International Cost of Living Calculators

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Saudi Arabia, Riyadh

Saudi Arabia, Riyadh

Cost of living in Riyadh, 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 Riyadh?

Riyadh: Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia.

Economy: Riyadh is a large metropolis and is a focal point for both travel and trade.

Inflation: 2% for Saudi Arabia as at August 2023.

Riyadh Population: 6.5 Million (2022 est.)

Expat Life: 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.

Health Care: 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.

For other areas within the country see Saudi Arabia.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Riyadh?

The cost of living for expatriates in Riyadh as at October 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 64.2 (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 Riyadh is as follows:

1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: Cost is average for tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$710.

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$830. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$53, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$111, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$100 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$59.

3) Communication: Cost is very 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$286. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$71, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$36.38 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$28200. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$18,382 for Primary School, and USD$20,456 for High School.

5) Furniture & Appliances: Cost is high 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$2475. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$760, and USD$653 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$650. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$1.17, 1 kg oranges USD$0.92, 1 head lettuce USD$1.33, 1 kg potatos USD$0.72, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$4.59, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$4.65, 1 dozen large eggs USD$3.45, 500g loaf white bread USD$1.11, 1 L full cream milk USD$8.54, and 1.5 L water USD$0.75.

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$1,368.

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$2050. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$3,046 in a central location, and USD$1,775 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$345. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$6.68, while an international newspaper is USD$2.06.

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$260. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$21, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$103.

11) Recreation & Culture: Cost is very high for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$585. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$22.54, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$136 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$520. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$5.23, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$1.04, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$8.67, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$69.34.

13) Transport: Cost is 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$600. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$2.30, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$24,004.

How does the cost of living in Riyadh compare?

Riyadh is -11.4% cheaper than Houston TX for groceries, 84% more expensive for household costs than Kuala Lumpur, and -18.6% cheaper for transport costs than Dubai.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Riyadh?

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

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