Cost of Living in Ethiopia

Updated On January 20, 2023

How Much Does It Cost to Live In Ethiopia?

Ethiopia, the third most populated country in Africa, can surprise you with many things.

It has its own calendar with thirteen months in the year or thirteen months of sunny weather, as tourists say.

The last month is only 5-6 days long while the rest of the months are equal and last for 30 days each.

This is a Christian African country with a long history dating back to the 25th year B.C.

Ethiopia is one of those countries in Africa which do not have seaports, therefore international airlines are highly popular here.

They are probably the only way to get in and out of the country.

The airport is located in the capital city of Addis Ababa.

Cost of Living Index:
* Based on Research & User Data

Ethiopia FlagEthiopia : Cost of Living by City



Local people are not really eager to visit restaurants and cafes.

According to the statistics, a very low percentage of the salary is spent on eating out.

Although, there are a few restaurants in big cities in Ethiopia, mostly for tourists.

National cuisine excludes pork, so you can try other delicacies like goat meat, lamb, or beef which is often raw, by the way.



The largest market in Africa is located in the capital Addis Ababa.

It is spread over a few square kilometers and divides into separate quarters each of them selling specific goods.

You can buy a thousand spices here, but you will not be able to take raw coffee home because the airline officers do not allow doing so.



Besides the airlines in Addis Ababa, the natives use buses to travel around the country.

The mini-buses are also offered but they lack comfort.

The only possible way to see the suburbs and some farther areas is by taxi or a rented car.

If you are looking for the kind of extreme, buy a new car in Ethiopia: Volkswagen Golf is $40,000, and Toyota Corolla is $46,737 on average.



Since the country is hot and dry, the natives can really save on warm clothes and heating.

Sadly, most of the citizens and rural population are too poor to have any utilities at all.

So they use foreign humanitarian aid to have water supply and decent sanitation.

The prices for the Internet connection sound impossible, $237.43 per month.

Sports and leisure


The leading kind of sports in Ethiopia is, of course, track and field athletics, which are followed by less developed sports like boxing and football.

You have probably heard a lot about the Ethiopian sportsmen who won a lot of gold medals at the Olympics.

Fitness clubs, cinemas, and restaurants are available on the territories of the hotels.

Clothing and shoes


Several textile factories in Ethiopia specialize in manufacturing clothes and home textiles.

There are also great fabric shops where you can buy high-quality silk or order to sew clothes exclusively for you.

The salesmen at the markets are polite, smiling, and always ready to bargain.

Rent per month


In Ethiopia, you can rent apartments, buildings, offices, houses, stores, and land.

In popular cities like Addis Ababa, Nazret, or Bahr-Dar one-bedroom apartment costs $472.68 in the city center and $219.95 outside the downtown.

3 bedroom apartments in the center cost $1,717.27 on average.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Ethiopia

*Note: All prices are indicated in USD.
Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant)$5.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter)$0.70
Water (0.33 Liter)$0.36
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter)$0.90
Loaf Bread (500g)$0.71
Eggs (12)$2.12
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket$0.23
Monthly Pass$12.00
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling)$148.89
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local$0.02
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)$237.43
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult$54.61
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour)$25.08
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release$3.66
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable)$27.70
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...)$53.66
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range)$58.38
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center$472.68
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center$219.95
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center$1717.27

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Ethiopia?

The figures are totally different from what you might see in the statistics and ratings of European, American, or Asia countries.

The Ethiopians are mostly poor, and the feeling of wealth and prosperity is rather appropriate for the hotels, boutiques, and splendid off-beat nature of the region.

Lots of money is given to the monthly rent here, and the rest is divided between markets, transport, bills, recreation, and image.

Only 7.2% of the money gets lost in restaurants.

As much as 14.2% of income is set out to pay for utilities.

Sports and leisure are worth about 8% of the wage.

Average Costs Breakdown


Ethiopia: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

The national minimum wage in Ethiopia is not determined.

Some lowest salaries often start at the point of $25 per month in the villages and towns, increasing up to $213.59 after tax per month in the cities.

The mortgage loan is a comparatively new option here, which is actually offered to foreigners, non-residents, and people with Ethiopian origins.

The interest rate for such a loan is 16.20% and is paid by those who meet all the criteria like a work permit, renewed passport for non-residents of Ethiopia, and the ability to pay at least 20% of the house price.

Average Salary$213.59
Minimum Wage$24.9
Mortgage Interest Rate16.20%

Ethiopia Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Ethiopia Safety Review

Safety Index:

Cost of Living by City in Ethiopia

CityCost of Living Index
Addis Ababa49.96

Where to Next?

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Or, browse the country/city indexes:

Cost of Living - Country Index Cost of Living - City Index

21 Reviews on Ethiopia

  1. C
    Colton S says:

    Well this was an interesting read, a country with 13 months! How bizarre. What is the extra month called? Also, I see the average salary is under $200 and yet the cheapest apartments are almost $300, do most people live on the streets? Very interested to know how people survive there.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      Pagume. It’s normally 5 days but 6 days long in a leap year🥰

  2. 1
    13 months of sun shine says:

    It sounds bizarre but for Ethiopians not. We have 12 months with 30 days and the 13th month (called pagume) has 5 days or 6 days every leap year. With regards to renting, apartments are mostly rented by only those people who can afford to pay. I would say the majority of the Ethiopians either own houses or live in a government-owned houses. There are also some that rent a room or rooms in the someone’s houses (which are also cheaper compared to apartments or condos).

  3. I think in some point they need to research those again. And the 13 month is called pagume and here is why there are 13 months. In other countries months like jan,mar,may…….. they do have 31 days and here in Ethiopia we dont do that shit only 30 days in single those left over days become 6 days in a year and we call them pagume which is the 13 month 😎

  4. The majority of Ethiopians are subsistence farmers who farm small plots of lands which the whole family depends on. The majority of Ethiopians use soil and hay to build a traditional one room Ethiopian style cottage where the whole family and their farm animals live in with no access to restroom. This cottage is also a barn where their farm animals live within it with flea and bed bugs infestations, maybe card board division within it to demarcate where the adults sleep in. Bathing and using the restroom facilities is done outside often in rivers. Those who reside in the cities mostly engage in crimes , prostitution , asking help from relatives living outside Ethiopia or beg more net from religious missionaries , tourists or the few elites within Ethiopia just to survive because what people earn monthly from honest work is not enough to ladt two days let alone a month. That is why each year more than two hundred thousand young Ethiopians go in illegal immigration to other African countries or war torn Yemen making remittance money sent back to Ethiopia the backbone money for their family members in Ethiopia to survive on .

    In 1974 when Derg socialist political party got to power overthrowing the emperialist Emperor Hailesselasie’s regime $1 USD = $2.05 Ethiopian Birrs

    In 1991 when capitalist EPRDF got to power overthrowing the socialist Derg regime $1 USD = $2.07 Ethiopian Birrs

    Now in 2020 $1 USD = $36.58 Ethiopian Birrs with devaluation reaching an all-time rate , ec not slowing down due to covid-19 and foreign aid slowing down Ethiopia is in big trouble unless somehow the GERD hydroelectric power reignites the economy by reaching agreement with Egypt about the Nile water feud.

  5. A
    Anna tigest shiferaw says:

    Ethiopia is historical country and the foundation of human berso our way of counting days is different than yours ,people are more religious interm of housing or food they like to share,, our life style is all together type.when you compare to other african countries i belive Ethiopia is one of the country will have the best future interme of economy or privateaisaion, investment, realization, ,

  6. I thought Ethiopia was a better country than Zambia. But alas it seems fake leadership has destroyed African economies. I was worried if $600 dollars would be enough at the university in Addis Ababa for food. My daughter was accepted for a masters degree there.

    1. $600 is plenty of money in Addis Ababa. She can live very very comfortably with $600 as long as she got a place to stay. There is Rental properties for every level. She can rent a decent room in a house for $100. Food is another $100-$150 a month if she cooks at home and do not eat out often. Public Transportation such as Ride are super affordable unlike Uber. Let me know if you have more questions. I will be more than happy to help.

      1. D
        Dr kedir says:

        Congratulations for your daughter studying for masters degree. $600 is way more than enough in Addis Ababa. A friend of mine is a professor in Addis Ababa university and he survives with $200 salary! Your daughter can live comfortably with $ 400 assuming she has to pay rent outside of campus
        I believe if we give a student more money, they will relax and more enjoyment than study!.
        That is what a banker told me when I was sending money to my daughter.
        Good luck

  7. A
    Austine says:

    I was thinking if I can move into Ethiopian but with the cost of house rent and low salaries I think it will be best if I stay in my country, or is that $200 for a whole year

  8. Totally wrong information. You need to spend more time and energy to get the real figures.

  9. A
    An Ethiopian who loves his country. says:

    No worries. $600 goes a long way in Addis Abeba if your daughter is domesticated. When you convert $600 to Ethiopian birr at the current conversion rate of $39 birr. You are looking at $23,400. This amount is very generous and she will not starve. The average expense for food for one person is a lot less than your privileged daughter monthly allowance. I would not be too quick to jump into any conclusion about the fake leadership. Your daughter will learn a lot more than her discipline. Ethiopia offers culture, history, friendship, love, adventure, travel, world heritage sites etc. In addition, it is a peaceful country that respects its guests. Your daughter is in good hands. Good luck

  10. A
    Anonymous says:

    The country where only dictactor change it over.

  11. A
    Anonymous says:

    Did you check the cost of the Internet there? Last I heard it’s over $500 per month — more than the rent for a one bedroom in one of the cities.

  12. No roads, no space to move around,terrible traffic, you get water once or twice a week , you don’t electricity consistently. No safety or security, they rob u on daylight.You pay $400 to $600 for rent ; hell no

  13. Some of the data and interpretation are not correct in which the person who wrote this detail things should have references (even a tourist guide talk with evidence in Ethiopia). we have to think of that 79% of population of Ethiopia are living in rural area and are farmers (mixed farming) or Pastoralist (raring animals some places agro-pastoralist) with only 21% are in urban area (currenlty \ethiopian population is estimated 100 Billion).

  14. Hi there, I’d like to know how much do i need to stay in Ethiopia for a month?

  15. K
    Karen Gorrie says:

    With regards to rents it is unclear whether this is for weekly or monthly. Can you clarify?

  16. Despite all these challenges, still, there is a hope and a better future for Ethiopia. We wish we will be one of the African countries in the world not receive aid from abroad.

  17. World’s fastest-growing economies, which includes Ethiopia. Even in its weakest pre-COVID year, 2018, the Ethiopian economy expanded faster than its neighbors. Ethiopia, along with China and Myanmar, is the only country in the world to have grown its economy by more than 300% so far this century

Ethiopia Rated 3.76 / 5 based on 21 user reviews.

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