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The Price of Location: How Much Does It Cost to Live in Your Country?

Updated on July 2, 2013

2012 Cost of Living by Country

Higher numbers (red) show greater expenses.
Higher numbers (red) show greater expenses. | Source

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

I’ve discovered a site called Numbeo, which has pricing and other economic data about countries and cities around the globe. It looks like the prices are entered voluntarily by visitors to the website, but based on my knowledge of U.S. costs, the numbers seem accurate. I wanted to share some of the interesting findings about how much it costs to live in the world.

The diagram illustrates the consumer price index in different locations. A fuller table of figures is at the end of the hub.


The site provided the data for this hub, so I urge you to visit it if you want more specific info or need to convert the prices into another currency. While I couldn’t post every price for every country, I arbitrarily selected prices from about 38 countries, which, according to Alexa, a website tracking service, form the bulk of the HubPages audience. The only missing country is Nigeria, which ranks eighth for HubPages visitors. Unfortunately, Numbeo contained no data for that country. All prices were as of 2012 and in U.S. dollars.



In 2012, the country with the highest consumer price index, a measure of the cost of living, was Norway at 151.34. This compared to 83.06 in the United States. The U.K. showed an index of 100.13, the closest to a perfect 100.

  • The price to buy a Norwegian apartment in the city center was $7,274 per square meter, which is equivalent to about 10 square feet. While high, this price does not compare to the cost of $38,275 per square meter in Monaco. The U.S. average was $1,614 per square meter.
  • Renting a one-bedroom apartment for a month cost $1,428 in the city center, or $1,039 outside it. Again Monaco topped the list with a rent of $2,806 in the city center, and $1,913 outside it. The averages in the U.S. were $900 in the center, and $700 outside it.
  • Norway had the most expensive prepared meals at $121 for two in a mid-range restaurant and $15.59 at McDonald’s. In the United States, the same meal cost $45 for a restaurant and $6 for fast food.
  • Fortunately, Norwegians also had the highest after-tax disposable income at $4,329 per month, compared to the monthly $3,000 in the United States.


India, the second greatest source of HubPages visitors behind the United States, showed the lowest consumer price index at 33.39 and the following prices.

  • Buying an Indian apartment cost $1,179 (64,432 INR) per square meter in the city center and $639 (34,921 INR) outside the center. Bangladesh had the cheapest buys per square meter at $795 (43,446 INR) in the city center and $376 (20,548 INR) outside it.
  • A one-bedroom apartment had a monthly cost of $146 (7,978 INR) in the center and $91 (4,973 INR) outside it. The country with the cheapest rentals was Nepal at a monthly cost of $95 (5,191 INR) in the city center and $35 (1,912) outside it.
  • A meal for two cost $9.13 (498.95 INR) in a midrange restaurant, and $3.29 (179.79 INR) at McDonald’s. The Indian restaurant meal was the cheapest in the world. However a fast food meal was the lowest in the Philippines at $2.91 (159.03 INR).
  • The disposable income after taxes in India was also low at $456 (24,920 INR) per month. However, the lowest income was in Pakistan at $204 (11,148 INR) per month.

More Highs and Lows

You can check out the figures of your favorite country in the table below, but the following shows some of the more interesting highs and lows.

  • Internet access was cheapest in Russia at $14 per month for a 6 Mbps unlimited data line, which is equivalent to cable or ADSL. It cost the most in the Dominican Republic at $65.25 and New Zealand at $60.85. The cost in the United States was $45.
  • A movie in international release cost the least in Bangladesh at $2.92 per ticket. In Saudi Arabia, it was $42.50 per seat, and in the United States, it was $10.
  • Gasoline was cheapest in Saudi Arabia at 13 cents a liter, or 49 cents a gallon. It cost the most in Norway at $2.42 per liter, or $9.14 a gallon. In the United States, gas was 99 cents a liter, or $3.74 a gallon.
  • A kilogram of boneless, skinless chicken breast cost only $3 in Bangladesh but an astronomical $20.52 in Norway. In the United States, the chicken ran $6.61 per kilo.

2012 Prices by Country in US Dollars

Meal for 2, Midrange Restaurant, 3-course
Mc Donald's or Similar Combo Meal
Milk (regular), 1 liter
Eggs (12)
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless - 1kg)
Gasoline (1 liter)
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center
-- Outside City Center
Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited, Cable/ADSL)
Movie, International, 1 Seat
Price/Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Center
- Buy Apartment Outside Center
Median Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax)
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Hong Kong
New Zealand
Puerto Rico
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Sri Lanka
United Kingdom
United States

Use the scroll bars to the bottom and side of the table to view more information.

Please Rate My Hub

5 out of 5 stars from 6 ratings of This Hub on International Prices


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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      8 years ago from SW England

      I understand, wasn't blaming you. Shame they don't ask the British about these things! Great hub anyway; I'm still amazed how you always do such detailed research. It must take you ages.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I appreciate the clarification, annart. It's always good to know these things.

      Unfortunately, Numbeo, among many sites, classifies the UK as a country, so that's where the statistics come from.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      8 years ago from SW England

      Fascinating and very useful facts and figures. Just one thing - the United Kingdom is not a country. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the countries that make up the UK and their costs and economies are quite different. I find that Europeans (not including Britain) and Americans are mostly not aware of this, nor of the fact that Great Britain is made up of England, Wales and Scotland (the geographic island). Sorry, it's one of my hobby-horses - I don't often get on my soapbox!!

      I'm off to Norway soon so I'd better take plenty of money with me! Your research is invaluable because it brings everything together. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • curious dreamer profile image

      Mahesh Mohan 

      8 years ago from India

      great hub......

      Voted up...........

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      8 years ago from USA

      Fascinating! It is interesting to see the differences in the cost of living around the world. Thank you for the resources for where we can go to find more information. More than that, thank you for doing such excellent research on this subject. I enjoyed reading it.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Very cool information here. It is interesting to see how prices vary and now I see there is a whole website where I can investigate it. I am sharing on Twitter and vote up!

    • Adams-ebooks profile image

      Adam Finan 

      8 years ago from Worldwide

      I live in Perth, Australia and it is so expensive!! Bottle of water in a petrol station $4.50!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Very interesting. I knew that Australia topped the list. It looks like Bangladesh is the cheapest to be at, though I am not sure I would want to live there. Big vote up from me.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Very true, Xenonlit. Even in the U.S., there are cheaper areas, such as in rural regions.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I hear you, Nell Rose. I've been to England a few time, and I couldn't believe how constantly prices just keep going up and up.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks, rfmoran. I'll have a look at HARO. Perhaps you should write a hub reviewing that site.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Sounds like Peru is the a good place to retire, at least as far as housing is concerned.

    • ohkennyabi profile image


      8 years ago from The East

      Thank you for finding the website Numbeo. Information from the website is great for planning ones traveling expenses.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      8 years ago from Asia

      Having spoken to many US friends about the costs of living, I was not surprised to find the UK is quite a lot higher in living costs. The rent is similar, although that price would be for a pretty small place anywhere I know in the UK (a flat or very small house).

      Shared, up and interesting.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      8 years ago from Western NC

      Voted awesome and interesting. Gas is 13 cents a liter in Saudi Arabia? Whoa. These are some staggering statistics and what a cool site you found!

    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very informative hub. I'll bookmarked this hub, including the country list. Brother, you have done a great job by share this hub with us. Voted up!


    • Xenonlit profile image


      8 years ago

      Well done with surprising and very interesting information. But in the US, there is a huge variance by city. San Francisco and New York, for example, have outrageous rents. Voted UP and Awesome and bookmarked!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      8 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Great info, Aurelio. UP and shared.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      8 years ago

      Fascinating information here and different than I thought it would be. I think it is amazing how much prices vary within the U.S. too.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi alocsin, to be honest I thought England was probably the most expensive. In london the capital, to buy a house is at least 300,000 pounds, approx 500,000 dollars, in my town to buy its average is over 3 hundred thousand, and to rent its way over 2,000 a month, but I suppose the average of the country is more leveled out, fascinating statistics though, voted up, nell

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      8 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for another wonderful hub. Voted Up, Useful and Interesting. These comparisons are really cool. Wish I could move to India.

    • kitkat1141 profile image


      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Fascinating to see all of the information in one table for easy comparison.

      Great for costing out vacation destinations! Thanks

    • pinappu profile image


      8 years ago from India

      A country with high income will result in high cost of living. A very little percentage of people can afford to buy an apartment in Bangladesh, that is why it is very cheap there.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      8 years ago from USA

      Some friends of mine visited Norway recently and said the cost of food there ruined their enjoyment of their trip. The prices they quoted were unbelievable! Great hub, as usual.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Alocsin, this is an interesting piece of statistics. Given that the monthly after tax income in India is about 7 times lesser than the US, it seems cheaper to live there on US income. Voted up and shared.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      Wow, its interesting how the US lands in the middle on a lot of things. Of course, our own statistics would depend on what state you are living in (rent is a lot more in NYC than in Minneapolis). I also was surprised how expensive some things that I take for granted can be other countries, like eggs! Thanks for once again pulling all this fantastic statistical data together for us. If you want to retire or move to another country, you should definitely be doing this sort of research in advance!

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 

      8 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Good research and delivery makes your hub not only interesting but valuable..thank you

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran - The Write Stuff 

      8 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Another great hub with sophisticated stats of interest. You shoulc check out (Help A Reporter Out). They seek experts twice a day on various topics. You are the kind of guy they look for, a free range maven! Excellent hub.

    • citygetaway profile image


      8 years ago from France

      I miss my home country (Czech republic), but as currently living in France, I appreciate the information provided. Thanks for your hub!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      8 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Very interesting information. Thank you for letting me know.

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 

      8 years ago from California

      These are some amazing figures to read through and ponder. The size of the cost of living difference between countries is incredible! We often hear that, in the world of technology, everything is being flattened and balanced out. However, I suppose the world will never be perfectly fair.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great job of compiling information. Remind me not to move to Norway for retirement. Sheez, that's one expensive cheeseburger!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      8 years ago from Peru, South America

      Interesting statistics. In Peru, chicken breast costs about $4.50 a kilo, a one bedroom apartment in Southern Peru (not the capitol) runs about $100/month, a movie ticket about $4. Internet access costs the same as in the U.S. and, of course, wages are considerably lower.


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