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About costs and rankings

Livingcost.org provides a broad overview of cost of living in 9294 cities around the world.

Prices crowdsourced by our users and compiled with more than 20 other public data sets. All numbers then processed by our predictor algorithm. The algorithm takes into account parameters that correlate with prices (GDP per capita, average salary, etc.) and warns us of apparent inaccuracies.

Data limitations for prices

Price on a product or service can vary significantly inside a city depending on the place of purchase and quality. Several data sources and crowdsourcing helps to smooth out the spread making the data good enough for comparison, but not as a measure of a "fair" price.

Colored bars at each price show the place of the price in the world's top. For example, for London, the price bar for milk is 68% full, which means that the average cost for milk in London is in the top 32% of the most expensive ones in the world.

price bar explained

We calculate the average cost of living in a city based on the data on all prices taken with coefficients to form the consumer basket below.

Eating Out

🍱 Lunch Menu5
🥂 Dinner in a Restaurant, for 21
🥪 Fast food meal, equiv. McDonald's5
🍻 Beer in a Pub, 0.5 L or 16 fl oz2
☕ Cappuccino3
🥤 Pepsi / Coke, 0.5 L or 16.9 fl oz2

Groceries

🥛 Milk, 1 L or 1 qt5
🍞 Bread, 0.5 kg or 1.1 lb5
🍚 Rice, 1 kg or 2.2 lb6
🥚 Eggs, x122
🧀 Cheese, 1 kg or 2.2 lb1
🐔 Chicken Breast, 1 kg or 2.2 lb6
🥩 Round Steak, 1 kg or 2.2 lb1
🍏 Apples, 1 kg or 2.2 lb5
🍌 Banana, 1 kg or 2.2 lb4
🍊 Oranges, 1 kg or 2.2 lb4
🍅 Tomato, 1 kg or 2.2 lb5
🥔 Potato, 1 kg or 2.2 lb4
🧅 Onion, 1 kg or 2.2 lb5
🌊 Water, 1 L or 1 qt20
🍹 Coca-Cola / Pepsi, 2 L or 67.6 fl oz1
🍾 Wine (mid-priced), 750 mL bottle1
🍺 Beer, 0.5 L or 16 fl oz4
🚬 Cigarette pack1
💊 Cold medicince, 1 week3
🧴 Hair Shampoo1
🧻 Toilet paper, 4 rolls2
👄 Toothpaste, 1 tube1

Transportation

🚌 Local transport ticket*f(x)
🎟️ Monthly ticket local transport*f(x)
🚕 Taxi Ride, 8 km or 5 mi*f(x)
⛽ Gas / Petrol, 1 L or 0.26 gal*f(x)

Rent & Utilities

🏙️ 1 bedroom apartment in Downtown, 40 m2 or 430 ft2**0.2
🏡 Cheap 1 bedroom apartment, 40 m2 or 430 ft2**0.8
🏙️ 3 bedroom apartment in Downtown, 80 m2 or 860 ft2**0.2
🏡 Cheap 3 bedroom apartment, 80 m2 or 860 ft2**0.2
🔌 Utility Bill one person, electricity, heating, water, etc.**1
🔌 Utility Bill for a Family, electricity, heating, water, etc.**1
🌐 Internet plan, 50 Mbps+ 1 month unlimited1
🏦 Mortgage Interest Rate for 20 Years0
🏙️ Apartment price to Buy in city Center, 1 m2 or 10 ft20
🏡 House price to Buy in Suburbs, 1 m2 or 10 ft20

Other

🏋️ Gym Membership, 1 month0.2
🎫 Cinema Ticket, 1 person2
👩‍⚕️ Doctor's visit0.5
💇 Haircut, simple1
👖 Brand Jeans0.3
👟 Brand Sneakers0.3
👶 Daycare or Preschool, 1 month**0.24
🏫 International Primary School, 1 year**0.01

*Transportation costs calculated considering the population and the city area.

**Separate for singles and families.

Resulted cost of living shows how much the same lifestyle costs in different cities.

Cost of living limitations

The real cost of living in the same city may vary greatly depending on your lifestyle. It's good enough as a relative parameter for comparison, but if your goal is the estimation of your living costs in another city, it's better to use our cost of living calculator.

In some least developed countries, maintaining our reference lifestyle becomes a problem because of the lack of infrastructure and poor access to goods. The cost of living there for locals may be inexpensive, but its quality will be unacceptable. And since we aim to evaluate the cost of the same lifestyle in different countries, and since our crowdsourced data for these countries come mostly from expats who expect to have a decent quality of life no matter where, the cost of living in these least developed countries might seem too high.

Best places rankings limitations

Choosing a place to live, a person can evaluate different parameters: the size of the city and the population, climate, whether the infrastructure built for owning a personal car or for using public transport, are there many historical places and tourists in the city, etc.

And although these parameters can be decisive, they are all subjective. Some people like large cities with a fast pace of life, while others prefer cozy little towns. Some people want to live in a warm climate, while others don't tolerate heat.

Although we could easily take into account some of the above parameters, adjusting to the subjective opinion of the majority (for example, give priority to cities with a warm climate because more people tend to like it), we went the other way. We decided to use only objective quality metrics to keep our rankings relevant for all the users, even though this narrowed the number of parameters:

  1. Human Freedom Index
  2. Gross Domestic Product per capita
  3. GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity
  4. Life expectancy
  5. Homicide rate
  6. Mortality caused by road traffic injury
  7. Corruption Perceptions Index
  8. Average salary
  9. Average salary divided by cost of living
  10. Cost of living
  11. Annual average air quality
  12. Distance adjusted airports score
  13. Distance adjusted universities score

On livingcost.org, we have three types of locations: country, state, city. It causes some imprecisions as there are many other administrative divisions in some countries: metropolis, county, region, governorate, municipality, province, special administrative region, etc. To create taxonomies for comparison, we had to simplify the administrative division of some countries.

For regions with disputes over the territorial division for which not all countries recognize independence, our approach is to consolidate disputed territories into one area for ease of search and comparison. It does not reflect our opinion on the issues of territorial division - the livingcost.org has no opinion on political topics.

We are an independent worldwide distributed team of software engineers and data scientists from datajam.org. We have no affiliation with any organization or country.