International Cost of Living Calculators

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

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Saudi Arabia, All Areas

Saudi Arabia, All Areas

Cost of living in Saudi Arabia, 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 Saudi Arabia?

  • Saudi Arabia is in the Middle East, bordering the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen.
  • The climate is harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes.
  • The official language is Arabic. Most Saudi business people and government officials have a reasonable knowledge of English. Expatriate Asian business people in Saudi Arabia invariably conduct business in English.
  • The main religion is Islam.
  • Saudi Arabia's economy is petroleum-based; roughly 75% of budget revenues and 90% of export earnings come from the oil industry.
  • In Saudi Arabia, Muslim sensitivities must be respected, such as avoiding public displays of affection. Expatriate dress code comprises business suits for men and loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves, hemlines and conservative necklines for women. In public, women must cover their heads and wear long loose-fitting clothes that cover their arms and legs. Wearing an abaya – traditional dress for local women – can be the simplest method of dressing to avoid attracting attention. The safety risk for expatriates in Saudi Arabia is medium. Risks include petty crime, the highly conservative Islamic society (particularly the religious police strict interpretation of Sharia law), and underlying safety threats. Other risks include the extremely high rate of road traffic accidents.
  • The currency of Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Riyal (SAR).
  • Health care facilities are of a high standard in major cities. Most towns have a health centre or basic hospital, however serious cases may require evacuation to hospitals in a major city. The Coronavirus COVID-19 total reported cases for Saudi Arabia as at 26 May 2020 is 74,795, with 399 deaths. The rate of deaths per 1 million population is 11.
  • The population is 34.7 Million (2020 est.), and the inflation rate (CPI) is 1.3% for Saudi Arabia as at April 2020.
  • The Xpatulator Hypothetical Tax for Saudi Arabia is based on the current personal income tax rate of 0% as there is currently no personal income tax.

Within Saudi Arabia we also cover Dammam, Mecca, Medinah, Jeddah, and Riyadh.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Saudi Arabia?

The cost of living for expatriates in Saudi Arabia as at April 2020 is low in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 54.76 (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 Saudi Arabia is as follows:
1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: for tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$370.
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$630. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$40, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$84, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$76 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$51.
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$248. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$65, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$0.12 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$27900. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$18,095 for Primary School, and USD$20,136 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$1400. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$594, and USD$510 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$490. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$2.43, 1 kg oranges USD$1.81, 1 head lettuce USD$1.31, 1 kg potatos USD$1.35, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$6.67, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$6.73, 1 dozen large eggs USD$2.59, 500g loaf white bread USD$0.79, 1 L full cream milk USD$1.64, and 1.5 L water USD$0.74.
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$520. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$42, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,300.
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$1950. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$2,125 in a central location, and USD$1,313 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$410. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$8.04, while an international newspaper is USD$2.47.
10) Personal Care: for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$205. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$16, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$82.
11) Recreation & Culture: for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$455. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$22.53, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$111 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$480. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$3.89, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$0.87, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$8.32, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$34.66.
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$550. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$0.39, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$19,198.

How does the cost of living in Saudi Arabia compare?

Saudi Arabia is -34.3% cheaper than USA for groceries, -30% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 16.5% more expensive for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Saudi Arabia?

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

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