Skip

Cost of living around the world
July 18, 2012 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Everyone talks about the cost of living, but how does your city or town stack up? EarDex is a crowdsourced database that offers an unofficial guide to the cost of living in cities and towns and even includes estimated daily budgets for tourists and backpackers.

Note that detailed statistics require a (free) login.
posted by Deathalicious (39 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy shit, the Big Mac/Marlboro/Coca-Cola/Beer index is probably the single most useful thing I have ever seen one of these sorts of websites. Although their numbers for NYC are way off. There's no way a beer is $7 on average. Also, I'm not sure where they're still getting Marlboros for $11 bucks a pack.
posted by griphus at 11:30 AM on July 18, 2012


Everything for my city (New Orleans) either defaults to the "Country" cost and/or requires me to sign up for an account, which makes this a lot less useful for me personally.

Also, I'm having hard time figuring out how to effectively compare overall Cost of Living between two cities, which is what I wanted to play around with.

Finally, it seems focused on giving information relevant to tourists rather than residents, which is fine but doesn't really bear on the idea of "cost of living" so much as "cost of visiting".

I guess what I'm saying is that it seems like a great idea but it falls down a bit on the execution in terms of setting appropriate user expectations, being easy and transparent to use, and actually having useful data.
posted by Scientist at 11:33 AM on July 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also I get that "EarDex" is a contraction of "Earth Index" but it still seems like a very silly name to me.
posted by Scientist at 11:35 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I'm not sure where they're still getting Marlboros for $11 bucks a pack.

upstate on the rez
posted by elizardbits at 11:38 AM on July 18, 2012


My main problem with these sorts of "cost of living" comparisons is that they only work under the assumption that people in Mumbai and Paris earn the same amount of money, which is never the case.

I'd love to know how this is different than all of the other "cost of visiting" websites.
posted by blazingunicorn at 11:40 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's no way a beer is $7 on average.

I think you live in a different NYC than I do.
posted by sweetkid at 11:42 AM on July 18, 2012


Fuel costs $1.09 per gal......oh, per liter. Nevermind.
posted by goethean at 11:43 AM on July 18, 2012


Living in a city without good ethnic food, as I do, imposes a hidden opportunity cost.
posted by Egg Shen at 11:44 AM on July 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


There's no way a beer is $7 on average.

I'm really hoping that you mean that $7 is way too high. I don't think that I've ever paid that much outside of a baseball stadium or concert pavilion or for some really expensive barley wine type stuff.
posted by octothorpe at 11:44 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Doesn't have a single town or city within an hour of me.
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on July 18, 2012


Backpackers in my city stay under freeway overpasses and wooded areas. Hostels? What hostels?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:46 AM on July 18, 2012


I'm really hoping that you mean that $7 is way too high. I don't think that I've ever paid that much outside of a baseball stadium or concert pavilion or for some really expensive barley wine type stuff.

I'm actually a bit suspicious of the beer index. It lists the average price (in CAD) for my city as being under $5 which is, frankly, bullshit. Liquor taxes in Canada are pretty high and taxes on beer, at least in my province, are actually higher than on hard liquor for some reason, which tends to bump up the cost a bit. Also: a booming economy tends to raise the cost of everything (which sucks if you don't work in the industry that is booming).

The Big Mac and Coca Cola indexes seems pretty accurate, though.
posted by asnider at 11:47 AM on July 18, 2012


I'm really hoping that you mean that $7 is way too high.

Yeah, but this may have something to do with both the caliber of bars I go to (cheap) and beer I enjoy (also cheap.) Maybe if they're counting the extra $1 tip it makes some more sense, but I can't recall the last time I plunked down $8 for something that wasn't a Fancy Craft Beer at a Fancy Craft Beer Place.
posted by griphus at 11:48 AM on July 18, 2012


To elaborate on my previous NYC comment - I would expect to pay between $5 and $7 for a beer, regardless of craftiness. True craftiness probably inches it higher.

Happy hour/PBR type stuff is in the $3- $5 range.
posted by sweetkid at 11:51 AM on July 18, 2012


Yeah, that puts $7 at the rough limit, though, not the average.

I think the last time I paid way too much for a beer was for a Heineken at the Hotel Gansevoort bar, which ran me something like $10 before tip. At least they had the decency to make it a 24. I can't imagine that's where backpackers are going to drink, though.
posted by griphus at 12:01 PM on July 18, 2012


I shudder to think about what the teenagers will be experimenting with with cigarettes at $10+ a pack...
posted by sexyrobot at 12:08 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


To elaborate on my previous NYC comment - I would expect to pay between $5 and $7 for a beer, regardless of craftiness. True craftiness probably inches it higher.

Happy hour/PBR type stuff is in the $3- $5 range.


That sounds more like a refutation of your previous comment, since the average of $5 and $7 is less than $7 (assuming that the happy hour beers are canceled out by the occasional gourmet beer). If you had said you expect to pay between $5 and $9, that would support your previous comment.
posted by John Cohen at 1:08 PM on July 18, 2012


Yeah this is in no way cost of living. Big mac, coke, beer and cigarettes? I'm not 18 any more.
posted by Joh at 1:15 PM on July 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is there a list of cities for which it has data? Searching for Milwaukee just brings up national averages (which aren't too far off from here, afaict).
posted by desjardins at 1:24 PM on July 18, 2012


The map of the US in the lower left corner highlights the oddest collection of cities. Only Phoenix and Los Angeles match with the list of "Major Cities"

And climate: tropical in Florida? Tell that to the folks in Jacksonville in February...
posted by ElGuapo at 1:33 PM on July 18, 2012


I was surprised to find Big Macs were cheaper outside of the U.S. I'd always assumed they were luxury items.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:38 PM on July 18, 2012


Still got $1.50 drafts of Yuengling here at the Elk's Club on Banjo Club Nights.
posted by octothorpe at 1:44 PM on July 18, 2012


Happy hour/PBR type stuff is in the $3- $5 range.

That sounds more like a refutation of your previous comment, since the average of $5 and $7 is less than $7 (assuming that the happy hour beers are canceled out by the occasional gourmet beer). If you had said you expect to pay between $5 and $9, that would support your previous comment.


I was just talking about what I personally expect at places I usually go. $7 still sounds like an average to me because there are places like the Gansevoort that I don't go to regularly that charge much more.
posted by sweetkid at 1:52 PM on July 18, 2012


My main problem with these sorts of "cost of living" comparisons is that they only work under the assumption that people in Mumbai and Paris earn the same amount of money, which is never the case.

I don't really see why you'd need to know the average income of an area to be able to approximate the price of a Big Mac. All you need to do is eat at McDonald's.

I put in some prices for Ouagadougou. Implementation of this site is a bit hinky, but it's a cool concept. I hope it's got some more data when I start budgeting for my trip to southeast asia this fall.
posted by solotoro at 2:36 PM on July 18, 2012


Finally, it seems focused on giving information relevant to tourists rather than residents, which is fine but doesn't really bear on the idea of "cost of living" so much as "cost of visiting".

Nothing can be all things to all people. They call it cost of living, which is wrong; as you point out, it's cost of visiting. That said, there isn't a good source of cost of visiting elsewhere that I know of, so this is welcome.

The underlying assumption of what you are doing affects the results of any sort of index like this; it's always going to be based on costs that are significant and/or representative of what the total expenses are (since finding out how much everything costs is impractical). For instance the Economist's cost-of-living is more based on expat living (it's cheaper to eat rice in Shanghai than it is to eat french fries, and they seem to assume a somewhat constant diet), and does not include accommodation or education costs (which are often provided directly by employers).

In any case, I've always had success with the idea that when travelling, half the daily expenses are accommodation, assuming a consistent type of travel. A hostel bunk costs about as much as a day spent walking with the occasional public bus, with cheap-or-free sightseeing, catered primarily from supermarkets with occasional street food. A budget hotel single room costs about as much as a day spent on public transport with the occasional taxi, with sightseeing, and eating one take-out and one sit-down meal at basic local restaurants. A hotel room in a 3 star chain costs as much as a day spent with taxis or rental car, eating one meal fast-casual and one in a white tablecloth restaurant.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:39 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the North American/Asian/European View map options.
posted by snorkmaiden at 2:51 PM on July 18, 2012


Egg Shen: "Living in a city without good ethnic food, as I do, imposes a hidden opportunity cost."

Seriously. There are a ton of ethnic restaurants here in Philadelphia which means that two people can eat like kings and absolutely stuff themselves for around $30-35.

On a related note: what I find really interesting is that traditionally "cheap" chain restaurants are getting increasingly more expensive over time. They do offer "value" in the sense that you're probably paying less per pound for food than most upscale restaurants, but their entrees aren't considerably less than you'd pay at any other restaurant.

A few days ago I saw a post from a friend who was eating at an Applebee's. Applebee's. There's no reason to go there unless your town is basically a strip mall. Otherwise, almost anywhere else will have better food for as much or less.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:01 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Finally, it seems focused on giving information relevant to tourists rather than residents, which is fine but doesn't really bear on the idea of "cost of living" so much as "cost of visiting".

Umm, what about entries for cost of a coffee, litre of milk, litre of fuel, kilo of tomatoes, price of a kwh of electricity, rent for 100 sq. meters? Seems pretty useful for cost of living, actually. My main concern is that there isn't a lot of data. I've entered the only data for my city, which I am surprised to learn isn't that much more than London, UK. (Apart from fuel and alcohol), which I found shockingly expensive the last time I visited.
posted by bumpkin at 3:03 PM on July 18, 2012


The prices for London, by the way, seem WAAAY sketchy. A meal costs £9.50? Yeah, maybe the cheapest possible meal. A hostel is £11? I'm guessing there's maybe 10 beds for that price in all of London. I'm not going to pass any judgements here, but there's no way that it's cheaper to visit London than Philadelphia (with the caveat that, as is the case with nearly all US destinations, there are basically no equivalents to the hostel).
posted by Deathalicious at 3:10 PM on July 18, 2012


A few days ago I saw a post from a friend who was eating at an Applebee's

Let’s ignore the part about your friend eating at Applebee’s. Your friend posted something about eating at Applebee’s, and you read it.
posted by bongo_x at 3:28 PM on July 18, 2012


Actually, someone else commented aloud that the friend's latest post was from Applebee's. She's a good friend so normally we are interested in whatever she's doing.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:40 PM on July 18, 2012


I'm not sure where they're still getting Marlboros for $11 bucks a pack.

Just out of curiosity, how much are they, then? I don't smoke so I never really paid attention, and it's been a year or so since I've been back to NY.
posted by deadmessenger at 4:15 PM on July 18, 2012


My girlfriend says a pack of Marlboros in Brooklyn is $11.50; Manhattan prices are higher.
posted by griphus at 4:23 PM on July 18, 2012


My main problem with these sorts of "cost of living" comparisons is that they only work under the assumption that people in Mumbai and Paris earn the same amount of money, which is never the case.

I'd love to know how this is different than all of the other "cost of visiting" websites.


What I see is a website that reports user-submitted prices for various things (with currency conversions at market rates). The free parts of the site appear to be targeted at tourists, but the idea itself is just fine and would work for residents as well.

Most of the other "cost of living" websites attempt to create an index, with little transparency or customization of weights assigned to things that make up the index. Naturally, this is less than optimum, because everyone has different needs.

But this website? It is just fine. You don't need go by the Approximate Daily Budget, because the components are priced transparently right there and you can make your own estimates.
posted by vidur at 4:47 PM on July 18, 2012


Wait, you're acquainted with someone who would comment about having read a post from your friend about eating at Applebee's? You're pretty loose with who you hang around.
posted by found missing at 5:10 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now I'm wondering if I've posted about eating at Applebee's. Am I your friend?
posted by desjardins at 8:30 PM on July 18, 2012


desjardins: "Now I'm wondering if I've posted about eating at Applebee's. Am I your friend?"

I've certainly never gotten that impression. *ducks*
posted by Deathalicious at 6:45 AM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everywhere in Canada appears to have the exact same cost of living. Colour me unimpressed.
posted by peppermind at 4:25 PM on July 19, 2012


I've been using Expatistan for all of my COL comparisons.
posted by hambone at 7:35 PM on July 19, 2012


« Older Ron Fucking Swanson   |   Fantasyland delenda est Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post