The cost of living in New Zealand vs the United States

United States By Christy Lowry Dec 11, 2023

New Zealand hosts a diverse array of cultures: the indigenous Māori people, Europeans, Asian, and Pacific Islander populations call this country home. The diverse culture and breathtaking scenery – beaches, glaciers, mountains, and more – are features that make New Zealand the place to be. If you want to move to New Zealand, learn how your living costs may change. Learn how much housing, food, transportation, and healthcare cost in New Zealand versus the United States.

If you’re planning to visit New Zealand, see how far your USD will take you on your vacation. Use Western Union’s currency converter to convert USD to New Zealand Dollars (NZD). You can send money to anyone on the island.

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How do housing costs in New Zealand compare to the United States?

The cost of rent in New Zealand varies on your location. Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, the largest metropolitan areas in the country, are the most expensive to live in. As with most countries, the cities have a higher population density and more work opportunities. Consequently, rent is higher in a city. In New Zealand, rental costs in all three cities range from $775-1,120 in rent.1 Christchurch tends to have the cheapest metropolitan rental prices, followed by Wellington and lastly Auckland. The rental costs in New Zealand are lower than the United States, on average. As of June 2022, the average median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in a metropolitan area in the United States is $1,876.2

How do food costs in New Zealand compare to the United States?

The cost of groceries in New Zealand are comparable to those in the United States, so, you don’t have to worry about inflated food prices if you move. In New Zealand, a pound of chicken fillets costs around $4 USD, a dozen eggs cost between $3.80-$4.64, and a pound of rice costs $0.79-$0.97 USD.1 In the United States, one pound of chicken breast costs approximately $4. A dozen eggs costs approximately $4.25. One pound of rice costs approximately $1, on average.[1] If you prefer to eat out, a dinner for two will cost about $66-$82. In the United States, it costs about $75.

How do transportation costs in New Zealand compare to the United States?

New Zealand cities and towns have plenty of options for public transportation, all cities and towns have buses. Auckland and Wellington have rail services that travel from the suburbs to the city. Public transportation in New Zealand is expensive, bus and train trips are priced by zones and tend to be more expensive than other country’s metro systems. The cash fare form one zone is $4.00 NZD, or $2.37 USD. 3 In the United States, the average bus ticket in the United States costs $1.52.[2] However, New Zealand is expansive and has low population density. Given that, cars are common in New Zealand. A liter of gasoline in New Zealand costs $1.75 USD, so a full gallon will cost $7. Meanwhile, a gallon of gas costs about $3.84 in the United States.

How do healthcare costs in New Zealand compare to the United States?

New Zealand has a universal healthcare system, funded by the government.  All residents and citizens are provided necessary healthcare services, free of cost. If you are seeking to get non-essential treatment or elective surgeries, there are also private insurance options available. However, the quality of healthcare is worth the cost. The quality of the health care system in New Zealand is comparable to the United States and the United Kingdom. In contrast, the average annual healthcare premium in the United States costs $7,911 for single-person coverage. 4

If you’re planning on sending money abroad to New Zealand, calculate the exchange rate to see how much money you are sending. You can go to our website or download the Western Union app. If you prefer to send money in person, visit an agent location.