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Year: Quarter:
Cost of Living - Europe July 2012

Zurich remains the most expensive place to live in Europe based on the overall cost of living, followed by Geneva and Moscow. The worlds most expensive place to live, based on the overall cost of living as at July 2012, encompassing all cost of living baskets is Hong Kong having overtaken Tokyo to top the latest international cost of living rankings.

Zurich has an overall cost of living index of 137.12 and Moscow 120.96 compared to Hong Kong with an overall cost of living index of 149.14, followed by Tokyo with 142.12. The overall index is comprised of 13 different basket groups. The assumption using the overall index is that everything is paid from the salary package. In addition, the cost of living calculations are weighted according to typical monthly international expatriate spending patterns. The Household Accommodation Basket for example, has a weighting of 30%, while the Groceries Basket has a weighting of 16.5%. That means that an international expatriate who, for example, earns 10,000 would typically spend 3,000 (30% of 10,000) on housing and 1,650 on groceries.

Zurich and Geneva are particularly expensive for groceries, restaurants meals out, hotels and transport. For example a cappucino costs around 4.20 EUR / 5.30 USD in Zurich compared to 4.40 USD in Moscow, 2.35 GBP / 3.70 USD in London and 3.60 USD in New York. A litre of petrol / gasoline costs around 1.60 EUR / 2.00 USD in Zurich compared to 0.95 USD in Moscow, 1.30 GBP / 2.04 USD in London and 1.02 USD in New York.

Moscow is Europe and the world's most expensive place to live based on the cost of living excluding the housing, education, healthcare and transport baskets, followed in turn by Zurich and Geneva. Many companies cover these costs on behalf of the employee while on international assignments.

Moscow is particularly expensive for furniture & appliances, clothing, groceries and miscellaneous items such as stationary, linen and general goods and services. Whilst none of these baskets are the most expensive in the world, the overall average is highest, pushing Moscow into the most expensive ranks. The housing, education, healthcare and transport baskets are not as expensive as the other high cost of living places which is why overall (inclusive of all baskets) Moscow is only ranked 15th most expensive. The Russian Ruble has weakend steadily over the past 4 years making imports expensive. The Russian Ruble recently plummeted to its lowest level in more than three years against the US dollar, mainly as a result of falling oil prices and European sovereign debt worries. In January 2008 1 ruble bought USD 0.041, in January 2011 this had dropped to 0.033 and it has recently dropped below 0.030. The impact on expatriates in Moscow is that imported goods have become a great deal costlier. To provide an assignee in Moscow, with a similar purchasing power to what they had in previous years, requires an adjustment to their assignment salary. The amount of adjustment depends on which country they come from. The larger the difference in cost of living, the larger the adjustment required to ensure a similar level of purchasing power in Moscow, or any other host country for that matter.

The rankings are based on data collected for 780 international locations, covering every country world-wide.

The cost of living (COL) data collected is representative of an expatriate lifestyle. The components of the COL data are local prices for fixed quantities of the same goods and services in each location, local inflation and exchange rates. Prices in each location are affected by availability (i.e. supply & demand) as well as local pricing regulations and taxes on goods and services (e.g.premiums on luxury brands). Local inflation is usually representative of local price increases which in turn impacts an expatriates purchasing power in the host country. The exchange rate impacts both the price of imports to the host country and the expatriate assignment salary calculation between the home and host country. The cost of living has a significant impact on the purchasing power of an expatriate’s salary package.

Cost of Living Rank - Europe Locations - Overall Cost of Living & All Baskets (Highest to Lowest):

  1. Switzerland, Zurich
  2. Switzerland, Geneva
  3. Russia, Moscow
  4. United Kingdom, London
  5. Liechtenstein, Vaduz
  6. Denmark, Copenhagen
  7. Norway, Oslo
  8. Monaco, Monaco
  9. Sweden, Stockholm
  10. France, Paris
  11. Jersey, Saint Helier
  12. Austria, Vienna
  13. Russia, Vladivostok
  14. Italy, Rome
  15. Russia, Kaliningrad
  16. Isle of Man, Douglas
  17. Russia, St. Petersburg
  18. Belgium, Brussels
  19. United Kingdom, Edinburgh
  20. Germany, Frankfurt
  21. United Kingdom, Guildford
  22. San Marino, San Marino
  23. Russia, Novosibirsk
  24. Germany, Munich
  25. Russia, Nizhny Novgorod
  26. Finland, Helsinki
  27. United Kingdom, Belfast
  28. United Kingdom, Luton
  29. United Kingdom, Manchester
  30. United Kingdom, Liverpool
  31. United Kingdom, Glasgow
  32. Iceland, Reykjavik
  33. Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  34. Azerbaijan, Baku
  35. Germany, Hamburg
  36. United Kingdom, Aberdeen
  37. Guernsey, St Peter Port
  38. Netherlands, Amsterdam
  39. Estonia, Tallinn
  40. Russia, Kazan
  41. United Kingdom, Bristol
  42. United Kingdom, Stoke-on-Trent
  43. United Kingdom, Leeds
  44. Belarus, Minsk
  45. Croatia, Zagreb
  46. Germany, Berlin
  47. Germany, Cologne
  48. United Kingdom, Newcastle upon Tyne
  49. Russia, Yekaterinburg
  50. Russia, Omsk
  51. Czech Republic, Prague
  52. Russia, Samara
  53. Germany, Stuttgart
  54. United Kingdom, Milton Keynes
  55. United Kingdom, Sheffield
  56. Italy, Palermo
  57. Ireland, Dublin
  58. United Kingdom, Southampton
  59. United Kingdom, Isle of Wight
  60. United Kingdom, Cardiff
  61. United Kingdom, Reading
  62. Turkey, Izmir
  63. France, Nice
  64. United Kingdom, Coventry
  65. United Kingdom, Northampton
  66. Malta, Valletta
  67. Germany, Bonn
  68. United Kingdom, Derby
  69. Greenland, Nuuk
  70. United Kingdom, Birmingham
  71. United Kingdom, Portsmouth
  72. Turkey, Mersin
  73. Turkey, Adana
  74. France, Toulouse
  75. Italy, Genoa
  76. France, Bordeaux
  77. Italy, Milan
  78. Italy, Turin
  79. Portugal, Lisbon
  80. Turkey, Konya
  81. United Kingdom, Preston
  82. Spain, Madrid
  83. United Kingdom, Bradford
  84. United Kingdom, Leicester
  85. Turkey, Bursa
  86. United Kingdom, Kingston upon Hull
  87. France, Marseille
  88. Cyprus, Nicosia
  89. United Kingdom, Nottingham
  90. France, Lyon
  91. France, Lille
  92. Turkey, Istanbul
  93. France, Nantes
  94. Spain, Barcelona
  95. Turkey, Ankara
  96. United Kingdom, Wolverhampton
  97. United Kingdom, Plymouth
  98. Georgia Republic of, Tbilisi
  99. Slovakia, Bratislava
  100. Ukraine, Kiev
  101. Greece, Athens
  102. Lithuania, Vilnius
  103. Netherlands, Rotterdam
  104. Spain, Valencia
  105. Italy, Naples
  106. Greece, Thessaloniki
  107. Andorra, Andorra la Vella
  108. Gibraltar, Gibraltar
  109. Slovenia, Ljubljana
  110. Serbia, Belgrade
  111. Poland, Warsaw
  112. Hungary, Budapest
  113. Montenegro, Podgorica
  114. Moldova, Chisinau
  115. Latvia, Riga
  116. Vatican City, Vatican City
  117. Armenia, Yerevan
  118. Poland, Krakow
  119. Poland, Lodz
  120. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo
  121. Macedonia, Skopje
  122. Kosovo, Pristina
  123. Albania, Tirana
  124. Romania, Bucharest
  125. Bulgaria, Sofia

Cost of Living Rank - Europe Locations - Excluding Housing, Education, Healthcare and Transport Baskets (Highest to Lowest):

  1. Russia, Moscow
  2. Switzerland, Zurich
  3. Switzerland, Geneva
  4. Denmark, Copenhagen
  5. Norway, Oslo
  6. Russia, Vladivostok
  7. Liechtenstein, Vaduz
  8. Russia, Kaliningrad
  9. Russia, St. Petersburg
  10. Russia, Nizhny Novgorod
  11. Monaco, Monaco
  12. Azerbaijan, Baku
  13. Russia, Novosibirsk
  14. Estonia, Tallinn
  15. France, Paris
  16. Russia, Yekaterinburg
  17. United Kingdom, London
  18. Italy, Rome
  19. Russia, Samara
  20. Belarus, Minsk
  21. Sweden, Stockholm
  22. Russia, Kazan
  23. Austria, Vienna
  24. Germany, Frankfurt
  25. Russia, Omsk
  26. Belgium, Brussels
  27. San Marino, San Marino
  28. Germany, Munich
  29. Finland, Helsinki
  30. Germany, Hamburg
  31. Germany, Berlin
  32. Jersey, Saint Helier
  33. Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  34. Netherlands, Amsterdam
  35. Iceland, Reykjavik
  36. Spain, Madrid
  37. Germany, Cologne
  38. Germany, Bonn
  39. Germany, Stuttgart
  40. Spain, Barcelona
  41. Isle of Man, Douglas
  42. Latvia, Riga
  43. Turkey, Mersin
  44. France, Nice
  45. Italy, Palermo
  46. Slovenia, Ljubljana
  47. Slovakia, Bratislava
  48. France, Toulouse
  49. Turkey, Izmir
  50. Czech Republic, Prague
  51. United Kingdom, Edinburgh
  52. Greenland, Nuuk
  53. United Kingdom, Guildford
  54. Italy, Genoa
  55. Italy, Milan
  56. Guernsey, St Peter Port
  57. Italy, Turin
  58. Cyprus, Nicosia
  59. Turkey, Istanbul
  60. Ireland, Dublin
  61. Turkey, Adana
  62. United Kingdom, Manchester
  63. Turkey, Konya
  64. United Kingdom, Luton
  65. Turkey, Ankara
  66. United Kingdom, Glasgow
  67. United Kingdom, Liverpool
  68. Turkey, Bursa
  69. United Kingdom, Belfast
  70. Gibraltar, Gibraltar
  71. France, Bordeaux
  72. Spain, Valencia
  73. Andorra, Andorra la Vella
  74. France, Marseille
  75. Lithuania, Vilnius
  76. United Kingdom, Stoke-on-Trent
  77. United Kingdom, Aberdeen
  78. Georgia Republic of, Tbilisi
  79. France, Lille
  80. Portugal, Lisbon
  81. France, Lyon
  82. United Kingdom, Sheffield
  83. United Kingdom, Leeds
  84. United Kingdom, Milton Keynes
  85. United Kingdom, Bristol
  86. France, Nantes
  87. United Kingdom, Cardiff
  88. Netherlands, Rotterdam
  89. Italy, Naples
  90. United Kingdom, Reading
  91. Malta, Valletta
  92. United Kingdom, Newcastle upon Tyne
  93. United Kingdom, Coventry
  94. United Kingdom, Southampton
  95. United Kingdom, Isle of Wight
  96. Greece, Athens
  97. Moldova, Chisinau
  98. United Kingdom, Derby
  99. Greece, Thessaloniki
  100. Ukraine, Kiev
  101. United Kingdom, Portsmouth
  102. United Kingdom, Preston
  103. United Kingdom, Birmingham
  104. United Kingdom, Northampton
  105. Poland, Warsaw
  106. United Kingdom, Leicester
  107. United Kingdom, Bradford
  108. United Kingdom, Kingston upon Hull
  109. Vatican City, Vatican City
  110. United Kingdom, Nottingham
  111. Croatia, Zagreb
  112. Hungary, Budapest
  113. United Kingdom, Plymouth
  114. United Kingdom, Wolverhampton
  115. Poland, Krakow
  116. Poland, Lodz
  117. Armenia, Yerevan
  118. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo
  119. Montenegro, Podgorica
  120. Bulgaria, Sofia
  121. Kosovo, Pristina
  122. Serbia, Belgrade
  123. Romania, Bucharest
  124. Albania, Tirana
  125. Macedonia, Skopje

About Xpatulator.com’s Cost of Living Data

Xpatulator.com’s cost of living data is based on prices for the same quantity and quality of goods and services, representative of expatriate lifestyle, in each city. The data is collected and updated on a quarterly basis. The cost of living data is used by Xpatulator.com clients to calculate salary purchasing power parity, cost of living allowances, and customized (i.e. clients can select their own base city) cost of living indexes for
expatriate assignments online, using Xpatulator.com’s 3 premium content calculators.
 
The 13 basket groups do not count equally and are weighted according to expatriate expenditure norms as follows (weighting percentage is in brackets):
1. Alcohol & Tobacco (2%): Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
2. Clothing (2.5%): Clothing and footwear products.
3. Communication (2%): Telephone, Internet, Mobile Contract and Calls.
4. Education (5%): Creche Fees, School Fees, College Fees, and Tertiary Study Fees.
5. Furniture & Appliances (5%): Furniture, household equipment and appliances.
6. Groceries (16.5%): Food, non-alcoholic beverages and cleaning materials.
7. Healthcare (5%): Doctor Consultation rates, Private Ward Rate, Prescription Medicine, and Private Medical Insurance Contributions.
8. Household (30%): Housing rental, utilities, local rates and residential taxes.
9. Miscellaneous (3%): Stationary, Linen and general goods and services.
10. Personal Care (3%): Personal Care products and services.
11. Recreation & Culture (6%): Books, Camera Film, Cinema Ticket, DVD and CD’s, Sports goods, Theatre Tickets.
12. Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels (2%): Dinner at Restaurant (non fast food), Hotel Rates, Take Away, Drinks & Snacks (fast Food).
13. Transport (18%): Public Transport, Vehicle Costs, Vehicle Fuel, Vehicle Insurance and Vehicle Maintenance.

About Xpatulator.com
Xpatulator.com is the most comprehensive source of international cost of living information. We provide free international cost of living overviews and rank information covering 13 cost of living baskets and every country around the world as well as premium content calculators.
 
Founded in 2007, Xpatulator.com’s mission is to organize the world’s cost of living indices, exchange rates and relative hardship indices and make it accessible and useful to all.


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