International Cost of Living Calculators

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Afghanistan, All Areas

Afghanistan, All Areas

Cost of living in Afghanistan, prices and what it is like to live for an Expat, quality of life / hardship, and compare cost of living for Expatriates as at October 2023.

What is it like to live in Afghanistan?

Climate: The climate is arid to semi arid with cold winters and hot summers.

Language: Dari (Afghan Persian) and Pashto are the country's official languages, the former is used in business and government. English is spoken among the elite, but to a lesser degree by the rest of the population.

Religion: Islam.

Economy: The economy of Afghanistan has improved significantly since 2002 due to the infusion of multi-billion US dollars in international assistance and investments, remittances from expats, dramatic improvements in agricultural production and the end of a four-year drought in most of the country. However, Afghanistan still remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world and is highly dependent on foreign aid.

Inflation: -6.5% for Afghanistan as at June 2023.

Money: The currency of Afghanistan is the Afghanistan Afghani (AFN). Credit cards are not accepted. Some ATMs in Kabul dispense US dollars as well as the local currency.

Tax: In Afghanistan is based on the amount of income tax payable by a natural person. The current personal income tax rates are progressive up to 20%.

Population: 38.8 Million (2022 est.)

Expat Life: In Afghanistan conservative Islamic values should be respected. Men and women are strictly segregated. It is advisable to use your right hand for eating, greeting and accepting gifts. It is not advisable to take photographs of local people, or official buildings etc. Expatriate women should dress modestly in public and ensure hair, arms and legs are covered. They should also be accompanied by an expatriate male colleague and sit in the back seat of vehicles. The working week is Sunday to Thursday. Businesses are closed on Fridays. The safety risk for expatriates is extreme in Afghanistan. Risks include armed insurgent activities targeted at the government and foreign safety personnel, suicide attacks, armed robbery, petty theft, carjacking and rape.

Health Care: Health care facilities are limited. Diarrhoeal diseases and other gastrointestinal infections are common. Respiratory tuberculosis is common. Malaria is present.

Afghanistan covers all areas within the country other than Kabul.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Afghanistan?

The cost of living for expatriates in Afghanistan as at October 2023 is very low in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 35.35 (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 Afghanistan is as follows:

1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: Cost is very low for tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$500.

2) Clothing: Cost is very low for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$240. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$15, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$23, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$24 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$15.

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$176. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$157, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$12.56 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$14400. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$9,385 for Primary School, and USD$10,444 for High School.

5) Furniture & Appliances: Cost is very 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$1300. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$580, and USD$498 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV.

6) Groceries: Cost is very 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$400. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$0.35, 1 kg oranges USD$0.46, 1 head lettuce USD$0.30, 1 kg potatos USD$0.18, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$1.47, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$1.78, 1 dozen large eggs USD$1.64, 500g loaf white bread USD$0.27, 1 L full cream milk USD$2.87, and 1.5 L water USD$0.35.

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$600. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$48, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,490.

8) Household Accommodation: Cost is very low 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$900. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$1,069 in a central location, and USD$591 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.

9) Miscellaneous: Cost is average for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$295. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$5.71, while an international newspaper is USD$1.76.

10) Personal Care: Cost is low for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$275. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$22, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$109.

11) Recreation & Culture: Cost is very low for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$145. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$2.82, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$11 per month.

12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Cost is very low 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$240. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$1.30, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$0.56, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$3.94, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$10.40.

13) Transport: Cost is very low 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$360. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$3.20, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$6,571.

How does the cost of living in Afghanistan compare?

Afghanistan is -50% cheaper than USA for groceries, -69.7% cheaper for household costs than UK, and -29.1% cheaper for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan is ranked as an extreme hardship location.The hardship premium for Afghanistan for an expat from Australia, is for example 30%, i.e. host location (Afghanistan) premium of 40% minus home (Australia) location premium of 10%.

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