Many visitors planning to come to Kazakhstan wonder: 'How expensive is life here?' While the answer might be different depending on what city you are planning to visit, QazMonitor has some solid figures for you. Our Kazakhstani readers might also be surprised by the statistics.
Numbeo - the world’s largest cost of living database - recently published a mid-2022 list of the most expensive cities in the world. Kazakhstan was represented by Almaty and Nur-Sultan, as they were compared to New York in several indices.
Among 510 cities, Almaty ranked 466th, while the capital of Nur-Sultan was placed 475th. Almaty is placed between Tashkent and Kathmandu; Nur-Sultan is sandwiched between Giza and Minsk.
The Kazakh cities seem like an inexpensive haven to live in compared to the other placeholders of the ranking - but just how much cheaper are they?
Cost of living (rent excluded)
The base price index is 100, which is what was given to New York. Almaty was rated 28,77, and Nur-Sultan had a figure just below that - 27,65.
This means that living in Kazakhstan is nearly 3,5 times cheaper than in the American metropolis.
This index represents consumer goods prices, including groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities. Cost of Living Index does not include accommodation expenses such as rent or mortgage, Numbeo clarifies.
A single person estimated monthly costs in New York are almost $1,400 as of July 12 without rent. For Almaty and Nur-Sultan the figure is in the ballpark of about $420.
Renting an apartment
This is where we get to big jumps in prices. It would cost you nearly 8 times less to rent an apartment in Almaty compared to New York, and in Nur-Sultan the difference is even more drastic - 10 times.
While Numbeo states that in New York it will cost you $3,450 to rent a one-bedroom apartment for a month, figures in Almaty ($440) and Nur-Sultan ($330) are way lower for the same option.
The costs are 4 times lower than in New York for both Kazakh cities overall, but certain prices are even lower.
For instance, $10 can buy you 9 kilograms of apples (almost 20 lbs) in Almaty, while in the Big Apple you would not expect more than 2 kilograms (4,4 lbs). Also, hardly any Kazakhstani can imagine buying a 1,5-liter (50oz) bottle of water for $2.40 - the cost would be roughly half a dollar for Nur-Sultan inhabitants.
Restaurants and eating out
You will spend 4 times less in Almaty and Nur-Sultan on restaurants in comparison to New York.
For eating out, a meal for two in a mid-range restaurant costs on average $25-$31 in Kazakh cities, while in New York you would spend $100 (it is unclear, whether the figure includes tips).
As for a classic cup of coffee, a regular cappuccino can cost you $5 in the US, but only $1.60-1.80 in Kazakhstan. Three cups for the price of one - sounds like a bargain.
Numbeo is also a crowd-sourced global database of quality of life data: housing indicators, perceived crime rates, healthcare quality, transport quality, and other statistics. Being crowd-sourced, the website relies on user-submitted data, so you can make the data even more accurate if you feel that these figures are too high or low.