International Cost of Living Calculators

2021 International cost of living and hardship / quality of living data for 780 global locations.

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Kenya, All Areas

Kenya, All Areas

Cost of living in Kenya, prices and what it is like to live for an Expat, quality of life / hardship, and compare cost of living for Expatriates as at January 2021.

What is it like to live in Kenya?

Climate: The climate varies from tropical along the coast to arid in the interior.

Language: The official language is English. National language: Swahili. English is used more frequently than Swahili inland, particularly in Nairobi and its surrounding areas. Most signs are in English.

Religion: Christianity.

Economy: The economy of Kenya is market-based, with some state-owned infrastructure enterprises, and maintains a liberalized external trade system. The economy’s heavy dependence on rain-fed agriculture and the tourism sector leaves it vulnerable to cycles of boom and bust. The agricultural sector employs nearly 75 percent of the country's 37 million people. Half of the sector’s output remains subsistence production.

Inflation: 5.62% for Kenya as at December 2020.

Money: The currency of Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES). ATMs are widely available and credit cards are widely accepted.

Tax: In Kenya is based on the current personal income tax rates which are progressive up to 30%.

Population: 53.6 Million (2020 est.)

Expat Life: In Kenya making eye contact is an important way to establish trust. Handshakes are customary upon both business introductions and departures. Expatriate dress code is normally formal, comprising lightweight suits with a jacket and tie. The coastal regions have a significant Muslim population and modest dress is advised, particularly in Mombasa. Women should not wear sleeveless dresses or blouses. Eastern Africa has one of the highest rates of sexual assault and rape in the world. While the majority of cases occur in low-income communities, female expatriates should be alert to the increased risks and adopt sensible safety precautions as a routine measure. The safety risk for expatriates in Kenya is medium overall, but high in Nairobi and in the north, and extremely high in the remote border regions with Somalia. Risks include crime (violent and petty), terrorism, kidnapping, traffic accidents, and the risks associated with protest action.

Health Care: Health care facilities are not generally comparable to those of Western Europe and North America. Cholera, malaria and dengue fever occur in Kenya. The official Coronavirus COVID-19 total reported cases for Kenya as at 14 January 2021 is 98,555, with 1,720 deaths. The rate of deaths per 1 million population is 32. Current active cases is 15,168.

Kenya covers all areas within the country other than Mombasa, and Nairobi.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Kenya?

The cost of living for expatriates in Kenya as at January 2021 is low in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 60.66 (New York =100). We have collected prices for the same items, world wide, based on Expat spending norms, in or closest to the location, and converted them to $USD so that we can compare the cost of 13 different baskets in 780 global locations. For each basket, compared to New York, the equivalent cost in Kenya is as follows:

1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: Cost is average for items such as beer, spirits, wine and tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$840. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$11.35, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$2.31, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$3.16 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$3.12.

2) Clothing: Cost is low for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$710. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$23, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$50, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$43 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$25.

3) Communication: Cost is average for various communication costs such as home telephone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff and data costs. A basket costing USD$200 in New York costs USD$182. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$46, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$0.03 per minute.

4) Education: Cost is low for items such as creche / pre-school fees, primary school fees, high school fees and tertiary study fees. A basket costing USD$30,000 in New York costs USD$16200. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$10,518 for Primary School, and USD$11,705 for High School.

5) Furniture & Appliances: Cost is low for items such as dining table and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas. A basket costing USD$2,500 in New York costs USD$1575. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$623, and USD$534 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV.

6) Groceries: Cost is low for items such as consumables, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, general food products, snacks, soft drinks. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$620. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$2.64, 1 kg oranges USD$1.70, 1 head lettuce USD$0.96, 1 kg potatos USD$1.48, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$7.46, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$11.25, 1 dozen large eggs USD$2.09, 500g loaf white bread USD$0.62, 1 L full cream milk USD$1.08, and 1.5 L water USD$1.04.

7) Healthcare: Cost is average for general heath care, doctor visits, hospital stays, non-prescription medicine, and medical insurance. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$640. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$52, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,599.

8) Household Accommodation: Cost is average for items such as apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities. A basket costing USD$5,000 in New York costs USD$2100. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$1,541 in a central location, and USD$960 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.

9) Miscellaneous: Cost is low for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$280. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$5.50, while an international newspaper is USD$1.69.

10) Personal Care: Cost is high for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$395. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$32, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$158.

11) Recreation & Culture: Cost is average for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$355. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$9.09, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$56 per month.

12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Cost is average for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$510. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$3.09, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$0.70, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$7.96, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$34.07.

13) Transport: Cost is average for items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car hire, public transport, vehicle purchase and maintenance. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$780. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$0.98, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$15,070.

How does the cost of living in Kenya compare?

Kenya is -24.9% cheaper than USA for groceries, -35.1% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 50% more expensive for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Kenya?

Kenya is ranked as a high degree of hardship location.The hardship premium for Kenya for an expat from Australia, is for example 20%, i.e. host location (Kenya) premium of 30% minus home (Australia) location premium of 10%.

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