What is the cost of living in Spain?

Coste de vida

Table of Contents

Whether you want to study in the country or simply live there for employment or other reasons, one of the aspects to take into account when migrating to Spain is the cost of living. When we talk about the cost of living, we are referring to housing, food, water and electricity, transport, among other things, including leisure and other aspects that make up people’s quality of life. That is why, below, we are going to tell you about the cost of living in Spain. 

Differences by region

To simply talk about the cost of living in Spain can be a mistake, because it will be different in each of the regions. Certainly, although they are the most sought after, the most expensive places to live in are Barcelona and Madrid, with this difference being found mainly in the cost of renting housing.

For example, while a one-bedroom flat in the centre of Barcelona can cost around 750 € per month, the same size apartment in Zaragoza can cost 540 € per month. Cities such as Zaragoza, Valencia, Bilbao and Oviedo tend to be more affordable than the larger cities in the country. 

placa ajuntament in valencia spain

Average prices of basic products

In order to get an idea of what the cost of living in Spain will be, it is necessary to know the current price range of basic products. Therefore, although, as we have said, this can change according to each region and city, the average prices in the country for some basic products are:

  • 1 kg of chips: between 0.50 and 2 euros.
  • 1 kg of chicken fillets: between 3 and 8.5 euros
  • 12 eggs: between 1.2 and 3 euros
  • Half a litre of domestic beer: between 1.5 and 3 euros
  • Internet of 60 Mbps or more: between 29 and 52 euros
  • Basic services for an 85 m2 flat: between 80 and 200 euros
  • A 3-course meal for 2 people in a mid-range restaurant: between 30 and 80 euros.

Another aspect to consider is that public transport in Spain is well developed, making it possible to reach different points without the need for a private vehicle and at a low cost. In addition, medical care is public, free and universal, which reduces the budget for medical consultations and treatments. 

Main cost of living differences between Spain and the US

One of the most common comparisons when deciding whether or not to live in Spain for study or other purposes is between the cost of living in Spain and the United States. Statistically, most of the things that make up the cost of living are cheaper in Spain than in the United States, averaging 29.60% lower. In the particular case of income, this difference already reaches 51.94%. 

According to data published by Expatisan, Madrid, as the capital of Spain, is up to 32% cheaper than Washington DC, the capital of the United States. This index incorporates factors such as housing, food, transport, clothing, personal care and entertainment. On the other hand, if we take New York as a case in point, this city is up to 67% more expensive than Madrid.


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