Belfast is the capital of and the largest city in Northern Ireland. Belfast is Northern Ireland's educational and commercial hub. It is currently in the top five fastest growing regional economies in the UK. The United Kingdom is in Western Europe, and consists of islands including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, northwest of France. Temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast. Mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast. The official language is English. There are areas (such as north-western Wales and remote parts of Scotland) where it is the second language. French is the most commonly taught second language. The main religion is Christianity. The economy of the United Kingdom is that of a major developed capitalist economy. The United Kingdom is one of the world's most globalised countries. The British economy is made up of the economies of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In 1973, the UK acceded to the European Economic Community which is now known as the European Union after the ratification of the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993. The UK economy had been one of the strongest EU economies in terms of inflation, interest rates and unemployment, all of which remained relatively low until the 2008-09 recession, when unemployment rose dramatically, and interest rates fell to 0.5%. The population in Belfast is 0.642 Mil (2014 est.), while the inflation rate is 1.9% (2014 est.).
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates in Belfast as at 1 October 2014 is high in comparison to other places in the world. In Belfast, the cost of each basket, based on local prices, compared to the international average in USD, is categorized follows: 1) Alcohol (where available) & Tobacco: Average 2) Clothing: High 3) Communication: High 4) Education: Very High 5) Furniture & Appliances: Average 6) Groceries: Average 7) Healthcare: High 8) Household Accommodation: High 9) Miscellaneous: High 10) Personal Care: Very High 11) Recreation & Culture: Average 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Very High 13) Transport: Very High Belfast is for example 7.8% more expensive than Montevideo for groceries, 16.5% more expensive for household costs than Durban, and 26.2% more expensive for transport costs than Athens. Belfast is ranked as a minimal hardship location. Hardship (also know as quality of living) refers to the degree of hardship an expatriate and their family are likely to experience in the host location. Hardship pay is compensation to encourage people to move, in particular to less desirable locations. In determining the amount of hardship premium payable, factors such as economic, political, religious, infrastructure, environment/climate, personal safety, health, education, and transportation factors are considered. The hardship premium for Belfast for an expat from Zurich is for example 0%, i.e. host location (Belfast) premium of 10% minus home (Zurich) location premium of 10%. Xpatulator.com has been created to assist subscribers calculate expatriate pay using the online calculators and extensive database of cost of living and hardship indexes, for 780 international locations. Want to know more about cost of living, hardship or expat pay in Belfast? Register subscribe to your home location and Belfast and run your personalised reports.