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You're comparing cost of living without taking into account median salaries?

I don't think any comparison is complete without some sort of salary survey.

I get this comment a lot. I agree that it makes sense to compare also local salaries to see which city is the cheapest one to live in as an employee.

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

While actual salary might not be interesting, how much taxes will affect your gross income is. Tax rules are often very convulted. If you collected gross salary and received salary after taxes numbers, that'd be a great resource. I've moved abroad and all you get usually is vague statements about tax pressure (ie. asking a range of people you get wildly different answers). Often this is related to your income level in non-obvious ways as well. A table for each city with mapping from gross income -> income after tax would be very helpful.

True, and another key component, which will become even more important once median incomes are taken into account, is public services.

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.

Well, including that wouldn't make sense unless they also included taxes.

> wouldn't make sense unless they also included taxes.

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).

I don't think it's possible to meaningfully take salaries into account unless they also have a database with salaries for each profession. In my opinion, it's much better to leave that adjustment to the user.

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.

I don't think salary is necessary at all for this data to be useful. In fact, I think accurately portraying salary differences in different regions is a far harder problem than accurately portraying general COL differences.

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.

I agree that median salaries data would be nice to have, but I believe that a lot of people have use-case in the lines of "I consider moving from city A to city B. In city A my earnings are XYZ. How much would I have to earn in city B to maintain same quality of life?"

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