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For a long time now Americans have been heading to China for job opportunities. Most of them are attracted by China’s fast-growing economy and lower unemployment rate compared to the US. A lot of these expats work as English teachers because of the ever increasing demand for learning English by students of all ages from kindergarten to adults. A common question from people considering moving to China to teach is related to cost of living, as the salary is usually lower than what it would be in The States. Considering that foreign English teachers in China can earn up to 2 or 3 times more than the locals, their salary can go a very long way when it comes to purchasing power in the country. Aside from their salaries, most English schools in China even offer additional benefits including round trip airfare allowance and free housing.

 

Renminbi-Currency-ValuationTo give you a better idea, we have created a table comparing the cost of living between China and the United States. With the help of Numbeo, we were able to gather information on the costs of basic necessities between the two countries. Cost of living vary somewhat from city to city so we have picked 2 major cities in each country and also included a third-tier city in China to provide you a wider perspective.

 

Salary

Beijing

First- Tier City

Hangzhou

Third- Tier City

China New York US
Salaries and Financing
Average Monthly Disposable Salary for Locals (After Tax) 6,105 CNY

978 USD

4,939 CNY

790 USD

4,357 CNY

697 USD

28,392 CNY

4,551 USD

20,474 CNY

3,75 USD

Range of Salary of English Teachers in China (depending on the school and the teacher’s qualifications) 9-000 – 16,000 CNY

1,440 – 2,560 USD

7,000 – 16,000 CNY

1,120 – 2,560 USD

 

Food

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The cost of food is one of the important ways to compare the cost of living between two countries according to Amber D. Walker. Since China has a vast amount of agricultural resources, food in China costs are a lot lower than the US. You may choose from pages of pages of delicious Chinese cuisines as well as your favorite food from home. You can literally afford to eat out for every meal 3 or more times a day. A fancy restaurant may of course cost two or three times more than normal restaurants though. According to Numbeo, restaurant prices in the United States are 75 % higher than in China and grocery prices are 52% more expensive compared to China.

 

Beijing

 

Hangzhou China New York US
Restaurants          
Inexpensive meals 30.00 CNY

4.81 USD

28.50 CNY

4.56 USD

24.00 CNY

3.84 USD

93.57 CNY

15.00 USD

62.50 CNY

10.00 USD

Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three course 150 CNY

24.05 USD

135.00 CNY

21.60 USD

150.00 CNY

24.00 USD

467.85 CNY

75.00 USD

281.25 CNY

45.00 USD

Combo meal at fast food restaurants 28.00 CNY

4.49 USD

27.50 CNY

4.40 USD

27.00 CNY

4.32 USD

46.79 CNY

7.50 USD

40.62 CNY

6.50 USD

Soda- .33 liter per bottle 4.19 CNY

0.67 USD

4.19 CNY

0.67 USD

3.47 CNY

0.56 USD

11.09 CNY

1.78 USD

9.96 CNY

1.59 USD

Water .33 liter per bottle 2.26 CNY

0.36 USD

2.30 CNY

0.37 USD

2.16 CNY

0.34 USD

9.69 CNY

1.55 USD

7.96 CNY

1.27 USD

Markets
Milk 12.00 CNY

1.92 USD

15.50 CNY

2.48 USD

13.13 CNY

2.10 USD

8.68 CNY

1.39 USD

6.24 CNY

1.00 USD

Loaf of Fresh White Bread 500g 10.35 CNY

1.66 USD

9.77 CNY

1.56 USD

10.38 CNY

1.66 USD

17.64 CNY

2.83 USD

15.06 CNY

2.41 USD

Rice White 1 kg 6.88 CNY

1.10 USD

7.23 CNY

1.16 USD

6.50 CNY

1.04 USD

18.92 CNY

2.96 USD

18.33 CNY

2.93 USD

Eggs (per dozen) 12.46 CNY

2.00 USD

10.50 CNY

1.68 USD

11.62 CNY

1.86 USD

18.92 CNY

3.03 USD

14.20 CNY

2.27 USD

Local Cheese (per kg) 85.38 CNY

13.69 USD

102.00 CNY

16.32 USD

92.31 CNY

15.09 USD

65.32 CNY

10.47 USD

58.90 CNY

9.42 USD

Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless) (per kg) 26.32 CNY

4.22 USD

25.00 CNY

4.00 USD

25.89 CNY

4.14 USD

54.78 CNY

8.78 USD

48.47 CNY

7.76 USD

Apples 1 kg 13.90 CNY

2.23 USD

14.00 CNY

2.24 USD

11.26 CNY

1.80 USD

26.05 CNY

4.18 USD

23.49 CNY

3.76 USD

Tomato 1kg 8.11 CNY

1.30 USD

12.00 CNY

1.92 USD

8.18 CNY

1.31 USD

28.19 CNY

4.52 USD

23.47 CNY

3.75 USD

Lettuce 1kg 4.14 CNY

0.66 USD

9.00 CNY

1.44 USD

4.20 CNY

0.67 USD

14.80 CNY

2.35 USD

9.85 CNY

1.58 USD

Water 1.5 liter bottle 4.58 CNY

0.73 USD

4.67 CNY

0.75 USD

3.85 CNY

0.62 USD

12.03 CNY

1.93 USD

10.99 CNY

1.76 USD

Bottle of Wine Mid-Range 98.00  CNY

15.71 USD

117.50 CNY

18.80 USD

80.00 CNY

12.80 USD

93.57 CNY

15.00 USD

75.00 CNY

12.00 USD

Domestic Beer 0.5 liter 4.30 CNY

0.69 USD

6.30 CNY

1.01 USD

4.65 CNY

0.74 USD

10.88 CNY

1.74 USD

14.40 CNY2.30 USD
Imported Beer 0.33 liter bottle 17.04 CNY

2.73 USD

13.33 CNY

2.13 USD

13.86 CNY

2.22 USD

15.74 CNY

2.52 USD

20.48 CNY

3.28 USD

 

Rent

Flats in ShanghaiRent varies depending on which city you are living in. It costs relatively higher in cosmopolitan cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, New York or Washington DC. Third tier cities in China can cost a lot less compared to the same kind of place in the US or first tier cities in China. Rent prices in the United States are higher compared to China by 56% according to Numbeo.

 

  Beijing Hangzhou China New York US
Rent per month
Apartment 1-br in City Centre 5,690.02 CNY

912.15 USD

3,500.00 CNY

560.01 USD

3,775.77 CNY

604.13 USD

17,700.88 CNY

2,837.59 USD

6,274.87 CNY

1,004.00 USD

Apartment 1-br Outside of Centre 3,235.78 CNY

518.72 USD

1,950.00 CNY

312.00 USD

2,152.95 CNY

344.48 USD

10,557.82 CNY

1,692.50 USD

4,740.77 CNY

758.54 USD

Apartment 3br in City Centre 14,142.85 CNY

2,267.21 USD

8,160.00 CNY

1,305.62 USD

8,391.98 CNY

1,342.74 USD

30,682.15 CNY

4,918.59 USD

10,764.01 CNY

7,722.27 USD

Apartment 3br Outside of Centre 6,939.66 CNY

1,112.48 USD

4,400.00 CNY

704.01 USD

4,719.37 CNY

755.11 USD

20,079.86 CNY

3,218.96 USD

8,078.43 CNY

1,292.57 USD

Utilities

Electricity, gas, water and Internet service costs more than twice in the United States compared to China.

 

Beijing Shanghai Hangzhou China Washington New York US
Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, water, garbage) for 85 m2 apartment 372.80 CNY

59.76 USD

358.62 CNY

57.49 USD

248.66 CNY

39.79 USD

345.51 CNY

55.28 USD

1,024.66 CNY

164.26 USD

947.02 CNY

151.81 USD

1,009.47 CNY

161.52 USD

1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 0.42 CNY

0.07 USD

0.22 CNY

0.04 USD

0.35 CNY

0.06 USD

0.34 CNY

0.05 USD

0.69 CNY

0.11 USD

1.02 CNY

0.16 USD

0.94 CNY

0.15 USD

Internet (6 mbps, unlimited Data, Cable/ Adsl 121.14 CNY

19.42 USD

139.06 CNY

22.29 USD

140.00 CNY

22.40 USD

118.87 CNY

19.02 USD

311.90 CNY

50.00 USD

308.40 CNY

49.44 USD

288.68 CNY

46.35 USD

 

Transportation

Shanghai MetroThe local transportation is higher in the United States by almost 525% compared to China. A one-kilometer cab ride can also be 300% more expensive in the US despite the gasoline costing 24% more in China compared to the United States. If you are thinking of buying a car though, US is cheaper by 19% because of the high tax imposed by the government on purchasing vehicles in China.

 

 

Beijing Shanghai Hangzhou China Washington New York US
Transportation
One- way ticket Local Transport 2.00 CNY

0.32 USD

3.00 CNY

0.48 USD

2.50 CNY

0.40 USD

2.00 CNY

0.32 USD

13.10 CNY

2.10 USD

15.60 CNY

2.50 USD

12.50 CNY

2.00 USD

Gasoline 1 liter 8.09 CNY

1.30 USD

7.98 CNY

1.28 USD

7.87 CNY

1.26 USD

7.93 CNY

1.27 USD

6.29 CNY

1.01 USD

6.62 CNY

1.06 USD

5.99 CNY

0.96 USD

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90KW Trendline (or Equivalent New Car) 159,641.60 CNY

25,591.79 USD

150,000 CNY

24,046.17 USD

158,747.46 CNY

25,400.00 USD

150,000 CNY

24,800.40 USD

116,962.50 CNY

18,750.00 USD

143,474 CNY

23,000 USD

124,998 CNY

20,000.00 USD

Sports and Leisure
Fitness Club, Monthly fee for adults 316.67 CNY

50.76 USD

276.67 CNY

44.35 USD

250.00 CNY

40.00 USD

242.35 CNY

38.78 USD

442.89 CNY

71.00 USD

581.62 CNY

93.24 USD

245.54 CNY

39.29 USD

Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 80.00 CNY

12.82 USD

80.00 CNY

12.82 USD

100.00 CNY

16.00 USD

70.00 CNY

11.20 USD

74.86 CNY

12.00 USD

87.33 CNY

14.00 USD

62.50 CNY

10.00 USD

 

As the cost of living in China is much lower than that in the US including the generous salaries and excellent benefits such as free accommodation and sometimes even free meals during working hours, working in China can offer you a comfortable living condition. If you like to travel, China has a lot of wonderful places to visit at a very low cost. You will also have the opportunity to visit neighboring countries in Asia with cheap airfare tickets. If you are good in managing your finances, you may even save a good amount of money before you go back to your home country.

China has a lot to offer. If you are interested in learning more about their culture first hand while making a difference to the lives of students, ask us today on how you can begin this adventure. Teach English in China and be part of one of the fastest changing countries in the world. We offer a wide variety of high paying English teaching jobs in different major cities in China. Apply now.

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ESL Jobs in China

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