The Rising China, one may also think that being second-largest economy of the world, the living cost in China must be on the rise as well. Although, it may be somewhat true but China remains to be one of the cheapest places to live in comparison to other most industrialized countries. 


With the increased purchasing power, ESL teachers can afford a much more comfortable lifestyle in most of China’s major cities for less than $1,000 per month. You’ll find more room for luxury and more spending. However, the location is an important factor to consider other than the lifestyle when it comes to the cost of living, as choosing different cities will result in different salary. Here is a breakdown of the cost of living in different locations according to China’s tier system. 

The Rising China


For ESL teachers the housing is almost always provided by the schools with a few exceptions when schools rather pay a stipend that you can use to find your own housing. If you are renting your own room or apartment, then this will be your biggest outlay each month other than the basic monthly utilities including water, heating, electricity and internet. The cost varies from city and should be a factor in mind.

  • Renting a private apartment in the city centre
  • Renting a shared apartment in the city centre
  • Renting a private apartment in the Countryside
  • The utility bills


Depending on where you live, you’ll encounter all sorts of big shopping centres in China. Most of the stores have a section for westerners if you have a craving for a favourite product you get at home and should also be able to find the toiletries you use back at home. However, a part of living in a new country is to try new things and such you should apply that to your grocery shopping as well.

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Dairy
  • Toiletries
  • Other grocery items
  • Beer
  • Wine


The transport in China is cheap, efficient and very modern. It is easy to get around with diverse choice of local transport including extensive bus network, subway metro systems, taxis and other local transport such as motor pedicabs. All the large regional cities are connected with trains and numerous high-speed rail services.

  • Taxi/Didi
  • Metro
  • Bus
  • High Speed Train

Leisure Activities

When it comes to entertainment there are numerous options in China as people have more disposable income. All the cities have a wide selection of activities to choose from depending on the interest and taste. Cinemas which feature newly released English Language films, foreign bars and clubs with reasonable prices for drinks, getting a gym membership, visiting historical, cultural and scenic sites. Also, people hardly cook food at home and prefer to dine out or order a delivery.

  • Eating in a restaurant
  • Food delivery
  • Movies
  • Museums
  • Park
  • Scenic Spots
  • Gym membership

All the figures in the table are approximate only and can vary