Biz Features

The Cost of Living In Different Countries [Infographic]

by . February 4th, 2015

This international cost of living infographic is a valuable tool for gauging disposable income and business prospects overseas.

Using figures from Numbeo, the world’s largest database of user-contributed data, Movehub created this infographic comparing the cost of living in major cities worldwide.

How to read this infographic:
The infographic compares costs of living in different countries versus the Consumer Price Index in New York.

Example: If a country is indicated to have a CPI of 90, it has a median living cost 10% cheaper than NYC.



What is included in the Consumer Price Index?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies common expenses into more than 200 categories. These categories in turn are arranged into eight groups. Major groups and a few examples of categories below:

  1. FOOD AND BEVERAGES – breakfast cereal, milk, coffee, chicken, wine, full service meals and snacks
  2. HOUSING – rent of primary residence, owners’ equivalent rent, fuel oil, bedroom furniture
  3. APPAREL – men’s shirts and sweaters, women’s dresses, jewelry
  4. TRANSPORTATION – new vehicles, airline fares, gasoline, motor vehicle insurance
  5. MEDICAL CARE – prescription drugs and medical supplies, physicians’ services, eyeglasses and eye care, hospital services
  6. RECREATION – televisions, cable television, pets and pet products, sports equipment, admissions
  7. EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION – college tuition, postage, telephone services, computer software and accessories
  8. OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES – tobacco and smoking products, haircuts and other personal services, funeral expenses

These groups and categories can change from time to time and don’t include such expenses as income and Social Security taxes and expenses related to savings and investment items such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and life insurance, as these do not tend to represent day-to-day expenses.

Major limitations of the infographic

  • The cost of living can vary dramatically within countries, or even specific neighborhoods. For example,  $6,529.96 in San Francisco, CA is roughly the same as $3,300.00 in Wichita Kansas. Rural China might as well be in a totally different country from Shanghai, and so on.
  • In developing countries, the divide might be even far more dramatic, with metropolitan areas being several orders of magnitude more different than small urban centers and rural areas, to an extent that First Worlders might not realize.
  • Other important lifestyle factors such as crime rates, the reliability of public infrastructure, corruption, and many others are not accurately reflected.
  • The American Consumer Price Index may not be the best standard to judge living costs in other countries.


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Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.