Cost of Living: China vs. the United States

Recently many commodity prices have reached a record high degree in China; the inflation has reached unbearable level. We take a look at prices of the USA and China and let us see which nation’s goods are cheaper.

Recently, a post goes viral online among Chinese netizens, it says that according to the purchasing power, the living cost of China has exceeded that of the United States.

USD and RMB

In order to objectively and fairly examine if China’s prices are higher or lower than the USA, the author investigated commodity prices and family food expenditures with an American friend.

In 2010, American’s average annual income is USD36,300  and Chinese USD4,700 ,  the United States is almost 8 times of China.    

In order to have a clear comparison, here we suppose Chinese can earn the same income with Americans -8,000 a month, let us make a comparison.

BenzIn the United States Mercedes-Benz E-320 costs $50000, the equivalent of six months wages.

In China Mercedes-Benz E-RMB320, 980000, equivalent to 10 years wages for Chinese.

A pair of Italian shoes in the United Statesis about $50,  In China is 500.

house rent A three-bedroom rent in the United States, about 1,000.

A three-bedroom rent in China, about 2000

McDonald’s Big Mac: In the United States , $4.  In China, RMB20.

A good set of suits: In the United States about  $500 or so.

In China, RMB2000 is not enough.

In the United States an Apple G5 computer is $1500.

In China at least RMB30,000.

In the United States 500Kg of  lean pork, $3.

In China the same thing costs RMB20.

birthday cake chinaIn the United States a big birthday cake,  $20.

In China a large birthday cake RMB200.

In the United States a box of Haagen-Dazs: $3

In China a box of Haagen-Dazs: RMB60

Holiday Inn ChinaIn the United States Holiday Inn (four-star hotel): $70 or $80

In China, Holiday Inn: RMB800

gas china and usaIn the United States a tank of gas: $30 is sufficient.

In China to fill a tank of gas: RMB300

250 square meters house in the United States:  almost  $500,000.

250 square meters in China: about RMB5 million.

phone fee china and usaIn the United States for basically you can call as much as you can with $50 per month.

In China you can do the same thing with as much as RMB5000.

Watching a new popular movie   in the United States children:  $8

Movie in China: RMB80

Buy a cashmere sweater in the United States: almost $ 100.

Buy a cashmere sweater in China: almost 1,000 yuan.

13 Responses

  1. Nick says:

    Interesting comparison, would be more useful to see each cost expressed in both USD and RMB

    And to include median monthly or annual salary

    • James Buckner says:

      If income is $36k in US and $4.7k in China it is stupid to compare $8k per month or $96k per year income in both countries.
      The average Chinese can live on $4.7K
      $4,700/52= $90 a week/50hr=$1.80per hour.
      The norm of transportation in China is by foot and bike. Figuring how a average Chinese person could buy a Mercedes is like a average US person buying a three million dollar Yacht.
      Free trade with China means we will eventually have zero manufacturing jobs in the US and eventually have to give US states to China to pay our debt.
      Adding a 7% or 9% duty would even the imbalance and provide a fair chance to have manufacturing in the US.

      • A Chinese says:

        Eh..As a Chinese, i want to say the norm of transportation in China is drive the car and taxi or bus, some people will walk but no one like to ride bike, I mean, most people don’t ride bike

  2. China Whisper says:

    The average annual income is USD36,300 for American and USD4,700 for Chinese, the United States is almost 8 times of China.

  3. Some Guy says:

    This is the very reason I’m going back to USA at the end of the year. cannot handle this country anymore.

  4. No name says:

    It would be easier to compare if you had also changed the price for the same products in China into USD, or presented the average wage in RMB instead… Also, you should note that almost all the products you presented were not local products. Obviously, western products will cost more than local products. In addition, one should take in account the fact that you are using an average salary, but not the fact that the average Chinese family will live off all these Western products. If you take a look at the local equivalents of these products, the costs are much lower.

  5. Meigouren says:

    Your prices for USA is way to low. And the picture you show for the hotel…wtf. You haven’t been to the usa…80 dollars gets you a motel…fucking cheap place in america.

    3 bedroom house for 1000…where and in what small ass down, and the price of a house, that is too low.

    your metric are off. And a birthday day is not 20 bucks.

    you also Fastfood in the usa cost about 6 dollars for a meal.

    What is your political motive?

    • Some Guy says:

      shut your face Meigouren, these prices are correct, I just came back from 2 weeks Las Vegas trip, I stayed at MGM Grand Hotel (4.5 stars), Golden Nugget (4 stars) etc. MGM was $40 (low season) per night for me, and Golden Nugget was $60 per night, these are luxury suites.

      as for fast food, these prices are also correct, in las vegas In&Out Burgers I can get a burger easily for 2.99, 3.99 here. whats your problem?

      3 bedroom house for 1000? sounds about right to me, I was renting a house stay for $600 per month back in Toronto, Canada.

      so fuck off please, you need you learn how to spend your money wisely, no wonder all you fat american fuckers are bankrupt these days.

    • Infinitelyeternal says:

      You obviously didn’t ACTUALLY read this article.
      The house is listed at $500,000 not $1000. Yes you can get a room in a holiday inn for around $70 – $80 a night, I’ve done it myself.

      The article also said a birthday CAKE not a birthday costs around $20 and a BIG MAC not a meal was around $4, all of which is 100% accurate.

      What is your political motive?

  6. Bedlam says:

    Writer of this article apparently has never really been to the USA if they think those prices are correct.

    Also, if you’re going to do a comparison keep the metric the same FFS.

  7. chinese says:

    stop criticizing the guy and face the truth! it is going to be a very hard life in China if the Chinese government keep undervalue the RMB, most people are gonna live in poverty and that is a fact.

  8. lol says:

    whites are filthy monkeys

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