The cost of living is the amount of money needed to sustain a certain standard of living by affording basic expenses. Basic expenses include housing, food, taxes, and healthcare. Cities or metropolitan areas with higher costs of living should also have higher salary wages than areas with a lower cost of living.
A living index cost measures the differences in the price of goods and services over periods or between cities, regions, and countries. The rent index is an estimation of prices of renting apartments in a location compared to another. The restaurant index compares prices of meals and drinks in restaurants and bars in a location compared to another. Local purchasing power shows the relative purchasing power in buying goods and services in a given location for the average wage in that location.
The data presented here is indexed relative to New York City. This means that New York has an index in each category of 100. Numbers below 100 are less expensive than New York City's costs, and numbers above 100 are more expensive than New York City. For reference, the average rent in New York City is around $3,000. Most expenses in New York City, including food and restaurants, are higher than in other parts of the United States.
According to mid-2020 data, only two countries have the cost of living higher than New York City: Bermuda and Switzerland. Bermuda's cost of living index is 147.77, and Switzerland's is 125.69. No country has a higher rent index (above 100) than New York City, which means no country's average rent is higher than NYC. However, some foreign cities have higher rent indexes than NYC, as well as higher costs of living overall.
Pakistan has the lowest cost of living index globally at 21.00. This means that the cost of living in Pakistan is 79% lower than the cost of living in New York City. Additionally, the rent index is 4.28, meaning that rent is 95.72% less expensive. Following Pakistan is India (24.12), Kyrgyzstan (24.70), and Afghanistan (26.71). Below is a table of each country's index for overall cost of living, rent, cost of living plus rent, groceries, restaurant prices, and local purchasing power.