Cost of living

If you are moving abroad, planning your budget is an important part of your preparations. The cost of living generally depends not only on basic expenses like food, taxes and rent but also on your salary, social security contributions, and education and further training costs. The benchmark for calculating the cost of living therefore depends on the one hand on local conditions and, on the other, on the basket of goods, services and contributions chosen for the calculation. Personal circumstances and individual spending habits also play an important role.

You may consider engaging the services of a reputable firm that can calculate your personal cost-of-living index. Please note that such services are fee-based.

You can find additional information on this topic in the FDFA's 'Living and working abroad' country dossiers (in German, French and Italian).

Living and working abroad (de, fr, it)

Useful links

Various institutions and companies calculate the cost of living in specific cities and regions based on different criteria.

The Federal Statistical Office regularly publishes purchasing power parities and international cost-of-living comparisons as part of the World Bank's International Comparison Programme. These figures allow price comparisons between countries with different currencies.

Federal Statistical Office: purchasing power parities (de, fr)

Federal Statistical Office: international price and purchasing power comparisons (de, fr)

Every three years, UBS Switzerland surveys prices and salaries in several major business locations around the world. The survey determines the cost of living for a family with Western European consumption standards. Zurich is the basis for comparison. The UBS Index is aimed at expatriates living in major cities.

UBS Price and Earnings 2018

Numbeo is a publicly accessible database that offers various ways to compare the cost of living in different cities based on a variety of goods and services.

Numbeo