Average Cost Of Living In The USA In 2024

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The cost of living in the USA can be quite high, and many students from India who wish to study in the USA often face financial challenges. Do you know that the average cost of living in the USA is around INR 98,000 ($ 1,172) per month?

In recent years, the number of international students in the USA has grown by 12%, which is the largest single-year increase in more than 40 years. Despite this, according to the US embassy and consulates in India, more than 2.6 lakh students from India are currently pursuing higher education in the USA. 

This shows that while the cost of living in the USA may be high, it is still a popular destination for students from India. However, it is important to clearly understand the cost of living in the USA and how to manage expenses to avoid financial difficulties in advance before admitting to any top University in the USA.

In this blog, we will discuss various factors that contribute to Indian students’ cost of living in the USA and provide you with some tips to save money. Scroll down to clear your doubts regarding the cost of living in the USA.

At a Glance:

ParametersCosts
Avg Cost Of LivingINR 98,000 ($ 1,172)
Avg Rent In City CentreINR 1.47L ($ 1,768)
Avg Transportation Cost Monthly PassINR 6,000 ($72)
Avg Tuition FeeINR 9L ($ 10,789) – INR 68.7L ($ 83,360)
Top UniversitiesMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Harvard University
Stanford university 
Scholarships-Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellowship
-Tata Scholarship Fund
-Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships
Avg SalaryINR 3.8L ($4,571) per month
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Perks of Higher Education in the USA

  • High Salaries: The USA is known for its high-paying jobs in various fields. The average annual salary in the USA is approximately INR 3.8L ($4,571) per month. With a degree from a top university in the USA, you can expect to earn a higher salary than you would in many other countries.
  • Economy rate: The USA has the strongest economy, with 27,974 GDP (USD Billion), and is the wealthiest country in the world, which means there are plenty of job opportunities for graduates. This can make securing a job after graduation easier and help build a successful career.
  • Standard of living: The USA has a high standard of living with excellent infrastructure, healthcare services, and a diverse range of cultures. This makes it an attractive destination for students from all over the world.
  • Top universities: The USA is home to some of the best universities in the world, such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. Many USA Universities are ranked among the top 10 Universities in the world.
  • Campus life: American universities offer a unique campus experience with various clubs, societies, and extracurricular activities. This can help you build strong connections, develop new skills, and have fun while studying.
  • Flexibility: American universities offer a flexible education system, allowing you to choose your courses and create a personalised degree program that suits your interests and career goals.
  • Research opportunities: With state-of-the-art facilities and resources, American universities offer excellent research opportunities in various fields. This can help you gain valuable experience and contribute to groundbreaking research.
  • Global network: Studying in the USA can help you build a global network of contacts, which can be invaluable in your future career. You will meet people from all over the world and gain exposure to different cultures, perspectives, and ideas.

Average Cost Of Living In USA For Indian Students

As we all know, the cost of living in the USA for Indian students can be significantly higher than in any other country in the world. It is important to consider all the expenses involved when planning to study in the USA to avoid any financial difficulties. 

The average cost of living in the USA for an Indian student can range from INR 92,000 ($1,100) to INR 1L ($1,200) per month without rent, depending on the city and lifestyle. 

To help you understand the cost of living in the USA, here is a table of the factors that contribute to the overall cost of living:

ParametersCosts
Avg Transportation Cost (Monthly Pass)INR 6,000 ($72)
Avg Basic Utilities CostINR 17,000 ($ 206)
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan CostsINR 4,300 ($52)
Internet Plan CostsINR 5,900 ($ 71)
Health Insurance (per year)INR 58,000 ($ 700) – INR 92,000 ($11,00)
Avg Rent In the USA In City CentreINR 1.47L ($ 1,768)
Sourced By: Numbeo
Note: The costs mentioned in the table are approximate, and they may vary by location and currency exchange rates.

If you need further guidance and information regarding studies in the USA, download our app to get all your queries answered.

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Average Cost Of Living In The USA In 2024
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City-wise Cost Of Living in the USA

The cost of living in the USA varies from city to city. The cost of accommodation, transportation, food, and other expenses can be higher or lower depending on the city you are living in. 

For example, the cost of living in New York City is much higher than the cost of living in Dallas. This is because of the difference in the cost of rent, transportation, and other expenses. 

The cost of living in the USA can also vary depending on the lifestyle you choose. If you are looking for a luxurious lifestyle, you will need to spend more money than someone who is living a simple lifestyle. 

Below is a table of the top 5 cities in the USA and their average cost of living:

CitiesMiscellaneous Avg Rent per month
DallasINR 1L ($ 1,223)INR 1.5L ($ 1,815)
ChicagoINR 1L ($ 1273)INR 2L ($ 2,349)
Los AngelesINR 1.1L ($ 1,370)INR 2L ($ 2,486)
San Francisco INR 1.2L ($ 1,489)INR 2.6L ($ 3,162)
New York CityINR 1.3L ($ 1,649)INR 3.42L ($ 4,109)
Sourced By: Numbeo
Note: The costs mentioned in the table are approximate, and they may vary by location and currency exchange rates.

Cost of living in USA vs India

When considering the cost of living in the USA vs India, it is essential to note that the cost of living in the USA and the standard of living is significantly higher than that of India.

The average cost of living in the USA without rent is INR 98,000 ($ 1,172), whereas in India, the cost of living without rent is INR 28,000 ($ 335), which is 3.5 times lower than that of the USA

Although the cost of living in the USA may seem daunting, it is important to remember that the higher cost of living in the USA offers a better standard of living, value of education, better job opportunities, higher salaries and excellent healthcare facilities, which justifies its higher cost of living. 

Here is a table for a better understanding:

ParametersCosts in IndiaCosts in the USA
Avg Transportation Cost (Monthly Pass)INR 1,000 ($ 12)INR 6,000 ($72)
Avg Basic Utilities CostINR 3,500 ($ 42)INR 17,000 ($ 206)
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan CostsINR 312 ($ 3.74)INR 4,300 ($52)
Internet Plan CostsINR 700 ($ 8.39)INR 5,900 ($ 71)
Health Insurance (per year)INR 4,000 ($ 48) – INR 7000 ($ 84)INR 58,000 ($ 700) – INR 92,000 ($11,00)
Avg Rent In City CentreINR 17,400 ($ 208)INR 1.47L ($ 1,768)

Average Salaries in the USA vs India

When it comes to salary, the difference between India and the USA is quite noteworthy. The average salary in India is around INR 51,000 ($611) per month, whereas in the USA, the average salary is around INR 3.8L ($4,571) per month.

This means that the average salary in the USA is almost 7 times higher than the salaries in India. This difference is mainly due to the difference in the cost of living and the economy of both countries. 

However, it is important to note that the salaries can vary depending on the profession and industry.

Here is a table of the top 5 professions and their average annual salary in both India and the USA. 

JobsAvg Salary in IndiaAvg Salary in the USA
TeacherINR 3L ($ 3,596)INR 57L ($ 68,787)
Software EngineerINR 7.5L ($ 8991)INR 1.2Cr ($ 1,43,268)
LawyerINR 5.5L ($ 6,593)INR 1.4Cr ($ 1,70,246)
DoctorINR 51.2L ($ 61,140)INR 2.2 Cr ($ 2,70,376)
PilotINR 56L ($ 67,135)INR 2.7Cr ($ 2,49,138)
Sourced By: Glassdoor
Note: The salaries mentioned in the table are approximate. They may vary by location, experience and recruiter.

Top 5 Universities in the USA

The USA is home to more than 4,000 educational institutions, making it one of the most popular study destinations in the world.

According to the QS World Universities 2024 ranking, #4 USA universities rank among the top 10 universities in the world, while #6 universities are among the top 20. This highlights the quality of education and the reputation of the USA universities worldwide. 

Studying at one of these universities can provide numerous benefits, such as excellent faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, a diverse student body, and a global network of contacts. Additionally, a degree from one of these universities can help you secure high-paying jobs and build a successful career. 

Here are the top 5 universities in the USA, along with their average tuition fees:

University NameTuition Fee 
Princeton UniversityINR 47.8L ($ 57,304)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)INR 48L ($ 57,544) 
Northwestern University INR 52.4L ($ 62,819)
University of ChicagoINR 53L ($ 63,538)
Harvard UniversityINR 62.4L ($ 74,807)
Stanford university INR 68.7L ($ 83,360)
Note: The tuition fees mentioned in the table are approximate. They may vary by course and currency exchange rates.

Top 5 Affordable Universities in the USA

Attending a top university is a dream for many students, but the high tuition fees and cost of living in the USA can often be a barrier. However, there are many affordable universities in the USA that offer quality education without financial constraints. 

These universities have lower tuition fees and still provide an excellent academic experience. When considering the cost of living in the USA, it is essential to consider the tuition fees of the universities as well. 

Here are the top 5 affordable universities in the USA with their average tuition fees:

UniversitiesAvg Annual Tuition Fees
Elizabeth City State UniversityINR 9L ($ 10,789)
Brigham Young University    INR10L ($ 11,988) – INR 11L ($13,187)
Arkansas Tech UniversityINR 12L ($ 14,386)
California State University INR 12 ($ 14,386) – 15L ($ 19,982)
Minot State University  INR 14L($ 16,783) – INR 16L ($ 19,181)
Note: The tuition fees mentioned in the table are subject to change and may vary depending on the course and program.

Also readAffordable Universities in the USA

Top courses in the USA for Indian students

Studying in the USA can offer students a distinctive and rewarding experience, enabling them to explore a variety of viewpoints and cultures while also giving them chances for individual and career development.

Here are some of the top courses for Indian students to pursue in the USA across different fields:

FieldCourses
Business-BBA
-BMS
-MBA
-MS In Finance
-MS in Business Analytics
EngineeringCivil Engineering
-Mechanical Engineering
-MS in Computer Science
-MS in Electrical Engineering
-MS in Mechanical Engineering
Healthcare-Pharmacy
-Medical Science
-MS in Public Health
-MS in Nursing
-MS in Healthcare Administration
Education-BEd Special Education
-BA (Hons) Childhood
-MS in Education
-MA in Teaching
-PhD in Education
Arts and Humanities-BA LLB
-BAJMC
-MA in English
-MA in History
-MFA in Creative Writing 
Science and Technology-Computer Science
-BCA
-MS in Data Science
-MS in Biotechnology
-MS in Environmental Science

Cost Of Living In USA: Scholarships

Scholarships in the USA for Indian students are an excellent way to manage the high cost of living in the USA while pursuing higher education. 

Many universities and organisations offer scholarships to international students, including Indian students, based on:

  • Academic merit
  • Financial need 

These scholarships can help cover:

  • Tuition fees
  • Accommodation expenses
  • Living costs

Scholarships can reduce the burden on students and their families in the USA. 

Here are the top  scholarships in the USA for Indian students:

  • Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellowship
  • Tata Scholarship Fund
  • Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships
  • Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships for Indian Students
  • Harvard Business School Boustany MBA Scholarship
  • The Wharton School’s Joseph Wharton Fellowships
  • Central Sector Scheme of National Overseas Scholarship
  • Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program

Eligibility Criteria For Scholarships In The USA

Indian students who want to study for their undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral degree in the USA with a scholarship must meet specific eligibility criteria. While each university may have its own requirements, some fundamental criteria are consistent across all institutions.

Here are some of the standard eligibility criteria for scholarships in the USA for Indian students:

  • A Bachelor’s degree from a recognised university
  • A good GMAT score or GRE score
  • A minimum of 2-3 years of work experience
  • English proficiency test scores (TOEFL or IELTS)
  • LOR (Letters of recommendation)
  • SOP (Statement of purpose)
  • CV
  •  Application fee

It is advisable to check the specific requirements of each university before applying to ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria.

Need more clarity regarding the scholarships in the USA for Indian students?

Tips To Make The Cost Of Living In The USA More Affordable

Living in the USA can be expensive, especially for Indian students who are studying abroad. However, there are several ways to make the cost of living more affordable. 

Here are some tips that can help:

  • Look for affordable housing options such as sharing an apartment with other students or renting a room instead of an entire apartment.
  • Plan your budget in advance and stick to it as much as possible.
  • Cook your meals at home instead of eating out regularly. This can help you save a lot of money in the long run.
  • Use public transportation instead of owning a car. Public transportation is cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
  • Make use of student discounts that are available in various stores and restaurants.
  • Opt for a part-time job or an internship to earn some extra income and gain valuable work experience.
  • Avoid unnecessary expenses such as buying expensive clothes or gadgets that you don’t really need.

By following these tips, you can make the cost of living in the USA more affordable and manage your expenses effectively.

Final Thoughts

While the cost of living in the USA may be high, it is still worth considering if you have a dream of studying abroad. The USA offers a high standard of living, excellent education, and numerous job opportunities for graduates.

With proper planning and budgeting, you can manage your expenses while studying in the USA. Also, Leapscholar is here to help you with their study abroad consultancy services and education loans for the USA.

So, don’t let the cost of living interfere with achieving your dreams. Apply now and experience the best education and campus life in the USA!

And if you’re considering other options like the UK, Canada and Australia, we’ve got you covered, too. Schedule a free consultation with our experts today for personalised guidance and advice.

Here are some related Articles:

Cost of Living in Canada
Cost of living in the Netherlands
Cost of Living in the UK
Cost of Living in Australia
Cost of living in Ireland

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. What is the average cost of living in the US per month?

    A. The average cost of living in the USA without rent is approximately INR 98,000 ($1,172) per month. This includes expenses such as transportation, basic utilities, mobile phone and internet plans. However, the cost of living can vary depending on the city and lifestyle.

  • Q. What is the average cost of living in Virginia USA?

    A. The average cost of living in Virginia, USA, is around INR 40L ($48,249) per year. This includes expenses like utilities, food, transportation, and other basic necessities. However, the cost of living may vary depending on the city or town within Virginia. It is always advisable to plan your budget accordingly before moving to Virginia to avoid any financial difficulties.

  • Q. What is the average cost of living in Dallas USA?

    A. The average cost of living in Dallas, USA, is around INR 1L ($1,223) per month without rent. This includes basic utility costs, transportation costs, and mobile phone and internet plans. It is essential to research and plan accordingly to manage expenses and avoid financial difficulties while studying or living in Dallas.

  • Q. What is the cost of living in USA for an Indian family?

    A. The cost of living in the USA for an Indian family can vary depending on several factors, such as location, lifestyle, and family size. On average, it can range from INR 3.5L ($ 4,174) per month without rent. However, this amount can increase, particularly if you live in a city centre or opt for a high-end lifestyle.

  • Q. How can Indian students cut down the cost of living in the USA?

    A. Indian students can cut down the cost of living in the USA by choosing affordable accommodation options, cooking their meals instead of eating out, using public transportation instead of taxis, and taking advantage of student discounts for entertainment and other expenses.

  • Q. Do USA’s Universities offer scholarships to International students?

    A. Yes, many universities in the USA offer scholarships to international students. These scholarships are designed to help ease the financial burden of studying in the USA. Some of the top scholarships for Indian students in the USA are Fulbright-Nehru, Research Fellowship, Tata Scholarship Fund and Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships. These scholarships are highly competitive, and students must meet certain academic and extracurricular criteria to be considered.

  • Q. Which city is best for Indian students to live in the USA?

    A. Every city in the USA is best for Indian students. It depends on factors such as budget, university, and lifestyle preferences. However, some popular choices among Indian students include New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago. It is essential to research and compare the costs of living in different cities before making a decision.

  • Q. What is the average annual salary in the USA?

    A. The average annual salary in the USA is approximately INR 45.6L ($ 54,739). However, the actual average salary may vary depending on various factors such as industry, job type, and experience level.

  • Q. What are the top universities in the USA where Indian students can pursue higher education?

    A. There are many top universities in the USA where Indian students can pursue higher education. Some of the most popular ones include: 
    -Harvard University
    -Stanford University
    -Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    -California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

    These universities are renowned for their excellent academic programs, world-class faculty, and research opportunities.

  • Q. How much is the rent in the USA per month?

    A. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the USA is approximately INR 1.47L ($1,768). However, it’s important to note that the cost of living can vary significantly from state to state and city to city. For example, the average rent in New York City is much higher than in other parts of the country. So, it’s always best to research the specific location you’re interested in to get an accurate idea of the average cost of rent.

  • Q. Which city in the USA has the highest cost of living?

    A. New York City is widely considered one of the most expensive cities in the USA. The cost of living in New York City is approximately INR 1.3L ($ 1,649), significantly higher than the national average, with housing, food, and transportation being some of the biggest expenses. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in New York City is around INR 3.42L ($ 4,109). However, it’s important to note that the cost of living can vary depending on the lifestyle of the individual.


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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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