Welcome to the new era of the Expatistan blog

Posted By on 22/03/2012

Today Expatistan is launching a new feature. From now on this blog will be your main source of Expatistan news and data, as well as other expat-related content.

The blog is still under construction as we continue to work out the details of how we'll be running it, what improvements and upgrades we can introduce, and what content will best serve you, our readers. But be sure to start checking back regularly, because we'll be updating the blog a couple times a week. Or subscribe to the blog's RSS feed and read posts in any feed reader as soon as it comes out.

From now on, this will be an easier, faster way for us to share with you all the information and data that we gather behind the scenes. You already know how to use the Cost of Living Index, and you can learn more of the basics about Expatistan from our existing informational pages: "What is Expatistan?," "How does it work?," "Who are we?," and the FAQ page. But here on the blog you'll find regular updates about Expatistan and other news related to what we do.

The team behind this blog is Gerardo, the founder and editor of Expatistan.com (and a Spaniard living in the Czech Republic), and Peter, a writer and Expatistan contributor (and an American living in Colombia). We’ll be manning this blog together—with, we hope, some help from you.

We hope you'll join us on this new venture. And please contact us with any questions or comments. If you have ideas for content, information, or features you'd like to see here, please let us know.


Cost of life index for expats, January 2012

Posted By on 04/01/2012

Tokyo remains world’s most expensive city

In 1965, Tokyo surpassed New York to become the largest city in the world. And for nearly as long it has maintained a global reputation for being one of the most expensive cities in the world. Expatistan’s January 2012 Cost-of-Living Index shows that reputation to be well deserved, as Tokyo not only holds on to the top spot, but in the last six months grew more expensive even in comparison to the next most expensive cities.

From June 2011 to January 2012, Tokyo more than doubled its margin over the world’s second most expensive city. At the middle of last year, the Japanese capital was 4 percent more expensive than Oslo, the No. 2 city at the time. Now Zurich has climbed to No. 2, and Tokyo’s cost of living grew to 10 percent more than that of Zurich, as well as 14 percent more than that of Oslo, which dropped to No. 3 on the list.

Though Tokyo solidified its position at the top of the list, the next most expensive cities diversified over the last six months. Last year the top 10 included five Australian cities and four European cities; now they include two Australian cities, four European cities, three Asian cities, and one city in the United States. Following Tokyo, Zurich, and Oslo are Geneva (the second Swiss city in the top 4), Sydney, London, New York, Perth (the second Australian city in the top 8), Singapore, and Hong Kong.

The cheapest cities in the world are almost exclusively in South Asia and the Middle East. Of the 132 cities currently ranked on the index, the cheapest is Kolkata, followed by four more Indian cities: Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, and Delhi. Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, ties Delhi for fifth-cheapest and is followed by Mumbai and Cairo. The only cities among the ten cheapest that are outside Asia and North Africa are Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, and Cluj-Napoca, in Romania.

The Expatistan Cost-of-Living Index is calculated daily based on prices inputted by people around the world. The data on which it is generated is entirely crowdsourced: Expatriates and locals from Vancouver to Jakarta enter local prices for 48 goods in a basket that covers food, housing, entertainment, transportation, and other living expenses. Prices from cities in different countries are compared using daily-updated currency exchange rates.

All cities listed in the index are ranked and compared to Prague, which maintains a permanent index value of 100, and other cities’ values ar

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It takes 200,000 prices to become the biggest free database of prices in the world

Posted By on 24/08/2011

Last week, one Expatistan user entered the 200,000th price collected in the site's database. I wish I could say he or she gets a prize. But though there's no prize for that person (we don't know who it was!), the figure of 200,000 prices represents a prize for all Expatistan users.

Expatistan has only existed for 20 months, which means users have entered an average of 10,000 prices a month since its founding. But that average is misleading. Back in June, when I last summarized the site's growth, users had only submitted about 150,000 prices. So there have been 50,000 new prices in the last couple months, meaning the site's database is currently growing at over 20,000 new prices per month (or nearly 700 new prices per day). And since June, over 12,000 people have entered prices for the first time. That means that over 150 people each day are contributing to the site for the first time. At this rate, Expatistan will have its 50,000th contributor in just a few weeks.

And though users are the most important engine behind Expatistan, they aren't the only ones driving its growth. Also in the last couple months, the database was dramatically expanded, from less than 1,000 cities to 2,750. Most of these cities are still babies on the site, as only 700 have data yet (and only the 159 cities with statistically reliable data are included in the Cost of Living Index). But now people in 145 countries on every continent can contribute prices. Especially if your city is one of the 2,000 cities still without data, go add some prices!

There are always other ways to interact with Expatistan too. If the site has helped you when you were, say, planning a vacation or a move to a new city, liking it on Facebook helps the site in return—and, more importantly, helps your friends learn about Expatistan, so they can use it themselves. (I didn't know my best friend from childhood used the site until I saw that he had liked in on Facebook.) Sending the page to a friend interested in traveling or moving abroad has the same effect, and comes with a nicer personal touch.

Because it's all crowd-sourced, this expansion means Expatistan is becoming more useful by the day. A city with little data today might make its way onto the Cost of Living Index in a month—if enough people contribute prices from that city. And, as always, more current prices from an already listed city mean that the da

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No Deals Down Under

Posted By on 05/06/2011

Expatistan.com cost-of-living index shows many of world’s most expensive cities are in Australia; cheapest are in India

Tokyo may have 13 million residents, but most of the world's population would not be able to afford life there.The Japanese capital ranks first onExpatistan.com's June 2011 global cost-of-living index.

Expatistan is a year-and-a-half-old company dedicated to providing information to expatriates and potential expatriates before relocation to a new city or country. Founded in January 2010 by software engineer Gerardo Robledillo, a Spanish expatriate currently living in the Czech Republic, its cost-of-living index is a crowd-sourced, algorithm-generated list of cities ranked by price data submitted by expatriates living around the world.

Expatistan invites expats to enter local prices for goods ranging from toothpaste to utilities, and compiles constantly adjusted scores for each city in its database.Robledillo still runs the site by himself, but its contributors come from around the world.Since its founding, 34,000 users have submitted 150,000 prices from 550 cities in 110 countries.Its database includes over 900 cities, but its index only ranks cities on which substantial data has been entered, and it grows as reliable data on more cities arrives.In January, the index ranked 119 cities; it now ranks 134. Prague, where Robledillo lives, serves as the index's comparison point, with a permanent index score of 100.

Tokyo earns its No. 1 spot with a current index score of 237, showing that it is more than twice as expensive as Prague. The Japanese capital is the only top-10 city outside Europe or Australia. Following close behind it are Oslo, Geneva, and Zurich.

Australia is home to the next four most expensive cities—Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane—as well as No. 10 Adelaide. Rounding out the top ten is London, at No. 9.

Unlike other cost-of-living rankings, which are based on a few data points gathered by companies’ salaried employees and sold to customers, Expatistan's data is collected and shared publicly and freely on its website, Expatistan.com. It also differs from other similar lists in that it is not meant to gauge every factor of a city's finances, but rather the expenses that expats are most likely to incur. Thus, for instance, the monthly rent input asks for the average price of a two-bedroom furnished apartment in an “expat area of the city.”

The index shows that the greatest regional disparities are in Asia and Europe. In Asia, global financial centers Toky

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Cost of life index for expats, June 2011

Posted By on 01/06/2011

Highlights about Expatistan

  • Launched in January 2010
  • Collaborative database of prices (crowdsourced, like Wikipedia). The website users enter the prices for their own cities. Therefore, not all of the 900+ cities contained in the database have data yet.
  • Uses Prague as anchor value (Prague = 100)
  • 136,000 prices entered in 545 different cities by 31,500 users coming from 110 different countries.
  • Compiles prices for 36 various products divided into 6 categories (Food, Housing, Clothes, Transportation, Personal Care, and Entertainment).
  • The index shows only the 134 cities that have enough data to be reliable. All cities are accesible in the application, though.
  • More information about expatistan:

Highlights of the June 2011 Cost of Life Index

  • As of June 2011, Expatistan.com's cost of living index ranks Tokyo, Japan as the number one most expensive city in the world.
  • Following behind Tokyo are Zurich, Oslo, Sydney and Perth. Australia also claims a third city in the top ten, with Melbourne at #6, followed by London, Singapore, New York City and Washington D.C. But Brisbane in Australia, though ranked 11th most expensive city, actually shares the same price index, 189, as Washington D.C.
  • There's 5 Australian cities in the top ten, 4 European ones and no American or African cities.
  • The world's cheapest city for expats, out of the 134 cities currently listed in the index is Kolkata, India, with a price index of 44, less than 1/5 of the price of the most expensive one.
  • Asia contains the biggest disparity, with some of the world's most expensive cities (like Tokyo and Singapore) and also the cheapest ones (like Kolkata and Bangalore in India).

Top 5 cost of living ranking cities worldwide

  1. Tokyo (Japan)
  2. Oslo (Norway)
  3. Geneva (Switzerland)
  4. Zurich (Switzerland)
  5. Sydney (Australia)

Cost of Living Index (as of Jan 1st 2011):

The up-to-date live index can be found on http://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/index

Global Index

Ranking City Price Index
1 Tokyo (Japan) 236
2 Oslo (Norway) 227
3 Geneva (Switzerland) 226
4 Zurich (Switzerland) 225
5 Sydney (Australia) 216
6 Perth (Australia) 207
7 Melbourne (Australia) 203
8 Brisbane (Australia) 199
9 London (United Kingdom) 199
10 Adelaide (Australia) 191
11 Singapore (Singapore) 189
12 Riya
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