Cost of living in Lagos (Nigeria’s most expensive city)

The cost of living in Lagos can be pricey compared to much of the rest of the country. If you reside in a big city, many of your usual monthly expenses (rent, food, and entertainment) would almost certainly increase. The cost of living in Lagos is the most expensive of them all.

Lagos is Nigeria’s most prosperous metropolis, and it is where the majority of the country’s wealth and economic activities are concentrated. The majority of Lagos’ and Nigeria’s commercial, financial, and business centres are located in Lagos Island’s core business district, which is also characterised by the presence of high-rise structures.

If you are not properly educated on the cost of living in Lagos, it is possible that you will accumulate debts and be unprepared for price changes. It’s usually a good idea to have some extra cash on hand while going shopping so that your plans aren’t derailed by unforeseen occurrences.

Is the cost of living in Lagos affected by where you live?

The area in which you live has a significant impact on the cost of living in Lagos. While many expenditures will remain relatively the same, entertainment, dining out, and, most importantly, rent will be considerably affected. Let’s take a look at the difference between the average rental rates in Lagos’ ‘regular’ and ‘expensive’ neighbourhoods.

Regular: 

1. Yaba: The average annual rent for a one-bedroom flat in Yaba, Lagos is 700,000.

2. Surulere: The average annual rent for a one-bedroom flat in Surulere, Lagos is ₦600,000 .

3. Gbagada: The average annual rent for a one-bedroom flat in Gbagada, Lagos is ₦600,000

4. Ikeja: The average annual rent for a one-bedroom flat in Ikeja, Lagos is ₦600,000

5. Maryland: The average annual rent for a one-bedroom flat in Maryland, Lagos is ₦975,000

Expensive:

1. Ikoyi: The average annual rent for a one-bedroom flat in Ikoyi, Lagos is ₦2,850,000

2. Victoria Island: The average annual rent for a one-bedroom flat in Ikoyi, Lagos is ₦2,000,000

3. Lekki: The average annual rent for a one-bedroom flat in Ikoyi, Lagos is ₦2,850,000

4. VGC: The average annual rent for a one-bedroom flat in Ikoyi, Lagos is ₦1,200,000

However, we can see that the influence of inflation on Nigeria’s cost of living is an irreversible process, as higher prices never go back down. Increases in exchange rates can encourage such moves.

Let’s take a deeper look at the costs of housing, food, transportation, education, and personal care that ordinary Nigerians face:

Transportation

In Lagos, the cost of driving or travelling by commercial vehicles varies, just like the cost of housing. Because of the significant traffic congestion and fuel wahala (issue), transportation in Lagos can be difficult if you own a car. The wealthy would want to go in their own private cab, whilst the common Nigerian would arrive at their destination by jumping from one commercial vehicle to the next. At the end of the day, the wealthy can spend almost N10,000 per day on transportation, whilst the typical Nigerian spends around N1,500 per day. All of these calculations are based on whether you live on the mainland or on an island.

Housing

This is dependent on where you intend to live, however living on the mainland is generally less expensive than living on the island. House rent in Agege, Oshodi, Surulere, Ikeja, Yaba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Ojodu Berger can range from N350,000 to N600,000 per year, while those in Ikoyi, Lekki, Ajah, Victoria Island, and its environs can cost millions. However, there are still areas on the mainland where individuals pay annual house rents of around N3 million. It all depends on whether you want luxurious or simple housing.

Education

There are schools for the wealthy, the ordinary Nigerian, and the destitute, and some youngsters do not attend school at all, instead hawking various items for their parents. A child attending a government-run primary or secondary school can expect to pay around N10,000 for school registration, uniforms, and textbooks, whereas a child attending a private primary or secondary school can expect to pay anywhere between N50,000 and N1 million, depending on the school’s location.

Food pricing

High food prices are not exclusive to Lagos, as food, despite being a basic necessity, is not readily available to the typical Nigerian. Rice, beans, yam, potatoes, and “swallow,” which is a pounded variant of yam, potatoes, or cassava, are commonly consumed by Nigerians (popularly known as Garri). It is not difficult to imagine what causes the cost of food in Lagos to be stratospheric when compared to other cities: the city’s high population density.

Survival for food becomes a war of the wealthy in a metropolis where a large population struggles to cope with the available food on the market. Food becomes more freely available to those with the financial means to buy it.

Nigeria’s inflation rate has been in double digits since the country’s recession, which explains why the cost of food in the market has risen dramatically. However, the following is a pricing comparison of each food item in Lagos and Abuja.

Food Item  Average Price in Lagos
1kg of tomatoes N1,000
Crate of eggs N2,000
Bread for 2 people N600
1kg of potatoes N1,000
Full chicken N2,500
1 bag of rice N30,000
Tuber of yam N1,000

Personal Care

The body can break down and require medical attention at any time, and you should be prepared for such unforeseen events. In Lagos, a quick visit to the doctor costs roughly N11,088, though this figure varies by region and clinic. For a 6-day course, medications (such as Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or other similar brands for cold therapy) cost between N1,400 and N1,700.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, which is why personal cleanliness is so important. 

Salaries

Except for a few international corporations that pay its expat employees in foreign currency, all companies pay their employees in Naira. According to a survey, Nigeria has around 23 job categories. Salary rates vary depending on the nature of the work and the skill set necessary, but the minimum wage is set at N30,000 (about $85).

People in Lagos on the other hand, will spend an average of N2,000 a day on necessities such as transportation, food, and other expenses (depending on their lifestyle).

Bottom Line

Lagos is a fantastic place to live in. Especially if you’re a young Nigerian seeking good jobs. When relocating to Lagos, though, you must conduct comprehensive research.

You should also budget for the greater cost of living in the area where you are moving. But the reality is that there are still people in the city who are happy. So the idea is to plan ahead, avoid being wasteful as much as possible, and work hard.

Related: Real Estate Glossary. Every real estate term explained

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