Expatistan (www.expatistan.com), the largest free cost-of-living database on the Internet, offers accurate information on the cost of living in hundreds of cities around the world. Based on reported costs in each city, these cities are ranked in relation to a baseline and offered in comparison to other cities.

Are you considering moving to another country for an extended period? Have you been offered a job in a city outside your native country and are unsure if the offered salary is sufficient? If you puzzled about how to convert Deutsche marks to Australian dollars – let alone how that translates into actual living costs – you should log onto the largest free cost-of-living database for expats and soon-to-be expats, now available on the Internet.

Expatistan (www.expatistan.com), founded in January 2010 by Gerardo Robledillo, is the largest database of cost of living comparisons available online. It uses a “basket” of 45 different products in six categories: food, housing, clothing, transportation, healthcare and entertainment. With nearly 1,400 cities in its database, it has more than a half million data points, offering a reliable basis for their cost of living comparisons. Using the city of Prague as an anchor, with an assigned cost of living of 100, each city is assigned a score relative to Prague’s, based on the data point.

Twice a year, Expatistan releases a report ranking cities from around the world, along with an analysis and report of trends in the price of living in the world’s regions. An interactive database is available at any time, without charge. To use the site, go to http://www.expatistan.com and type the name of a city with which you are familiar. Then, type in the name of a city for which you would like a comparison of the cost of living. (Note that if there is insufficient data for either city, the comparison will not be made; this avoids incorrect or misleading information from being provided.) Users are encouraged to participate in data gathering, by providing current prices for items in the cost of living database for a city known to them.

Rankings are available from the website in a variety of computer formats on request, including xls, odt, pdf, txt and doc formats. Detailed information on specific cities and ranking by specific types of costs (such as housing) is also offered on request.

As Expatistan founder Robledillo explains, “We live in a world that is more connected than ever, where many people are moving from country to country, chasing opportunities, new lifestyles, or adventures. Today, you can find expats like me in any city, and our number is growing.” He points out that expats face difficulties not encountered by the citizens of their host countries. In addition to potential cultural differences, they also face the challenge of determining if their savings – or the salary they’ve been offered – is sufficient to support them.

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