The COST OF LIVING INDEX by Global Residence Index
Latest update: November 21, 2023
When relocating, people are usually caught completely off guard by some of required expenses. There are many expenses attributed to relocation, not all of which can be planned in advance. We cover the most important expenses that a family of three can expect. The missing expenses depend upon too many factors to be included in our calculations. These include those for traveling back and forth between countries (relative to country of origin and season of travel), furniture costs (some individuals might bring their own, or rent a furnished apartment). Some countries have particularly high costs attributed to certain items that can raise the annual cost. For example, Singapore has a heavy tax on cars; other places like St. Helier have a very restrictive property market. The UAE is a very affordable place to live; its high tax on alcohol made it lose a couple of places in the ranking, but if you do not consume much or any alcohol, this will not be a factor. Goods in the U.S.A. are very cheap in comparison to other western countries, but it has the highest cost of health care and education in the world.
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Annual relocation costs include all the costs highlighted previously for a family of three. For the sake of simplicity, we assume that only one child will need to attend university at the time of relocation.
Health care costs can be covered by the host country’s public health care system. We have verified the countries that allow migrants to be covered through their immigration status. The annual costs are quotes from private health insurance companies in different countries based upon coverage, and apply to a couple with one underage children (including inpatient care, emergency evacuation, emergency repatriation, a $0.5M annual limit and $5,000 deductible).
The cost of living incorporates most everyday expenses: groceries and restaurants, clothing, transportation and fuel, utilities, etc. These are the expenses of a fairly affluent family, but do not enter into the realm of luxury item expenses. Rent is calculated separately. The estimate is based upon three active spenders in the family (the couple and the oldest child attending university).
The calculation is based on the following assumptions:
Eating lunch or dinner in restaurants (~50% of the time)
Choosing inexpensive restaurants (~20% of the time)
Drinking coffee outside the home (low)
Going out (cinema, nightlife, etc.) (an average of 3x/week per active spender)
Smoking (0.5 pack/day per household)
Alcoholic beverages (low consumption)
Eating at home (Asian food)
Taking Taxis (no)
Public transportation (no)
Sport/Gym Memberships (no)
Vacation and Travel (none)
Clothes shopping (moderate)
The cost of university is linked to the migrant’s immigration status. Some universities have different tuitions for local versus foreign students. As with health care, you cannot look at this cost without considering the quality of the product. Costs include not only tuition fees, but all costs associated with attending the university (excluding books and residence). If applicable, the annual cost was based upon the Business Administration undergraduate Bachelor program. The determination of whether the local or foreign annual university cost is integrated into the overall annual relocation cost is specific to each country and program policy on the subject.
Annual rent is calculated based upon a floor area of 110m2 in the city center. It accounts for the average cost of property, and does not target luxury housing. Depending on where you live, the cost can increase significantly, especially in cities where crime and violence are rampant.