International Cost of Living Calculators

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

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Belgium, All Areas

Belgium, All Areas

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

What is it like to live in Belgium?

Climate: The climate is temperate with mild winters and cool summers. It is often rainy, humid and cloudy.

Language: The official languages are French and Dutch (known in Flanders as Flemish). Very few people in Flanders speak good French, even fewer Walloons speak Dutch, and using the other community's language is rarely fruitful. Many businesspeople and most government officials are also likely to speak English, particularly in Brussels and the larger towns of Flanders.

Religion: Christianity.

Economy: The economy of Belgium is a modern, private enterprise economy that has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base.

Inflation: 2.73% for Belgium as at August 2021.

Money: The currency of Belgium is the Euro (EUR). Banking is on a par with the rest of Western Europe and North America.

Tax: In Belgium is based on the current personal income tax rates which are progressive up to 50%. Tax is applicable to net taxable income after the deduction of social security charges and professional expenses. In addition, communal taxes are levied at rates varying from 0% to 9% of the income tax due. The average rate being 7%.

Population: 11.6 Million (2020 est.)

Expat Life: Belgians are generally democratic and non-discriminatory. Brussels is officially bilingual, however in the regions language can be an issue with some regions being French speaking and others Dutch speaking. Expatriate dress code is becoming less formal but remains conservative and most Belgians tend to use formal titles and surnames when addressing business associates, at least upon first meeting. The safety risk for expatriates in Belgium is low. Risks include petty crime, occasional immigrant and nationalist tension, and an underlying risk of terrorism.

Health Care: Health care facilities are good, however the cost of treatment for expatriates from outside the EU can be high.

Belgium covers all areas within the country other than Brussels.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Belgium?

The cost of living for expatriates in Belgium as at July 2021 is high in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 78.97 (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 Belgium 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$700. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$9.48, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$1.78, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$2.33 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$9.14.

2) Clothing: Cost is high for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$1230. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$88, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$88, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$124 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$39.

3) Communication: Cost is high 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$230. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$48, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$0.20 per minute.

4) Education: Cost is average 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$25200. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$16,469 for Primary School, and USD$18,327 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$1650. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$635, and USD$545 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV.

6) Groceries: Cost is average 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$830. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$3.09, 1 kg oranges USD$3.09, 1 head lettuce USD$1.56, 1 kg potatos USD$2.02, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$11.82, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$17.02, 1 dozen large eggs USD$3.37, 500g loaf white bread USD$2.22, 1 L full cream milk USD$1.29, and 1.5 L water USD$1.22.

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$730. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$59, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,816.

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$2400. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$2,045 in a central location, and USD$1,462 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.

9) Miscellaneous: Cost is high for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$465. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$9.05, while an international newspaper is USD$2.78.

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$370. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$30, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$148.

11) Recreation & Culture: Cost is high for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$420. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$14.90, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$35 per month.

12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Cost is very high 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$880. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$3.91, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$3.29, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$10.91, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$81.26.

13) Transport: Cost is very high 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$1170. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$1.51, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$24,527.

How does the cost of living in Belgium compare?

Belgium is 1% more expensive than USA for groceries, -30.5% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 125.2% more expensive for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Belgium?

Belgium is ranked as a minimal hardship location.The hardship premium for Belgium for an expat from Australia, is for example 0%, i.e. host location (Belgium) premium of 10% minus home (Australia) location premium of 10%.

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