Canada and the United States are both considered some of the best places in the world for migration. Although both are renowned for their employment opportunities, economic growth, and better quality of life, both also have very notable differences.

Irrespective of the side of the border you are considering, comparing the United States and Canada has for long been a thing for both residents and individuals looking for the best possible place to migrate. Both countries are renowned for their massive land areas, well-developed economies, and high standards of living. Both also have a long and well-documented history of alliance, coupled with similar cultural characteristics.

Howbeit, when comparing both countries, it is imperative you extensively consider the long-term implications of factors like affordability, quality of life, professional growth, and how you can make the best of the country’s benefits.

Cost of Living in Canada

Over the years, Canada has steadily ranked as one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Aside from being one of the most expensive places to live, it also has one of the world’s highest median incomes.

According to detailed reports, the median income in Canada is approximately $37,800, and they are among the top 20 in the world. With high median incomes also comes a very exorbitant cost of living. To further buttress this; here are some of the average costs of typical Canadian expenses:

  • Apartment rental (monthly): $1,335
  • Apartment price per square meter: $5,746
  • Basic utilities (monthly): $164
  • Household food costs (annually): $10,311
  • Private health insurance (annually): $4,000
  • Car insurance premiums (annually) $1,320
  • Liter of gas (2022): 156.8 Canadian cents

Cost of Living in the United States

Same with Canada, the US is also considered one of the most expensive places to live in the world. It has an even higher median income of $85,500, a fact helped by the fact that the US is home to more billionaires and millionaires than any other country. However, just as in Canada, the cost of living in the US isn’t in any way cheap. Below are some of the average costs of typical American expenses:

  • Apartment rental (monthly): $1,655
  • Apartment price per square meter: $4,456
  • Basic utilities (monthly): $205
  • Household food costs (annually): $9,958
  • Private health insurance (annually): $7,392
  • Car insurance (annually): $2,972
  • Liter of gas (2022): $1.11

Canada Vs USA, Other Factors for Comparison

Agreeably, it’s more costly to live in the US than to live in Canada. Median incomes are higher in the US than in Canada and the cost of living varies widely between different regions of each country. Nonetheless, there are several other factors to compare and contrast between both countries. These factors include;

  1. Renting or Owning a Home

Most often, cost of living comparisons tends to focus primarily on the cost of renting an apartment or home in a particular location. However, they are not always accurate especially if you’re a homeowner. Owing to Canada’s mind-blowing real estate market, the data can present many unbelievable facts.

For instance, when comparing Vancouver with New York City in terms of real estate prices, reports have it that the average Greater Vancouver home price was $1.83 million in early 2021; while the median sale price in New York City was $921,000 within the same period.

It simply means that the cost of living in the US can be lower if you’re a homeowner as against some of Canada’s hottest real estate markets.

Howbeit, this is a misstatement of the cost of acquiring a home in either country. Most people looking to acquire a home in the US and Canada prefer to consider other factors such as property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and many other perks. In addition, don’t forget that mortgage rates in Canada and the US vary widely, and they can both influence your bottom line.

  1. Taxes

In Canada, federal income tax rates for 2021 started at 15% and topped out at 33%. Meanwhile, US federal income tax rates within the same period started at 10% and increased to 37% for high-income earners. But truth be told, these tax brackets barely tell the whole story.

Note that by looking at just the federal tax brackets, the lowest-income Americans genuinely pay less tax than their Canadian counterparts. Middle-class Canadians tend to receive a bit of a tax cut when compared to middle-class Americans. In addition, the highest-income Canadians also tend to pay less tax than their southerly neighbors.

While these numbers assume that everyone’s tax rate is the same as what they pay, when you take into consideration tax deductions and credits, these tax rates will vary exponentially. It also becomes very complex when you add provincial, territorial, state, and local taxes into the mix.

  1. Public Goods & Services

When comparing both countries, also take into consideration hidden costs and savings of life in each place. These costs and potential savings more or less come from public goods and services that most people fail to consider when compiling their monthly budget.

Have it in mind that these goods and services may instigate taxes to increase, but they often correspond with fewer out-of-pocket expenses. When comparing the US and Canada, some basic public goods and services disparities are worth considering.

For instance, things like universal basic healthcare and overall lower higher education costs reduce a good percentage of out-of-pocket expenses for Canadians. While many Canadians may choose to obtain additional private health insurance that cost around $4,000 in premiums per year, Americans are known to spend an average of $7,392 in premiums annually.

Have it in mind that these services most often entail an increase in taxes (primarily for some Canadians), it is still one of the major reasons why it’s more affordable to live in Canada, on average, than it is to live in the US.

  1. Job Security and Average Work Hours

Despite the ravaging implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada is showing a steady decline in the unemployment rate. According to reports, the unemployment rate in Canada fell to 5.67 % in 2019 owing to the country’s economic recovery policy.

However, reports have it that the US logged in an unemployment rate of 10.2 % in 2020 and the number has been growing massively owing to the fracas in Eastern Europe.

Note that the standard work hour for an employee under Canada’s federally regulated sector remains 8 hours per day and this results in 40 hours a week. Also, note that companies in the country provide a minimum of 10 paid leaves annually.

Howbeit, reports have it that employed Americans worked for about 34.4 hours per week in the USA in 2019, and the country also has a minimum of 10 paid annual leaves for all employees. While the USA offers better salary packages, Canada boasts of better healthcare, more maternity leaves, and other social benefits.

  1. Immigration Pathways

Also note that both countries have varying immigration pathways, and also varying requirements expected of applications. These pathways include;

Canada Immigration
  • PR Visa (Permanent Residence)
  • Express Entry Visa
  • Federal Skilled Worker Visa
  • Provincial Nominee Programs
  • Family Sponsorship
  • Visitor Visa
  • Student Visa
  • Business Immigrant Visa
US Immigration Pathways
  • F1, J1, M1 Student Visa: For students to pursue higher education
  • E1, E2 Visa: Migration visa for employees
  • IR1 and CR1 visa: Spouse of a US Citizen
  • K1 visa: Finance to marry a US citizen
  • I-130 petition (K-3) Visa: Spouse of a US Citizen awaiting approval.
  1. Racial Discrimination and Safety

Truth be told, both countries have strict policies in place against any form of racism. However, incidents of racial discrimination and hatred are higher in the USA, and owing to the recent increase in crime instigated by racism in the US; Canada is a more immigrant-friendly country to settle in.

While the crime rate is much higher in the USA than in Canada, have it in mind that the US job market is more open to new immigrants, and it offers better pay. According to reports, Canada scored an average of 7.6 on the Average Life Satisfaction Ranking scale, whereas the USA’s ranking is 7. Canada is ranked in the top ten most peaceful countries, and the US is ranked 121st overall.


Canada and the USA are two of the top countries foreign nationals consider when seeking the best place to migrate. However, picking between the two can be a very challenging task. Indeed, some things tend to be more costly in Canada, like food, gas, real estate prices, and some taxes.

In addition, some parts of Canada are more expensive to live in than some parts of the US. Howbeit, all things considered, note that is cheaper, on average, to live in Canada than it is to live in the US.