Numbeo has published its Cost of Living Index for mid-year 2018, ranking the most expensive cities in the the world, including five from South Africa.
The Numbeo index compares the cost of living across the world relative to New York City, which has an index score of 100 (100%). The index looks at the relative costs across several categories, including rent, the cost of food, transport and entertainment.
It also takes the local purchasing power into account.
If another city has, for example, a rent index of 120, it means that on an average in that city, rents are 20% more expensive than in New York City. If a city has a rent index of 70, that means on an average in that city, rents are 30% less expensive than in New York City.
Pretoria was ranked as the most expensive city in South Africa with an index score of 45.89, followed by Johannesburg (45.51), Cape Town (41.58), Durban (40.48) and Port Elizabeth (39.41).
On a global scale, South African cities are still on the more affordable end of the spectrum, with the most expensive city, Pretoria, ranking 352nd out of 538 cities measured, and the rest falling below that.
Globally, cities in Scandinavian nations like Switzerland and Norway are ranked as the most expensive, with Hamilton, Berumda, being the surprising top of the list, with cost of living almost 38% higher than New York.
On the lower end, it is mostly Indian cities which rank as the cheapest to live in, with relative cost of living being around 80% cheaper than in New York.
The table below outlines where South African cities rank in the global list.
Other South African cities
The Numbeo Index is similar to another index run by Expatistan – both use self-reported data from users, and both try to show the relative cost of living for those looking to move and work abroad. Also like the Numbeo index, Expatistan looks at costs across a wide variety of categories, including rent, food, transport and entertainment.
However, instead of using New York as its base city, the Expatistan index uses Prague.
Because the group relies on user-entered data, those are the only four cities that have enough comparable data to rank on the global list. Pretoria is the most expensive, followed by Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
However, the group also provides local data, showing how many of the smaller cities rank. Of the 28 cities covered, Expatistan ranks the top 10 based on the quality of the data (ie, there is enough data to accurately gauge the cost of living in those areas).
In the table below we’ve included all 29 South African cities covered by Expatistan, and highlighted where the top 10 fits in.