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.?

5 Answers 5


I found an API from Numbeo (documentation) that claims

8,282,934 prices in 11,072 cities entered by 706,591 users (information updated 2022-10-18, source)

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! Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 23:05

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


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.




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.


This API might give you the data you need:

Cities Cost of Living

It contains detailed information about the living expenses of 600+ cities around the world, including multiple indexes like Groceries, Purchasing Power and Rent.

On a more detailed level, it has average prices (and ranges) of individual items like a specific food, the cost of an apartment or salary.

And you can get the data in a lot of different currencies.

  • 1
    Can you expand this answer a bit to include more than just a link?
    – philshem
    Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 11:23

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