Economist Group SitesAbout usContact usHelp


Selecting and viewing cities

Selecting cities
Viewing the indices 
Selecting cities 

 To make a comparison of the cost of living between cities, use the two city list boxes on the home page to select one base city--the place from which you are moving personnel--and one or more destination cities--the place to which you are moving personnel. There is in theory no limit on the number of cities you can choose as destination cities, although displaying more than five cities at any one time may make the presentation of information less clear. You cannot choose the same city as a base and a destination: the service is designed to express the difference in living costs between two separate locations. 

To select multiple destination cities, hold down the Control key on your keyboard at the same time as clicking on the city you want.

Once you have made your selection click on the Submit button to view the cost-of-living index and the price data. If you return to the home page, the system will remember your city selection and you can modify it immediately.  

Viewing the indices page

The indices page contains three main elements: the index table, the charting area, and the price data.

The index table is at the top of the screen and gives you instant access to the cost-of-living indices. The first index number shows the general index, which compares the overall cost of living in the base city (expressed as "100") against the chosen destination cities. Both the mean index and the high index for the base city are shown: the mean index is the one most companies use to determine the cost-of-living allowance. 

 Beneath the general index are the individual indices for the sub-categories of products and services used to calculate the index. These subcategories are: 

Shopping basket (food and non-alcoholic beverages)
Alcoholic beverages
Household supplies
Personal Care
Domestic help
Recreation & entertainment

 Links from within the index table take you immediately to background information on the cities you have chosen and to the prices of the products and services which comprise each of the subcategories. 

You can download the index table into Excel by clicking on the Export into Excel button. You can then convert this into printable indices using the print friendly template.

The charting area

in the middle of the indices page is where you can view the data in graphical form. The default view for the chart compares the base city against the mean index of the first destination city in your selection. You can add in other destination city indices by clicking on the index names in the selection box below the chart. Clicking on the index name again will remove them from the chart. 

 There are two types of chart format to choose from. The default view is of a clustered bar; you can also choose to view the data as a line chart.  

The actual prices for the products and services in the Worldwide Cost of Living survey are displayed below the charting area. These prices are displayed in both the local currencies of the selected cities, and, on the right-hand side of the table, in a common currency to enable easy comparison. As a default, the US dollar is used as a common currency, but the software gives you a choice of six currencies (the others are Japanese yen, British pound, Euro, Hong Kong dollar and Singapore dollar). You can select your common currency by using the dropdown menu at the top of the price data table. 

 Every effort is made to collect prices for every item in every city. However, in certain locations, the quality and range of the goods available means that they are not internationally comparable, and in others, goods are simply not available at all (alcohol in Muslim countries is an obvious example). In these cases, the cells are given the value "n/a". 

You can download all the price data into Excel by clicking on the Export to Excel button at the top of the price data table.  You can then convert this into printable indices using the print friendly template.