Jamaica among cheapest places in Caribbean to live for expatriates
Jamaica is one of the cheapest places for expatriates to live.

Using an online cost of living estimator which measures how living costs compare to New York and other cities in the region, Caracas, Venezuela, is one of the few cities in the region which is cheaper than living in Kingston, Jamaica.

Jamaica comes out among the cheapest. While the ability of local residents (based on average income) to pay for goods and services is among the lowest in the region – causing the quality of life index to reflect poorly – the story is different for those who have a better income stream.

Jamaica, represented by costs in Kingston compared to other cities in the region, is a preferred locale.

The estimator used is numbeo.com, which uses the price of 40 goods and services across territories to arrive at its conclusions.

The benchmark against which all cities are judged by Numbeo is New York. Kingston is judged as 46.21 per cent less expensive than New York (without rent).

According to Numbeo, for a family of four living in Kingston, the estimated monthly costs are $366,228.85 without rent. For a single person the estimated monthly costs are $102,648.89 without rent. Rent in Kingston is, on average, 83.36 per cent lower than in New York.

Rental cost in Jamaica is about one third of rental charges in Cayman.

Ranking

Meanwhile, Kingston ranks very well in comparison to other capital cities in the Caribbean, coming out as a much cheaper place to live.

In Port-of-Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago, according to Numbeo, for a family of four estimated monthly costs are equivalent to $431,181 (TT$19,456.52) without rent. For a single person, the estimated monthly costs equate to $117,493.82 (TT$5,301.77). Port-of-Spain is 6.48 per cent more expensive than Kingston. However, rent in Port-of-Spain, is on average, 2.85 per cent lower than in Kingston.

The cost of groceries are also higher in Kingston says Numbeo. Purchasing power in Kingston, however, is 35.47 per cent lower than in Port-of-Spain.

The site states, "You would need around TT$21,066.84 [$466,867.71] in Kingston to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with TT$22,000 in Port-of-Spain [assuming you rent in both cities]."

Comparison to Caracas, Bridgetown and Nassau

Bridgetown is 54.45 per cent more expensive than Kingston. The summary cost of living in Bridgetown, Barbados, includes, for a family of four, an estimated monthly cost which is equivalent to $570,886.12 (BD$7,586.24) without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are $153,122.54J$ (BD$2,034.78) without rent. Rent in Bridgetown is on average 13.48 per cent higher than in Kingston.

In Georgetown, Guyana, for a family of four the estimated monthly costs equate to $364,511.30 (GY$506,573.99) without rent. A single person's estimated monthly costs are $101,319.26 (GY$140,806.88) without rent. Georgetown is 13.53 per cent less expensive than Kingston. Rent in Georgetown is, on average, 43.23 per cent lower than in Kingston.

The story is different in Nassau, The Bahamas. Nassau is 79.80 per cent more expensive than Kingston. In that city, for a family of four estimated monthly costs are reach the equivalenet of $692,496.16 (B$4,601.13) without rent. A single person's estimated monthly costs are $192,783.67 (B$1,280.91) without rent. Rent in Nassau is, on average, 167.28 per cent higher than in Kingston.

Numbeo indicates that George Town, the Cayman Islands, is 90.16 per cent more expensive than Kingston. For a family of four the estimated monthly costs are $715,900.76 (KY$3,962.54) without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are $205,593.73 (KY$1,137.97) without rent. Rent in George Town is, on average, 322.22 per cent higher than in Kingston.

One of the few places that beat the island of Jamaica at being cheaper to live, apart from Guyana, is Caracas, Venezuela.

In Caracas, for a family of four, estimated monthly costs are $308,028.94 (US$2,046.63) without rent. A single person's estimated monthly costs are $82,911.50 (US$550.89$) without rent. Caracas is 19.54 per cent less expensive than Kingston. Rent in Caracas is, on average, 37.49 per cent lower than in Kingston.

Numbeo rates Jamaica's overall quality of life index at 75.58 which it says is very low.

The index includes measurement overall quality of life by using an empirical formula which takes into account purchasing power index , pollution, and house price to income ratio, safety index, health care index, traffic commute time index and climate index. The island scored highly on climate but much lower on other factors.

Numbeo is a Serbian crowd-sourced global database of perceived consumer prices, crime rates, quality of health care, among other statistics.

AVIA USTANNY COLLINDER Senior business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com

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