International Cost of Living Calculators

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Sierra Leone, All Areas

Sierra Leone, All Areas

Cost of living in Sierra Leone, 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 Sierra Leone?

Climate: The climate is tropical, hot and humid with a summer rainy season and a winter dry season.

Language: The official language is English. Krio (an English creole) is the lingua franca. Local tribal languages are also spoken.

Religion: Islam and Christianity.

Economy: The economy of Sierra Leone is slowly emerging from a protracted civil war and is showing signs of a successful transition. The country is very rich in minerals and has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. The country is among the top 10 diamond producing nations in the world, and mineral exports remain the main foreign currency earner.

Inflation: 50.94% for Sierra Leone as at August 2023.

Money: The currency of Sierra Leone is the Sierra Leone Leone (SLL). Sierra Leone is largely a cash based economy. Credit cards are accepted at only a few hotels in Freetown. ATMs are available but limited in Freetown but there are high levels of fraud reported. Outside of Freetown credit cards are not accepted and ATMs are not be available.

Tax: In Sierra Leone is based on the current personal income tax rates which are progressive up to 35%.

Population: 8 Million (2022 est.)

Expat Life: Expatriate dress code is mostly conservative, though ties are not always worn. The safety risk for expatriates in Sierra Leone is high. Risks include theft and violence. Other risks include poor infrastructure, hazardous driving conditions, and unreliable electricity and water.

Health Care: Health care facilities are well below international standards. Any health care treatment is required to be paid for up front. Rabies, lassa fever, water-borne diseases, malaria and other tropical diseases are common. Cholera is endemic.

Sierra Leone covers all areas within the country other than Freetown.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Sierra Leone?

The cost of living for expatriates in Sierra Leone as at October 2023 is low in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 54.16 (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 Sierra Leone is as follows:

1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: Cost is very low 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$510. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$7.16, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$1.56, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$2.17 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$2.24.

2) Clothing: Cost is very low for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$370. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$19, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$48, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$52 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$26.

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$190. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$49, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$6.73 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$17100. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$11,073 for Primary School, and USD$12,322 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$2625. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$781, and USD$671 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$640. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$2.04, 1 kg oranges USD$1.24, 1 head lettuce USD$0.77, 1 kg potatos USD$1.65, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$3.36, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$5.64, 1 dozen large eggs USD$2.00, 500g loaf white bread USD$1.22, 1 L full cream milk USD$5.53, and 1.5 L water USD$0.86.

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$610. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$49, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,518.

8) Household Accommodation: Cost is low 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$1450. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$2,319 in a central location, and USD$1,125 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$430. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$8.36, while an international newspaper is USD$2.57.

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$380. 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$151.

11) Recreation & Culture: Cost is low for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$220. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$7.34, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$72 per month.

12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Cost is low 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$350. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$2.44, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$0.90, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$7.12, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$36.59.

13) Transport: Cost is average 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$640. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$2.12, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$19,185.

How does the cost of living in Sierra Leone compare?

Sierra Leone is -19.1% cheaper than USA for groceries, -50.6% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 27.2% more expensive for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Sierra Leone?

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

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