Monday Chat, a collaborative online database, provides cost of living comparisons between cities and countries of the world. It has just released its first six-month index for 2022. From this, let me point out some data for the US and Panamá (where most of my readers reside) and then Ecuador (where I’m currently based). Other indices presented are rent (with and without cost of living), groceries, restaurant, and local purchasing power (the amount of goods or services that a unit of currency can buy at a given point in time).

In the paragraph above, the most important word is collaborative. This database is made up of information provided by individuals; it is not fact checked. Despite this criticism, I think the data it provides is worth considering. My blog is intended to be a travel blog (though I didn’t do much traveling during the pandemic); it is not intended to seduce people to move to one of the countries I have attempted to explore.

The big picture shows that parts of the United States, Bermuda, and Switzerland are the most expensive countries in which to reside. The least expensive are parts of the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia. Ground zero for comparison is New York City with a score of 100. All cities and countries are reflected either side of this figure.

Based on 510 cities of the world with cost of living and purchasing power, Hamilton, Bermuda ranks at 145.98 (81.89) while Peshawar, Pakistan comes in at 15.69 (27.15). Quite a spread. In the United States, Honolulu at 101.93 (92.17)  and Santa Barbara at 100.58 (84.95) are the only two cities to rank higher than New York City. The least expensive US city, of those compared, is Wichita, Kansas at 59.45 (96.19). Panamá City is the only Panamanian city on the list, showing a cost of living of 50.27 (33.42). Cuenca, Ecuador’s cost of living is 38.19 (29.92). Two other Ecuadorian cities, Quito and Guayaquil, show up as 37.77 (31.37) and 36.12 (38.83) respectively.

For me, all of  this means that I can live more cheaply almost anywhere than I can in the United States. From this list, there are only 9 cities more expensive than New York City, but 499 less expensive. The world is my oyster. Perhaps I’ll find a pearl in it.

Fact: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a shock to the world economy, resulting in higher prices.
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