston was listed as the 49th most expensive expat destination in the world, ranked above other prominent American cities such as Houston, Atlanta and Seattle.

Employment packages may include some contribution 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 month's rent as well as a security deposit 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. Since Boston is considerably smaller than many other cities in the US, there is less competition between businesses 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, comprehensive and efficient public transport network. Boston is also 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 planning on taking this route should try to negotiate the inclusion of fees into their relocation contract.

Cost of living in Boston chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Boston in January 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,500

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,900

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 4,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 2,700


Eggs (dozen)

USD 2.60

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.90

Rice (1kg)

USD 4.10

Loaf of bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 12

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 11

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)




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)


Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 2.50

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.70

Expat Health Insurance


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