Working out the expat cost of living

Cost of living is just one of the factors expats and international workers have to take into account when moving overseas.

For working expats, bulging pay packets and low or no tax does not necessarily mean low day-to-day living expenses.

For retired expats living on a budget, the cost of living is also an important factor in calculating retirement finances.

Web site Movehub helps expats arrange moves around the world and has worked out the cost of living in hundreds of cities based on the cost of living.

New York is the key figure – the cost of living index figure is 70.

Data on 5,000 cities

If a city has an index of 100, then the cost of living is ranked as 30% higher than New York, while one with a ranking of 40 is 30% lower.

The index is calculated by taking prices for food, transport, eating out and utilities into account.

Movehub has published a global infographic showing the comparative cost of living between countries and cities which are popular destinations for expats.

The data is sourced from another web site – Numbeo.

Numbeo boasts listing more than 1,560,751 prices in nearly 5,000 cities entered by 187,000 users.

Information includes the cost of a McDonald’s meal to the price of a Volkswagen Golf, covering categories such as renting or buying a home, crime, health care, pollution, transport and quality of life.

“The map graphic shows the difference in living costs around the world according to data supplied by expats for expats,” said a Movehub spokesman.

Most expensive and cheapest countries

The top 10 most expensive places to live with their comparison rankings to New York are:

  • Switzerland – 126
  • Norway – 118
  • Venezuela – 111
  • Iceland – 102
  • Denmark – 100
  • Australia – 99
  • New Zealand – 93
  • Singapore – 93
  • Kuwait – 92
  • UK – 92

The countries with the cheapest cost of living are:

  • India – 26
  • Nepal – 28
  • Pakistan – 30
  • Tunisia – 34
  • Algeria – 34
  • Moldova – 34
  • Egypt – 37
  • Macedonia – 37
  • Syria – 38
  • Colombia – 38

Expats should note that the cost of living index does not include private schooling, tax on buying a home, income or capital gains. Nor does it take into account foreign currency exchange fluctuations.

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