Cost of Living in Portugal vs. the US: An In-Depth Comparison

The Cost of Living in Portugal is significantly different from the United States, with the former offering a surprisingly affordable lifestyle without sacrificing the quality of life. This detailed comparison based on Numbeo and LivingCost data, highlights key factors like housing, groceries, healthcare, and education costs in both countries. This information is intended to provide insights for those considering relocating to Portugal from the US.

Hand with calculator calculating the cost of living in Portugal compared to the US

Overview of Cost of Living in Portugal vs US

While there are variables depending on specific locations and individual lifestyle choices, overall, the cost of living in Portugal is approximately 42% lower than that of the US. Our previous article on the cost of living in Portugal compared to the US provides a comprehensive view on this.

Housing Costs in the Cost of Living in Portugal

Housing costs in Portugal are generally significantly lower than in the US. A one-bedroom apartment in central Lisbon rents for around $900 on average, while the equivalent in Washington D.C. is about $2,000. More information on Portugal’s real estate market can be found in our guide on Portugal’s property investment opportunities.

Groceries Expenses: A Factor in the Cost of Living in Portugal

The cost of groceries in Portugal is considerably lower, especially when buying locally produced items like fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Portugal’s unique cuisine is a testament to the quality and affordability of these local products.

Healthcare Costs in Portugal vs US

Healthcare costs are significantly lower in Portugal compared to the US. Portugal’s healthcare system, ranked 12th globally by the World Health Organisation, offers both public and private options. More insights on healthcare in Portugal for expats can be found here.

US dollar bill on top of medical items representing healthcare cost

Education Costs: A Peek into the Cost of Living in Portugal

Education in Portugal is more affordable, with public schools being free for foreign residents and Portuguese citizens. An international school in Portugal can cost upwards of €6,000 per year, significantly lower than the US’s average cost of $35,000. For more information on education in Portugal for expats, visit this page.

Life in Portugal vs. the US

Life in Portugal comes with numerous advantages that go beyond just financial aspects. From a warm climate, rich culture, stunning landscapes to beautiful beaches, Portugal offers a high quality of life. More insights into this can be found in our article about Portugal’s notable lifestyle.

One aspect where Portugal shines is in the realm of public services. Portugal’s public transportation is significantly cheaper compared to the US, with a monthly pass in Portuguese cities costing less than €50, significantly lower than the US average.

Furthermore, Portugal ranks 12th in the Global Citizen Solutions’ Quality of Life Index, ahead of the USA which ranks 23rd. This index considers aspects such as cost of living, Sustainable Development Goals, freedom levels, happiness levels, migrant acceptance, and environmental performance.


The cost of living in Portugal is more affordable compared to the USA in various sectors. However, a move to a new country should not be decided solely based on cost, but should also consider lifestyle, culture, language, and community. If you’re considering a move, take a look at our article about the expat community in Portugal to get a feel for the vibrant and welcoming environment Portugal offers.

Although specific costs can vary based on location and lifestyle, Portugal’s overall lower cost of living, combined with its warm climate, cultural richness, and high-quality healthcare and education, make it a very attractive option for expats and a serious contender for those looking to relocate from the US.

With this comprehensive guide on the cost of living in Portugal compared to the US, potential expats can make a more informed decision about their next life-changing move.


AspectPortugalUnited States
Overall Cost of Living42% cheaper overall
Housing50% cheaper rents
GroceriesGenerally more affordable
HealthcareMore affordableHigher costs
EducationPublic schools are freeMore expensive
Restaurant PricesLowerHigher
TransportationCheaper public transportMore expensive
UtilitiesMore affordableHigher costs



Q1: Is Portugal cheaper to live in than the United States?
A: Yes, Portugal is significantly cheaper to live in compared to the United States, especially in the categories of housing, groceries, utilities, and transportation.

Q2: How much lower are the housing costs in Portugal compared to the US?
A: On average, housing in Portugal is about 50% cheaper than in the United States, making it an attractive option for expats.

Q3: What is the quality of healthcare in Portugal?
A: Portugal offers a high standard of healthcare that is often more affordable than in the US. It is well-regarded particularly for its excellent public healthcare system.

Q4: Are there good education opportunities in Portugal?
A: Yes, Portugal offers a good standard of education. Public schools are free and there are also a number of international schools for expats.

Q5: How does the cost of dining out compare between Portugal and the US?
A: Dining out in Portugal is typically cheaper than in the US. The cost of meals, drinks, and tips are generally lower in Portugal.