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What is the EIU Worldwide Cost of Living Survey?

How is the survey used?
Who subscribes to the survey?
Which cities are covered?
What types of product are included in the survey?

How is the survey used?

The Worldwide Cost of Living survey enables human resources line managers and expatriate executives to compare the cost of living in 140 cities in 93 countries and calculate fair compensation policies for relocating employees.

The survey gathers detailed information on the cost of more than 160 items--from food, toiletries and clothing to domestic help, transport and utility bills--in every city. More than 50,000 individual prices are collected in each survey round, which take place in March and September, and surveys are updated each June and December. A cost-of-living index is calculated from the price data to express the difference in the cost of living between any two cities.

Companies can then apply this index to an executive's spendable income to reach a fair cost of living allowance. The purpose of a cost of living allowance is to reimburse employees for excess living costs resulting from a foreign assignment. Payment is based on the assumption that an expatriate has a right to live at the assignment site in the same manner and with the same kind of goods and services he would find at home. A salary calculator on the site enables you to make these calculations within seconds.

The survey also contains price information for other cost categories, helping you create separate allowances to cover housing costs, school fees and business trips. In addition, background information is provided on each city's housing market and on local disposable income levels.

 Who subscribes to the survey?

Remuneration is not the sole preserve of HR directors, personnel managers or vice presidents of people. Our list of buyers reflects this, increasingly so as people management responsibilities spread throughout organisations. Clients include heads of research, accountants and strategy advisors as well as CEOs, CFOs and, of course, the HR director.

Which cities are covered? 

Europe
Almaty (December only)
Amsterdam
Athens
Barcelona
Baku (June only)
Belgrade
Berlin
Bratislava (June only)
Brussels
Bucharest
Budapest
Copenhagen
Dublin
Dusseldorf
Frankfurt
Geneva
Hamburg
Helsinki
Istanbul
Kiev
Lisbon
London
Luxembourg
Lyon
Madrid
Manchester
Milan
Moscow
Munich
Oslo
Paris
Prague
Reykjavik
Rome
Sofia (December only)
St. Petersburg
Stockholm
Tashkent
Vienna
Warsaw
Zurich

North America
Atlanta
Boston
Calgary (June only)
Chicago
Cleveland
Detroit
Honolulu
Houston
Lexington
Los Angeles
Miami
Minneapolis
Montreal
New York
Pittsburgh
San Francisco
Seattle
Toronto
Vancouver
Washington DC

Latin America
Asuncion
Bogota
Buenos Aires
Caracas
Guatemala City
Lima
Mexico City
Montevideo
Panama City
Quito
Rio de Janeiro
San Jose (Costa Rica)
San Juan (June only)
Santiago
Sao Paulo

Asia-Pacific
Adelaide
Auckland
Bandar Seri Begawan
Bangkok
Beijing
Brisbane
Colombo
Dalian
Dhaka
Guangzhou
Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh
Hong Kong
Jakarta
Karachi
Kathmandu (December only)
Kuala Lumpur
Manila
Melbourne
Mumbai
New Delhi
Noumea (December only)
Osaka/Kobe
Perth
Phnom Penh
Port Moresby (June only)
Qingdao
Seoul
Shanghai
Shenzhen
Singapore
Sydney
Suzhou
Taipei
Tianjin
Tokyo
Wellington

Middle East/ Africa
Abidjan
Abu Dhabi
Al Khobar
Algiers
Amman
Bahrain
Cairo
Casablanca (June only)
Dakar (December only)
Damascus (December only)
Doha (December only)
Douala (June only)
Dubai
Harare (June only)
Jeddah
Johannesburg
Kuwait
Lagos
Lusaka (December only)
Muscat (December only)
Nairobi
Pretoria
Riyadh
Tehran
Tel Aviv
Tripoli (December only)
Tunis (June only)
 

It is also possible conduct one-off surveys of cities not included in the list above or of a selection of items not included in the normal basket. For more details of the opportunities for custom surveys, please contact the Economist Intelligence Unit.

What types of product are included in the survey?

Each city report lists local prices for 167 products and services. These are divided into 13 sub-categories, the first 10 of which are included in the weighted index calculation: 

Shopping basket
Alcoholic beverages
Household supplies
Personal care
Tobacco
Utilities
Clothing
Domestic help
Recreation & entertainment
Transportation

 The final three subcategories are included in the price survey but not included in the index calculation: 

Housing rents
International schools, health & sports
Business trip costs