Germany or The United States - Which Is Cheaper to Live In?

In this article

Germany and the US are giants in their space and are known to thrive in different aspects. The cost of living in each of these countries can be very relative, depending on the standard of living in question, the location in each country, modes of transport, and feeding.
Comparing the cost of living in Germany with the US at face value is similar to comparing a mango to an apple. Granted, they are both fruits - they are both giants in their space, but it really ends there, as there are no other similarities going forward. To compare the two countries favorably, a level of uniformity has to be involved.
Comparing countries fairly is usually done under categories like housing, feeding, transportation, groceries, housing, childcare, entertainment, and clothing. These form an equal basis of comparison between these countries. Generally speaking, living in Germany costs about 13.5% lower than in the US. This is an aggregate based on the different comparison categories. Some categories cost more in Germany than it does in the US.
More about: Allowance of American Citizens to Travel in Europe


It costs 17.6% less to get fed in a restaurant in America than in Germany. Although a basic meal in an average restaurant with a bottle of drink to go along costs $12.44 in Germany and $14.25 in the US. Other restaurant foods are cheaper in America. A 33cl bottle of Coca-Cola costs $2.73 in Germany and $1.90 in America. A meal at a fast-food eatery like McDonald’s or an equivalent cost $9.55 in Germany and $7.75 in America. Finally, a 33cl bottle of water costs $2.38 in Germany and $1.53 in America. Overall, it is cheaper to get food in a restaurant in America than in Germany.


Groceries cost 36.8% more in America than in Germany on average. One loaf of bread costs $1.62 in Germany and $2.71 in America. One Kg of boneless chicken breast costs $8.36 in Germany but costs $9.21 in America. Potatoes cost $1.47 per Kg in Germany and $2.72 in America. However, not all groceries are cheaper in Germany on average. One liter of milk, for example, is sold for $1.02 in Germany and $0.85 in America, one kg of bananas costs $1.95 in Germany and $1.66 in America. On a holistic level, groceries cost about 36.8% less in Germany.


Transportation plays a significant role in human interaction. Transportation to work, around town, shopping, and other essentials cannot be ruled out in human interaction. Transportation is considerably lesser in America than in Germany - about 30.7% less. One liter of gasoline costs $2.14 in Germany and $1.24 in the US. An 8km trip in a taxi cost $23.68 in Germany and $16.83 in America. Public transport pass for the month costs $78.24 in Germany and $63.05 in America. When considering transportation alone, America is a cheaper option.

Housing and Accommodation

Accommodation and housing are vital basis for comparisons between locations. Germany's housing costs about 44.8% less than America. Rent for a 1-Bedroom apartment in the city center costs $1,225.46 in America and $760.46 in Germany. An equivalent apartment would go for $1,034.80 in America and $574.53 in Germany outside the city center. Collectively, housing and accommodation cost 44.8% more in America.


Clothing in Germany costs about 27.1% more than in America. Men's leather business shoes cost about $119.62 in Germany and $95.31 in America. An average Jean from the Levi brand in Germany costs $86.18 and $43.02 in America. An average dress H&M and other equivalent brands cost $43.20 in Germany and $35.26 in America. Average running shoes from Adidas or Nike would go for $93.84 in Germany and $75.54 in America.


Utilities cost about 21.4% less in the US than in Germany. Utilities, in this case, consist of heating, water, gas, electricity, cooling, and garbage disposal. For a 65 m2 in Germany, be set to spend about $201 while an equivalent costs $128.68 in America. For an 85 m2 apartment, Germany costs $251.8, and America costs $170.77.


Childcare costs differ significantly between the two countries. On average, it costs 81.7% more to take care of children in America than in Germany. For a month, private preschool for one child costs $348.14 in Germany and $891.12 in the US. Two semesters for a child in middle school costs $14,155 in Germany and $15,195 in America. Many parts of Germany also make for a better environment to raise children.


Connectivity, in this case, involves the internet and prepaid mobile tariffs. Connectivity and, importantly, the internet have become a very important part of our lives. Work, entertainment, and information gathering heavily rely on the internet. Connectivity is about 71% lower in Germany than in America. A 50 Mbps or faster internet connection in Germany costs $38.62 in Germany and $67.11 in the US. In the US, a 1-minute local call without plans or discounts costs $0.15, and $0.11 in Germany.


Entertainment forms a large part of our lives and should be considered. Entertainment and sports cost 6.6% more in America than in Germany. Local beer in Germany costs $4.20 and $4.52 in America. In a mid-range area, cappuccino is sold for $3.31 in Germany and $4.18 in America.
After considering major categories like housing, feeding, and utilities, living in Germany is cheaper than in the US by 13.5%. The data used for this were generated from user reviews and price indices in April 2022.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.

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