Cost of Living in Canada vs US

May 22, 2023


  • Wesley Allan

Canada is one of the world's leading immigration destinations due to its concerted efforts to attract the most talented individuals worldwide that can contribute to the overall value and quality of the country's socio-economic life.

This led to the nation's prosperity over the years, as evidenced by the country's population growth. Canadian citizens and residents today share some of the world's highest living standards.

This further raises the country's profile among prospective international immigrants interested in starting a new life in the North American nation. One of the more prominent questions raised by this raised profile concerns the cost of living in Canada, seeing as it has such a high quality of life.

Canada and the United States of America (US) are considered tops when looking for a new country to relocate to, but that doesn't stop the questions. Is Canada expensive? Is Canada cheaper than US? Both countries have excellent employment opportunities and offer an outstanding quality of life, but it could be not easy to decide between them when you have stepped foot in either.

To find out, here is an examination of the costs of living in Canada vs US - which also has relatively high living standards.

The Cost of Living in Canada vs. US

Your USA or Canada cost of living depends on where you decide to live and your spending habits. Either way, you could live a very expensive or affordable life in either country.

To help you make an informed choice regarding your expected living costs in Canada relative to the US, we have compiled the following list of expenses in Canadian Dollars (CAD) compared to the same expense in the US.


Finding and securing affordable housing is most immigrants' top priority. A significant amount of the settlement funds and subsequent monthly income will go towards this expense. As a result, this is a massive factor in the cost of living in Canada vs US.


According to, the average rental prices in Canada vs USA are as follows:

Canada Cost of Living vs US - Rent Canada (CAD) US (CAD)
Rent for one bedroom (inside city center)  1,639.49  1,692.62
Rent for one bedroom (outside city center)  1,391.47  1,375.63
Rent for three bedrooms (inside city center) 2,704.62 3,028.40
Rent for three bedrooms (outside city center) 2,333.51 2,255.89


Housing is one of the most essential human needs since it provides shelter, safety, and security. Today, it is also one of the most secure investment forms since real estate property is a fixed asset.

Cost of living in Canada vs USA - Housing Canada (CAD) US (CAD)
Average price per square meter for an apartment in the city center 8,977.93 4,673.82
Average price per square meter for an apartment outside the city center 6,550.20 3,152.17


Canada has a much lower per capita healthcare expenditure compared to the US. This is because government taxes primarily fund Canada's system. As a result, Canadian citizens and permanent residents benefit from medical services such as:

  • Free hospital visits
  • Physical check-ups
  • PET scans
  • Emergency Medical services
  • Special care for special needs
  • All sundry medical services deemed necessary

Please note that Canada's public healthcare system does not cover medically prescribed drugs, dental services, and medical eyecare costs.

The healthcare costs in Canada compared to the US can as follows:


According to, Canada's total per capita healthcare cost measured from the most recent full year (2022) is CAD 8,563. This means that Canadian citizens and permanent residents pay, on average, CAD 8,563 per year and CAD 713.58 per month for their and their fellow Canadian's healthcare.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, the nation's total healthcare expenditure is approximately CAD 331 billion. This equates to roughly 13% of the national GDP.

United States

In comparison, the US spends approximately CAD 4,32 trillion, according to the American Medical Association's (AMA) most recent statistics. This is due to the much larger population (over 330 million). Still, much of it is also considered wasteful since the US does not have a publicly funded and free healthcare system.

According to the AMA, the per capita healthcare costs in the US equates to CAD 13,051. This is almost twice Canada's per capita health costs and is particularly significant given that the US. Has a much higher population.


Canada places a high value on educating its citizens and permanent residents. As such, the government provides primary, secondary, and tertiary education in which, much like healthcare, education is subsidized by the government through citizen and permanent resident taxes.

The costs of education in both countries, According to, are as follows:

  • Application fees: This figure varies in both countries, but in general, in the US, the figure is CAD 180, and in Canada, it ranges from as low as CAD 30 to CAD 200 in some elite, private institutions
  • Tuition fees: Canadian university tuition fees generally cost around 58% less than US tuition fees.
  • Healthcare: International students have to arrange their health insurance in the US and Canada, but if you are a permanent resident immigrant, you get the same healthcare benefits as Canadian citizens, unlike in the US.


Transportation is relatively advanced in both countries, with highly interconnected networks supported by rail, road, sea/rivers, and air. According to, the transportation costs in Canada and the  is as follows:

Cost of living in Canada vs US - Transport Canada (CAD) US (CAD)
Local One-Way Ticket Transport  3.25 2.50
Regular Price for a Monthly Pass  100.00 70.00
Normal Tariff at the Start of a Taxi Ride  4.25 3.50
Normal Tariff for One km Taxi Ride  2.00 1.68
Normal Tariff for a one-hour Taxi Ride  34.00 30.00
1 liter of Gasoline  1.77 1.00

This shows that while some transportation costs (regular monthly pass cost) are more expensive in Canada vs USA, the general trend is that most transportation costs are higher in the US than in Canada.


The Cost of Living in Canada vs. US
The capability to access healthy and affordable food is paramount but the busy lives of most individuals in Western society have eroded the practice of making home food. As such, it is relevant to use restaurants and fast food prices as a basis for comparison of food in both nations.

As per the statistics obtained from, the cost of food in both countries are as follows:

Canada Cost of Living vs US - Food Canada Cost (CAD) US Cost (CAD)
A meal in an Inexpensive Restaurant  22.00  26.79
Meal for 2 People at a Mid-range Restaurant with Three-courses  90.00 100.48
McMeal at McDonald's (or an equal deal)  12.00 13.40
Local Beer (0.5-litre draught)  7.00  8.04
Beer that is imported (0.33-litre bottle  8.00  8.71
A regular cappuccino  4.76  6.29
Coke or Pepsi for a 0.33-litre bottle  2.49  3.09
Water for a 0.33-litre bottle  2.08  2.45

So is Canada cheaper than US when it comes to food costs? The answer is a surprising yes.


Utilities, particularly water and electricity, are some of the most fundamental households that are generally used as a representative index for the affordability of a place. The comparative utility costs for Canada and the US, according to are:

Canada Cost of Living vs US - Utilities Canada (CAD) United States (CAD)
 Basic Utilities e.g Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage for 85m2 Apartment  197.56 246.86
 Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local for 1 minute (No Discounts or   Plans)  0.40 0.23
 60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL Internet   84.47   93.42

As the above statistics show, utility costs are higher in the US than in Canada.


The salaries an individual receives has a direct effect on the spending power of their

Average salaries in both countries, according to, are:

  • Canada Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax): CAD 4,074.50
  • US Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax): CAD 5,677.30

Pros and Cons of Living in Canada vs. USA

Pros and Cons of Living in Canada vs. USA

To help determine the better immigration destination, here are the pros and cons of living in Canada vs USA.


Pros Cons
Universal access to basic medical services
No health coverage for dental care, medical  prescriptions and eye care
High quality, subsidized public education
Cold climate
Affordable, well-maintained public transportation
Affordable housing
Lower population density
Relatively low crime rates compared to the US


Pros Cons
Higher salaries
High education costs
Greater variety of healthcare providers
Minimal subsidized education
Market leader in food variety
Minimal free healthcare provision
Highly competitive, expensive housing market

Canada vs USA - Which is Right for You

Canada vs USA - Which is Right for You
We recommend using the services of one of our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) to move to Canada. There are many possible mistakes that prospective immigrants can make in the process of applying for an immigration visa.

RCICs will ensure that you avoid all the pitfalls that can delay the speedy processing of your application or even cause it to fail. By providing guidance and facilitating your eligibility assessment, you can begin moving to Canada today with the help of our consultants.


Which Place in Canada has the Highest Quality of Life?

There is no generally accepted place, but Canada's most cited cities for having the highest quality of life include Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal.

Which City in Canada Provides the Most Vibrant Lifestyle?

This is dependent on your taste and definition. However, Toronto is considered Canada's center of music, film and television, and cultural events.

Which City in Canada Provides the Best Economic Opportunities?

Your eligibility, required skills, and type of industry will determine which city in Canada has the best economic opportunities for you. Look at some of these in-demand jobs to see which place in Canada has the best economic opportunities for you.