Cost of Living Index

The U.S. Military prepares Overseas Cost of Living Allowances data on a regular basis. They assign cities around the world a COLA index relative to a COLA index of 100 for the cost of living in average U.S. location. These numbers are used to determine how much they pay foreign-posted personnel; they’re also an interesting tool to get a quick feel for how much it costs to maintain a western-style standard of living overseas. Here are some example COLA numbers from the March 2007 report:

  • Canada
    • Calgary — 130
    • Montreal — 130
    • Toronto — 136
    • Halifax — 138
    • Vancouver — 148
  • Havana, Cuba — 132
  • Lisbon, Portual — 138
  • Tokyo, Japan — 152
  • Finland — 154
  • Copenhagen, Denmark — 168
  • London, U.K. — 170
  • Paris, France — 182
  • Geneva, Switzerland — 188


Andrew MacPherson's picture
Andrew MacPherson on March 28, 2007 - 18:54 Permalink

This is particularly interesting to me in Calgary because the Nova Scotia government has been running an ad campaign here about how the opportunities in N.S. relative to the cost of living differences between Calgary and Nova Scotia. I have lived in Calgary now for 6 years and lived in Halifax while going to university and do recall the cost of living in Halifax at least to be very high. Maybe other parts of the province are cheaper but heating, transport and food are all more expensive in the Maritimes.

Marian's picture
Marian on March 30, 2007 - 11:16 Permalink

What’s the cost of living figure for Budapest?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 30, 2007 - 13:12 Permalink

All of Hungary has a COLA of 120.