If you’re into eating white rice, you might not want to settle in Raleigh. That’s where you’ll find the most costly kernels in the world.
But if the price of rice doesn’t hang you up, the Capital City is a pretty good place to live.
That’s according to Numbeo. The free crowd-sourced website is billed as the largest database of user-posted information about cities and countries around the globe. It gets its information from almost a half million contributors and provides close to six million consumer prices and other information on 9,295 locations.
Despite the rice issue, Raleigh ranks second on Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index for 2020 – moving up one spot from number three last year. The index assesses 227 cities internationally.
Canberra, Australia is this year’s top pick. But it’s not clear whether the tabulation was completed before the recent fires that have devastated large areas on Australia’s east coast. That likely has had a big impact on pollution and quality-of-life considerations that might have moved Raleigh into the top slot.
Closing out the top five are Adelaide, Australia; Wellington, New Zealand; and Columbus, Ohio.
Charlotte also moves up a slot in this year’s rankings – from tenth to ninth – even though it has the most expensive taxi fares of 42 North American cities. At least according to Numbeo.
Greensboro, in spite of its bargain basement prices for domestic beer, is unranked in 2020 as it was in 2019. And there apparently isn’t enough information to fully evaluate Durham, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Greenville or Asheville.
NC a favorite among life science leaders
Austin, Texas – often a competitor with the Research Triangle for life science companies – finished behind both Raleigh and Charlotte (as all true North Carolinians believe it should have). But it closed the gap a bit from last year, moving up from 18th on the list to 10th.
Still, if you want to cool yourself down with a Coke, that luxury will cost you 42 cents more a bottle in Austin than in Raleigh. And it’s a lot hotter a lot longer in Texas than in North Carolina.
Caracas, Venezuela – which struggles with one of the highest crime rates in the world – finished dead last again, at number 227. Caracas does, however, have the world’s least expensive one-way ticket for local transportation. Perhaps there’s a correlation there.
Numbeo assembles its international quality of life index from the data it collects on eight indicators: purchasing power, safety, health care, cost of living, property price-to-income ratio, traffic commute time, pollution and crime. Rankings are “a snapshot of the current indices at a specific point in time.”
According to the website’s latest survey information, Raleigh residents make a slightly lower average after-tax monthly salary than their Charlotte counterparts –$4,068.21 compared to $4,356.97. But they pay about $150 less per month for private childcare.
Basic utilities for a 915-square-foot apartment also are lower – approximately $128.19 per month in Raleigh vs. $145.97 in Charlotte. And Cappuccino connoisseurs will pay 43 cents less per cup in the Capital City.
Numbeo no competition for the official census
It’s not a stretch to question the accuracy of Numbeo’s statistics. In fact, comments posted on its website often do just that. Much like Wikipedia, Numbeo users in cities around the world randomly enter data on which assumptions are based. Some locations and countries have a higher number of responses than others. And more contributors usually mean more accurate evaluations.
But Numbeo says it also relies on data from a variety of other sources – supermarket and taxi company websites, government agencies, currency exchange sources, and newspaper articles among them. The site also uses filters to discard outlier information that can skew results. Data from established sources are reentered twice a year.
Regardless of Numbeo’s overall accuracy, you have to appreciate the volume and variety of information the website places at your fingertips. Where else are you going to find out that it costs $14,341.02 per meter (about 32 square feet) to buy an apartment in New York City these days?
Or that Atlanta has the sixth most expensive onions in the world ($1.56 lb.)?
Or that San Francisco is the world’s most costly place to rent a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center ($2,800.84 per month)?
Or that a pack of Marlboros will lighten your wallet to the tune of almost $22 in Canberra.
This is news you can use when you’re planning your next vacation, or thinking about picking up and moving to another country. It also can be an interesting way to kill some time on a slow Saturday afternoon.
(c) North Carolina Biotechnology Center