Not sure how to capture "soft" stuff like health care and/or vacation etc. I recently was surprised to learn the in New York an employer doesn't have to pay out unused vacation where as in other states they have to by law. This sort of stuff can certainly catch someone off guard when leaving a job to relocate.
Otherwise it's a very cool concept...
Sales taxes and property taxes figure into prices of goods. The site already says to include sales taxes, though it would help to have rates noted explicitly. Property taxes should appear as an expense under housing.
I'm in NY, my property taxes are about 60% of my mortgage payment.
In small cities like mine, it's killing the housing stock, as taxes are increasing faster than wages, and people are deferring maintenance.
numbeo.com has that (but Expatistan's display of price in both currencies is nice)
I would prefer this one focused on doing what it does right.
The questions and purchase options in this crowd sourced list are extremely similar to the 'basket of goods' she was seeking. Prices are also pretty similar to 2008/2009 but a bit askew from today (particularly food, which over the past 5 years has experienced significant inflation).
Was there a surge of this type of information collection at the time (I can't recall anything of note online), or has a relocation / relocation-type consultancy released past data?
Expatistan: "Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI 140 CV 6 vel. (or equivalent), with no extras, new"
Numbeo: "Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) "
I don't know. Not the same but very close and alike. I love Numbeo and this looks eerily similar.
Expatistan has only 1 accomodation data point (Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area) while Numbeo give me information about different size apartments in and out of city center
We started collecting prices for different ones a while ago. We are now reaching the point where we already have enough data to include the new types of housing in the public index.
In fact, most places in the US (even the sunny bits) look cheaper to live in than Coventry. How sad.
Housing was listed as 5% favorable to Vancouver.
The sub-elements listed were as follows:
Vancouver Seattle Variance
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft)
furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area $2,301 $2,216 -4%
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity,
gas ...) for 2 people in 85m2 flat $85 $139 39%
Internet 8MB (1 month) $39 $47 17%
40” flat screen TV $473 $537 12%
Microwave, known brand, 800/900 Watt $121 $116 -4%
Laundry detergent (3 l. ~ 100 oz.) $10 $8 -25%
Hourly rate for cleaning help $23 $35 34%
Take out the TV, detergent, and maid, and you're now 1% favorable to Seattle, driven strongly by rent, obviously.
This is an interesting area of work, but I'd appreciate either full disclosure of inputs and weighting or a much more simplified presentation (e.g. stand-alone rental rates).
- Nobody rents furnished accommodation in Vancouver, BC. It's almost unheard of.
- You can buy your TV across the border and bring it over (same for microwave).
- Food will generally be more expensive in Vancouver.
- Gas will be more expensive in Vancouver.
- If you buy a house here expect to pay a lot more in Vancouver for a comparable property.
- Taxes are higher (though you do get services in return).
EDIT: As someone who is pretty familiar with both areas I would expect it to be cheaper to live in the Greater Seattle area vs. the Greater Vancouver area. There's a lot of YMMV though.
I do sometimes share the data with particular projects or developers on a case-by-case basis. If you are thinking about using the data for something interesting, you can contact me through the website.
A simple and easy, but far from perfect, way to do this is to tie pricing to the location of the customer. E.g. 'download this book and pay as much as you pay for an espresso in your hometown.'
 International Comparison Program for the Worldbank (http://icp.worldbank.org/), Eurostats (http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index....)
And so you start up a project to change that....and then don't make the raw data available? I'm confused.
I compared the price from Vancouver BC to Seattle WA and was surprised to say that food was cheaper in Vancouver, as Vancouverites are always coming south of the border to buy their groceries. Especially milk, which they load up on by the cart full. On this site though it says a liter of milk in Vancouver is $1.65 and a litre in the US is $2.90, a GALLON in the US can be bought for less than $2.90.
So I'm a little suspect of the data.
I may be biased in my priorities, but a 6-pack of decent beer costs $7-$8 USD in Washington and about $15-$16 CAD. Exchange rates are still nearly at parity. I find myself bringing a case to support the drinking habits of my Canadian friends every time I drive up... (No wonder they like it when I show up.)
Numbeo gives 0.90 for a liter of milk in Seattle http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country...
Cost of living in London is 16% more expensive than in New York City
Cost of living in New York City is 14% cheaper than in London
120 is 20% higher than 100
100 is 16.(6)% lower than 120
I treated the subject of quality of life from the subjective perspective of a software developer (big salary in a country with small income - the average net income in romania is around 400 eur)
Also, several items are sufficiently vague that they have a huge price range; for instance, "1 pair of sport shoes (Nike, Adidas, or similar)" or "Daily menu in the business district". Far too subjective to serve as a basis for comparison; in the same city, those values could vary by 2-3x depending on taste.
Let me just say, there is an absolutely ludicrous error somewhere.
Just a thought at least.
Likewise Spanish food prices are inflated on those sites which you can confirm by looking at mercadona.es which is a mid-high end grocery store in Spain.
But mostly: Valencia and Alicante have huge populations of retired working class British people. There is no way on this earth a retired working class British person could survive in San Jose let alone thrive.
Also, much of the calculator asks for things like a liter of gas or a bottle of Coke, whose price is not going change radically no matter where you shop.
Not necessarily. There is a Big Mac Index, that looks at the price of a Big Mac from McDonalds, which shows that the price of a very standard product (a Big Mac) can vary by location.
New York is portrayed in films as somewhere great to go, whereas they always portray London as dreary, and it is always raining.
(London is alright to visit, but by the way).
I don't think any comparison is complete without some sort of salary survey.
However, Expatistan is not about finding cheap cities to work in. It's about comparing cost-of-living, independently of your income. Expats are usually not linked to average local salaries in any meaningful way, anyway.
I explain it much better in the website: http://www.expatistan.com/faq#average-salary
For instance Paris is described to be about as expansive as San Francisco. But in Paris, you have your kids' school and your health insurance for free (well, included into your taxes). Plus, if you studied there, you don't have a student loan to pay back.
Or simply give salaries net of taxes. In many countries, a large chunk of the taxes are paid by enterprises, and never appear on your salary sheets, although they're part of your compensation package (they're paid by your employer, because he has to in order to legally hire your workforce, and they serve to fund services you'll benefit from).
E.g. if you compare median salaries in San Francisco and Tokyo, you might get similar numbers. But if you're an ESL teacher, you might get paid quite a bit more in Tokyo, whereas if you're a software engineer you'll get paid a lot more in SF.
In particular, this data can be immensely useful if you live in X with a known salary and you have an offer for a different salary in Y, and you're wondering how it'll stack up. This will answer that question for you.
and looks like "los angeles" is too large to have accurate numbers.
Inflation is theft.