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I'm trying to compare what the equivalent salary would be between two cities based upon the cost of living in each city.

I want to be able to build something like CNN's cost of living calculator. http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/

Wolfram Alpha has this available through the main search engine, but Wolfram Alpha's API returns data not found for the same query

Has anyone come across a dataset that would allow searching for cost of living based on any city in the U.S.?

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I found an API from Numbeo (documentation) that claims

1,485,832 prices in 4,786 cities entered by 177,368 users (information updated 2014-11-25)

Here is their page related to the Cost of Living.

And an overview of the data for Zurich.

Their Terms of Service state that the license is CC BY-SA 3.0 and GNU Free Document License (GFDL).

What I can't find is how to get an API key (or quotas), although I think you can get one once you register as a user.

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  • 2
    This is a very detailed answer. I found that applying for an academic api key can be done by sending them an email: numbeo.com/common/apply_academic_api.jsp. The only drawback is the data is only for limited cities, but it looks like this might be as close as I'm going to get to what I need. Thank you! – greenJavaDev Nov 25 '14 at 23:05
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For the US, this information is generally obtained through the Bureau of Labor (BLS) jointly with the US Census. Data is collected on a regional, state and metropolitan statistical area (MSA). Here are some links:

BLS: http://www.bls.gov/data/#prices

BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis): http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/rpp/2014/rpp0414.htm

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Here's a link to the Consumer Price Index on Data.gov, which has Department of Labor (BLS) and other U.S. Federal agency data set up for download.

Cheers,

Martin

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I'm not sure if you want your calculator work for world cities or just the US.

In case it's the first, the National Department of Statistics (Dane) of Colombia posts in a regular basis studies (most likely data with some degree of processing) about prices, with some nice analysis by expenditure groups and the like. You can find them here in Spanish: link to Dane's report on prices to consumers.

I guess each country has some sort of report that is essentially the same.

Hope it helps.

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