It’s wise for any prospective resident to draw up a budget and try to predict their monthly expenditure before relocating to New Orleans to establish whether the move will make financial sense.
As a city that is still in recovery from the physical and economic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, the cost of living in New Orleans is affordable when compared to the average for the US. In the end, a favourable cost of living teamed with the wealth of lifestyle benefits and quality of life make the Crescent City a big draw card for citizens from elsewhere in the US and expats alike.
Depending on the sector, opportunities for career progression can be really good in New Orleans, even if wage growth is fairly slow compared to that in more dynamic economies. It is important to consider living expenses alongside job opportunities, lifestyle preference and family situation when looking into the option of moving to NOLA.
Cost of accommodation in New Orleans
Accommodation often forms the largest portion of a new arrival's budget when relocating, but thankfully the cost of renting accommodation in New Orleans is pretty affordable. In fact, despite being around 10 percent higher than the Louisiana average, it is still about 25 percent cheaper than the US national average. Those relocating from other prominent metropolitan areas such as New York City, Chicago, San Francisco or Austin will certainly notice a massive saving.
While the majority of new NOLA residents opt to rent rather than buy property, the city has great investment potential, especially for those looking to buy in the downtown area. In addition to is steadily growing resident population, New Orleans is a hugely popular tourist hotspot so having a holiday rental here can be quite lucrative.
Cost of eating out and entertainment in New Orleans
New Orleans is known the world over for being a party city but thankfully having a good time in the Crescent City doesn’t need to cost the earth. With annual events alongside the city’s vibrant nightlife offerings in the form of bars, restaurants and live music venues, new residents are sure to have a wonderful time getting acquainted with their new home.
When it comes to eating out, New Orleans is a dream. While gastronomy enthusiasts will certainly have the opportunity to indulge in fine-dining experiences, what New Orleans is undoubtedly known for is its Southern soul food – hearty portions of humble dishes such as jambalaya and gumbo served at reasonable prices. New arrivals will soon see that it's easy to eat out in NOLA without having to fork out a small fortune.
Cost of transport in New Orleans
While the Crescent City has better public transport than many other major cities in the South, getting around in New Orleans doesn’t come cheap. In fact, transport costs in NOLA are significantly higher than both the Louisiana state average and the national average for the US.
And while having a car isn’t essential, it certainly makes life easier and will help new arrivals get acquainted with the city. A personal vehicle is particularly useful for those who don't live close to the central parts of New Orleans.
Cost of schooling in New Orleans
Those moving to New Orleans with children will, of course, need to consider the cost of schooling, much of which will depend on specific schools.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the public schooling system in New Orleans experienced some major restructuring. As a result, a system plagued by underfunding and low staff retention levels saw an impressive transformation with the rise in the number of charter schools. New arrivals to the city will, therefore, find there are several excellent public schooling options that come at little to no cost.
There are also a large number of private schools in the city and a small handful of international schools. These schools are believed to offer greater opportunities and a higher standard of teaching, but at a cost. While the fees of private education are generally known to be high, tuition at private schools in New Orleans are slightly more affordable on average than in other US cities.
Louisiana’s state government has also made good provisions to support students with special needs or disabilities at no extra financial cost to their families.
Cost of healthcare in New Orleans
New Orleans is becoming noticed as a bit of a healthcare hub for the South and new residents can rest assured that their medical needs and those of their family will be well taken care of here. That said, as is the case throughout the US, to access the better healthcare facilities residents will need to be in possession of a comprehensive medical insurance policy.
Those who are being relocated to New Orleans for work should negotiate some sort of healthcare allowance into their employment contract as this is likely to offer a significant saving in an individual's monthly budget.
► The Expat Arrival's page of Banking, Money and Taxes in the USA is essential reading to anyone considering a move to the States.
Are you an expat living in New Orleans?
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