International Cost of Living Calculators

2020 International cost of living and hardship / quality of living data for 780 global locations.

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Cost of Living Reviews by City and Country for 780 International Locations

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Korea Republic of, All Areas

Korea Republic of, All Areas

Cost of living in the Republic of Korea, prices and what it is like to live for an Expat, quality of life / hardship, and compare cost of living for Expatriates as at April 2020.

What is it like to live in the Republic of Korea?

  • The Republic of Korea is in Eastern Asia, in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea.
  • The climate is temperate with rainfall heavier in summer.
  • The official language is Korean. English is widely spoken in official and business circles but not all are likely to speak it. It is spoken by staff at most good hotels.
  • The main religions are Buddhism and Christianity.
  • The economy of South Korea is a developed, largely free-market economy that is the fourth largest in Asia and 15th largest in the world. An extremely competitive education system and a highly skilled and motivated workforce are two key factors driving this knowledge economy that has the world's highest scientific literacy and second highest mathematical literacy.
  • In South Korea, business titles are often used as a sign of respect. Expatriate dress code is typically formal, such as suits. The safety risk for expatriates in South Korea is low. Risks include low levels of petty crime, periodic anti-US or anti-Japanese sentiment, and the threat of nuclear weapons from North Korea.
  • The currency of South Korea is the South-Korean Won (KRW). Credit cards are accepted in major cities. ATMs are widely available, but may not accept all international cards.
  • Health care facilities are of a good standard but can be expensive. The Coronavirus COVID-19 total reported cases for South Korea as at 26 May 2020 is 11,225, with 269 deaths. The rate of deaths per 1 million population is 5.
  • The population is 51.4 Million (2020 est.), and the inflation rate (CPI) is 0.1% for South Korea as at April 2020.
  • The Xpatulator Hypothetical Tax for Republic of Korea is based on the current personal income tax (PIT) rates which are progressive up to 42%. Besides PIT, there is also local income tax that is assessed at a rate of 10% of the PIT rates. The inclusive rates are therefore progressive up to 46.2 ((42% + (42%*10%)).

Within the Republic of Korea we also cover Busan, Daegu, Incheon, and Seoul.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Republic of Korea?

The cost of living for expatriates in Republic of Korea as at April 2020 is very high in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 80.27 (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 Republic of Korea is as follows:
1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: 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$1070. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$17.49, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$2.55, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$3.21 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$4.91.
2) Clothing: for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$1160. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$60, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$82, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$125 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$41.
3) Communication: 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$22, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$0.13 per minute.
4) Education: 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$24600. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$15,982 for Primary School, and USD$17,785 for High School.
5) Furniture & Appliances: 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$2125. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$707, and USD$607 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV.
6) Groceries: 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$1350. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$8.07, 1 kg oranges USD$6.88, 1 head lettuce USD$2.80, 1 kg potatos USD$4.67, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$11.66, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$21.85, 1 dozen large eggs USD$3.51, 500g loaf white bread USD$3.17, 1 L full cream milk USD$2.67, and 1.5 L water USD$1.48.
7) Healthcare: 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$750. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$61, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,876.
8) Household Accommodation: 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$2200. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$2,812 in a central location, and USD$1,693 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.
9) Miscellaneous: for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$445. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$8.70, while an international newspaper is USD$2.68.
10) Personal Care: for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$410. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$33, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$164.
11) Recreation & Culture: for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$390. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$10.93, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$72 per month.
12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: 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$750. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$4.88, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$1.82, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$6.57, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$43.72.
13) Transport: 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$800. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$1.29, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$26,907.

How does the cost of living in Republic of Korea compare?

Republic of Korea is 80.7% more expensive than USA for groceries, -22.5% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 70% more expensive for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Republic of Korea?

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

Want to know more about cost of living, hardship (quality of living) or expat salary in Republic of Korea? Register subscribe to your home location and Republic of Korea and run your personalised reports.