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Cook Islands, All Areas

Cook Islands, All Areas

Cost of living in the Cook Islands, 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 2023.

What is it like to live in the Cook Islands?

Climate: The climate is tropical oceanic, moderated by the trade winds.

Language: The official languages are English and Cook Islands Maori (also known as Rarotongan)

Religion: Christianity.

Economy: The Economy of the Cook Islands is isolated from foreign markets, has inadequate infrastructure, lacks major natural resources and suffers greatly from natural disasters. Agriculture is the main economic base while there is limited manufacturing. The Cook Islands economy is reliant on foreign aid, mostly from New Zealand.

Inflation: -0.56% for Cook Islands as at December 2022.

Money: The currency of the Cook Islands is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) and the Cook Islands Dollar (only good in the Cook Islands). ATMs dispense New Zealand Dollars.

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

Population: 17,400 (2022 est.)

Expat Life: In the Cook Islands, the dress code is mostly informal, though appropriately modest attire should be worn in towns and villages. Women are expected to wear dresses for church services and social functions. The lifestyle is very simple. The safety risk for expatriates in the Cook Islands is low. Risks include the relatively low risk of petty crime.

Health Care: Health care facilities in the Cook Islands are limited. In the event of a health care emergency, evacuation to mainland New Zealand is likely for treatment. Cases of Dengue fever, Chikungunya virus and Zika virus have been reported.

the Cook Islands covers all areas within the country other than Avarua.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Cook Islands?

The cost of living for expatriates in Cook Islands as at January 2023 is average in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 62.69 (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 Cook Islands 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$740. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$12.16, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$3.81, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$4.04 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$24.30.

2) Clothing: Cost is average for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$820. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$69, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$90, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$107 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$35.

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$204. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$52, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$0.26 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$17400. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$11,246 for Primary School, and USD$12,515 for High School.

5) Furniture & Appliances: Cost is average 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$1675. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$638, and USD$548 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$610. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$3.06, 1 kg oranges USD$3.21, 1 head lettuce USD$2.28, 1 kg potatos USD$2.66, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$10.50, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$8.34, 1 dozen large eggs USD$4.23, 500g loaf white bread USD$1.97, 1 L full cream milk USD$2.17, and 1.5 L water USD$1.48.

7) Healthcare: Cost is low 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$550. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$45, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,380.

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$2150. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$2,847 in a central location, and USD$1,935 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$305. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$5.94, while an international newspaper is USD$1.83.

10) Personal Care: Cost is average for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$290. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$23, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$117.

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$275. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$13.78, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$48 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$540. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$3.78, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$2.89, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$8.73, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$59.71.

13) Transport: Cost is 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$960. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$1.38, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$21,813.

How does the cost of living in Cook Islands compare?

Cook Islands is -20.6% cheaper than USA for groceries, -22% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 81.3% more expensive for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Cook Islands?

Cook Islands is ranked as a some hardship location.The hardship premium for Cook Islands for an expat from Australia, is for example 10%, i.e. host location (the Cook Islands) premium of 20% minus home (Australia) location premium of 10%.

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