Cost of Living in Each State Compared to European Countries

Ever dreamed of packing up and moving to Europe? It’s a romantic notion, and while it might feel unrealistic or just short of a pipe dream, those lush landscapes and alluring architecture could be closer than you might think.

The Cost of Living From one Place to Another

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To examine the cost-of-living comparisons between America’s fifty states and European countries, SmartAsset studied the data for basic monthly costs for one adult in 2023.

U.S. States Versus Europe

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The goal was to find which of the 38 European countries would reflect most similarly to each American state, boiling down to the last dollar.

The Euro is The Champion

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The euro has, for the most part, eclipsed the American dollar for the entirety of its existence.

It held firm between June 2002 and July 2022, valued higher than the American dollar.

Comparable Currencies

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And while the value currently sits at 1.07 USD, overall, the two currencies are somewhat comparable. 

Which States are Most Expensive?

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To analyze cost of living comparisons, first, the cost of living must be determined.

According to SmartAsset, the most expensive states to live in are Hawaii, California, New York, and Massachusetts. 

The European Equivalent

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Recorded as one of the happiest and most peaceful countries in the world, Denmark offers a beautiful landscape, culture, and history.

And for the same price for a poky apartment in West Village, what’s to say a studio in Copenhagen is out of the question?

The European Equivalent

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With an estimated monthly cost of about 3,150 dollars, the most expensive four states were comparable with just one European country: Denmark. 

Which States are Least Expensive?

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If 3000 dollars feels out of your price range, other options are available.

SmartAsset recorded the most inexpensive American states as Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, all of which settled with an average monthly cost of 2,290 dollars. 

The European Equivalent

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These states are significantly cheaper when compared directly to another European country: Belgium.

And though you may have to learn one of Belgium’s three national languages (French, Dutch, or German), there is still an excess of things to enjoy about the country.

Belgium Vs. The Cheapest States In The U.S.

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Belgium is small but home to the European Union capital, Brussels.

Filled with rich history, including many medieval castles and architecture, Belgium is a hub for chocolate, waffles, and beer.

Mid Range Comparisons

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SmartAsset additionally found that middle-of-the-range states like Vermont and North and South Carolina were comparable with living in Germany.

Others, like Nebraska and Michigan, found equal ground with the small nation of Malta. 

Mid Range Comparisons

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As for Texas, America’s second-largest state, at an average monthly cost of 2,555 dollars, Finland would be an apt comparison. 

Cost Of Living Gap


The cost-of-living gap in Europe is far larger than that in the United States.

While America’s most expensive and cheapest states (Hawaii and Kentucky) share a gap of under 2,000 dollars, Europe’s most costly is Switzerland at 4,059 dollars.

Cost Of Living Gap

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At the same time, Europe’s poorest, Bosnia, is only 900 dollars per month, establishing a gap of over 3000 dollars.

Europe Is Cheaper

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Ultimately, Europe is cheaper, with 26 countries costing less per month than America’s most inexpensive state (Kentucky).

That means France, Spain, Sweden, and even Italy are softer on the wallet for the budget-conscious. What’s not to love about that?

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This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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