Cost of Living Crisis in SudanThe current instability in the global political scene has resulted in supply chain disruptions worldwide, which has ramifications for all nations, rich and poor. However, the costs for developing countries such as Sudan are often more significant. While the cost of living crisis in Sudan affects everyone, those living in extreme poverty suffer the most. With ongoing energy and food inflation, an effective policy response takes time to put in place. This process becomes lengthy because many means of support would be inflationary, potentially exacerbating the already prevalent problem of higher cost of living. Crises such as these are difficult to control but organizations and the international community must take action to aid the impoverished amid these economic shocks.

Rising Costs

One factor that has accelerated inflation is rising fuel costs, which affects energy bills and leaves less income to spend on other essentials. Due to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict, oil prices have soared and continue to soar today. In September 2023, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Saudi Arabia and Russia would extend cuts on crude oil exports, thus further limiting supply and hiking up prices.

Fuel aside, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has continued to impact the prices of other staple goods, such as maize and wheat, as both countries are major exporters of these grains. The ongoing depreciation of the Sudanese pound also plays a role in the economic struggles of the local Sudanese people. The currency depreciation has meant that, alongside inflation, prices of imported goods, including agricultural, have risen. An April 2023 report by ReliefWeb indicates that food prices have increased exponentially, with some grain prices escalating 500-700% higher than the five-year average, reducing disposable income to negligible for most low-income families.

Cost of Living Crisis in Sudan

The conflict between the Sudanese Army and the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) has had economic repercussions, with many vendors being unable to sell their goods and many consumers unable to afford basic necessities, such as food. Overall, since 2021, Sudan has reported a 143% increase in food expenses. Sudanese vendors are even struggling to transport their goods for selling as the rising fuel prices have led to high transport costs.

Currently, there is cause for concern regarding the future recovery of the Sudanese economy and commodity production capabilities. High costs of production, reduced consumption and the resulting diminished profit may mean that many suppliers and agriculture workers may need help to sustain their business activities in the long run as economic activities draw closer to potentially reaching their shutdown points.

Policy and Solutions

Many solutions would entail a degree of inflation, as cash transfers and other benefits result in introducing additional cash into a nation’s money supply. Blanket policies, such as subsidizing energy bills for all, will ultimately benefit the rich and insufficiently provide for those most in need, creating widening inequality. More low-income targeted policies, such as unconditional cash transfers, tax cuts and vouchers, would likely be superior; however, with low-income groups having the highest marginal propensity to consume, inflation would be unavoidable. Inflation is regressive, similar to any blanket benefit policies, which tend to be accompanied by growing inequality. There is an evident trade-off between supporting those in need from rising costs and generating additional issues regarding inflation and inequality.

In May 2023, UNICEF launched a humanitarian appeal to gather urgent funding for the organization’s aid endeavors in Sudan. UNICEF reported that as of May 2023, about 25 million people in Sudan require aid. The organization aims to help at least 11.9 million of these people along with 9.4 million children and requires funding of $837.6 million to carry out these humanitarian activities. The funding will provide water, nutrition and health care to people affected by the current conflict.

The humanitarian aid will help to cushion the blow of rising costs of living while preventing deterioration on the poverty front. Sudan needs economic reform to return to stability, but with the correct policy frameworks, Sudan could successfully escape the state of extreme inflation. 

– Hannah Bugeja
Photo: Flickr

How Goats Fight PovertyGoats are the animals of choice for many humanitarian groups across the world looking to provide life-saving, sustainable aid. From East Asia to Haiti, these animals have saved the lives of countless families suffering from poverty and starvation. Goats are particularly sought after in countries where agriculture is prominent. Nearly 85 percent of the world’s farmers are smallholder farmers, meaning that they limited resources. Smallholder farmers typically earn income through the cultivation of one or two crops planted on a tiny plot of land. Many humanitarian groups are highlighting how goats fight poverty through various campaigns.

How Goats Fight Poverty

Goats are the animal of choice for humanitarian groups for a plethora of reasons. From their behavior to their eating patterns, goats are easy to raise and supply marketable produce. For small farmers, goats are much less expensive to raise than cows or buffalo. Their diet mainly consists of grasses and shrubs, allowing them to survive even through inclement conditions such as droughts and crop failure.

Furthermore, goats reach sexual maturity at an early age and reproduce rather quickly. A female goat can give birth up to two times a year. In many impoverished areas, baby goats benefit the entire community as opposed to just one family – instead of being kept on the same farm as its mother, a baby goat is often gifted to an impoverished neighbor.

Goats and Children

Many children living in impoverished conditions do not have adequate access to a nutritious diet. Goats can provide the milk, cheese and protein needed to balance a child’s nutritional needs thus reducing dependency on protein from plant-based sources. This is particularly beneficial for children living in countries like Haiti where crops are often destroyed by natural disasters.

Rearing goats helps families living in poverty to support their children’s educational needs in more than one way. Goats offer a means to break the cycle of generational poverty, providing households with a source of income to send their children to school. Furthermore, with healthful meal options from goats, children will have full stomachs during the day allowing them to focus on their studies.

Recent Programs Involving Goats

One organization, in particular, has recently participated in the effort to alleviate poverty with goats. SIDA, short for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, launched a program in western Mali following a 2014 drought. To help, SIDA provided families suffering from food shortage with two assets: goats and seeds. With these two resources, the organization was able to successfully stabilize Malinese livestock herds to combat the lack of flourishing greens.

SIDA was not only able to alleviate poverty with goats in western Mali, but the organization took things a step further by sharing best practices such as care techniques to ensure sustainability. To date, SIDA’s record in western Mali proves to be exemplary. About 2,610 households in the country received goats to combat food insecurity and provide hope for future generations.

The Future for Goat Farmers

Countless personal stories from smallholder farmers have shown the lifechanging effects a goat can have on a community. These creatures seem to be the perfect solution for rural penury, however, there is one problem that stands in the way: goats are not immune to diseases. Organizations like the African Union Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources have been readily responding to this issue, but it demands much more attention as goats have become an integral part of farming life for poor families around the world.

– Annie O’Connell
Photo: Flickr

PA 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Ireland
In the past century, Ireland has transformed from a poor agricultural country into one of the best places to live in Europe. Industrialization and foreign investments have brought wealth to the country, which has been used to improve the lives of Irish citizens. These 10 facts about living conditions in Ireland are not without their pitfalls; however, they demonstrate what is possible when an economic boom is met with social conscientiousness.

10 Facts About Living Conditions in Ireland

  1. In the last five years, the living conditions in Ireland have improved faster than any other country worldwide. Between 2012 and 2017, the country rose 13 places on the U.N.’s Human Development Index and now is number 4 after Norway, Switzerland and Australia. This index ranks countries based on life expectancy, access to education and gross national income per capita.
  2. Ireland had the highest birth rate of the European Union (EU) member states in 2017, with 12.9 births per 1,000 people. The country also has one of the fastest growing populations in the EU, a rarity among developed nations. The population grew from 3.1 million in 1911 to 4.59 million by 2011, a 46 percent increase. However, this is still lower than the 8.4 million people estimated to have lived in Ireland prior to the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s.
  3. From 2001 to 2016, the teenage pregnancy rate fell 64 percent, a decrease of almost 2,000 teenage births. This is likely due to the Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) instituted in public schools in the 1990s. The 2016 survey, Growing Up in Ireland, found that 79 percent of sexually active 17 and 18-year-olds always used contraception.
  4. Ireland is closing the gap in gender inequality. In 2015, the country ranked eighth in the European Institute for Gender Equality’s index at 69.5 percent, which evaluated work, money, education, time, health and power. It has been rising steadily since 2005 and is currently ahead of the nearby United Kingdom. For example, in 2018, the Irish gender pay gap was 14 percent, which was ahead of Australia at 15.4 percent, the United States at 18 percent, the United Kingdom at 18.4 percent and Canada at 26 percent.
  5. The healthcare system in Ireland is on par with the European average. Both public and private health services are provided by the Irish Government’s Health Service Executive (HSE). About 72 percent of healthcare costs are covered by the government, and the remaining costs are paid for through voluntary healthcare payments or out of pocket. In 2013, 40 percent of people living in Ireland had a medical card that provides free healthcare, with the remaining amount being a subsided fee based on income level. Private (religious or community-based) healthcare is also available at a fraction of the cost of other developed countries.
  6. The cost of living in Ireland is high. Good and services cost 25 percent more than the EU average, with high price tags on essentials such as rent, transportation and child care. There are fewer government services for things like childcare and housing, so the Irish have to rely on private companies. The lack of competition from the government keeps the prices high.
  7. For a full-time worker, the average income is €45,611 per year, a number that has been steadily increasing since 2015. However, the Irish have less disposable income. The OCED average is $30,563, with Ireland averaging $25,439. High personal taxes and the high cost of living eat into these profits.
  8. The amount of public housing is unable to keep up with the population’s need. Almost one in five Irish families now live in a rented home, which is double what it was 10 years ago. This has caused a shortage of rental properties and a significant increase in the cost of rent. There were 1,709 families who had to utilize emergency accommodation services in October 2018, with 3,725 of them being children. The overwhelming number had lost their homes after rent increases priced them out. Nonprofits such as Focus Ireland work to provide services and temporary housing to those who cannot afford the costs of living.
  9. Life expectancy in Ireland is 83 for women and 80 for men, higher than the international life expectancy of 72. That is an increase from 2011 when life expectancy was 76.8 for men and 81.6 for women. The significant rise in healthcare, income and education has contributed to a longer life. Current concerns for life expectancy are obesity and alcoholism.
  10. Ireland ranks 14 out of 156 countries on the World Happiness Report, trailing behind Finland, Norway, Denmark and other Nordic nations. Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, says that the happiest countries “are good at converting wealth into well-being,” a skill the Irish have proven adept at. Ireland also has a strong sense of family and community. At least 96 percent of people surveyed by OECD believed that they had a reliable friend or family member on whom they could lean in times of need.

Ireland has made enormous leaps in development in the past century, enabling the country to improve its living conditions exponentially. The world happiness index has shown that people are willing to tolerate a high cost of living when the quality is above and beyond. However, there will have to be solutions developed for those who find the cost of living too far out of reach, or the current problems will only grow worse.

– Jackie Mead

Photo: Upsplash


United Kingdom living conditions
While enjoying one of the most advanced economies in the world today, The United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) is not without its problems. This list examines the top 10 facts about living conditions in the U.K.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in the UK

  1. It’s expensive to live in the United Kingdom. The Price Index for the city of London is 222. This score indicates that food, rent and other necessities are more than twice as expensive in London than they are in the average global city. Sheffield, the lowest ranked British city by this index has a price index of 132. Average rent for a small studio apartment in the U.K. is $972.96, and a dozen eggs cost $3.49.
  2. U.K. unemployment is low. Unemployment in the U.K. was 4.2 percent during March-May 2018, while Northern Ireland nearly broke a new record with the low rate of 3.5 percent. For comparison, Northern Ireland’s rate shortly after the recession of 2008 was 8.2 percent.
  3. U.K. poverty is also low. According to the Office for National Statistics, 7.3 percent of the U.K.’s population experience persistent poverty. Conditions are slightly worse for women, since 8.2 percent of the female population experience persistent poverty, compared to only 6.3 percent of the male population. Great Britain and Northern Ireland overall have a poverty rate of 16.7 percent, and this is slightly lower than 17.3 percent, the average for the European Union.
  4. U.K. quality of life is quite high. A recent study on the quality of life ranked the United Kingdom at the fifth place out of all European nations. This list looked at broadband speed, pollution, cost of living and many other factors. Out of everyone in the study, the U.K. spent the most percentage of its GDP on recreation and culture.
  5. Absolute poverty is rising among U.K. children. Children in the U.K. are at risk for rising absolute child poverty. Absolute poverty is defined as residing in a household that cannot maintain a basic standard of living (shelter, clothing and food) due to a low income. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Economic & Social Research Council found that absolute child poverty in U.K. is predicted to increase by four points. This rise is likely caused by a recent cut in government benefits for low-income families with children.
  6. It’s safer for women to give birth outside the U.K. According to Save the Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers Report, women giving birth in the U.K. have more than double the chance of dying during pregnancy or childbirth than women in Poland. Out of the top 25 countries in the world for mothers, the U.K. ranked 24th.
  7. According to the Centre of Economic and Business Research, it costs £230,000 (almost $300,000) to raise a child in the U.K. For a comparison, it costs roughly $234,000 to raise a child in the United States. There are several factors that could contribute to this, including lower food costs in the United States and greater land resources.
  8. The U.K. ranks highly in women’s equality. The World Economic Forum publishes an annual Global Gender Gap Report that ranks nations from best to worst in terms of women’s “economic participation, educational attainment, health and political empowerment”. In Western Europe, the United Kingdom took 15th place.
  9. The average woman makes 20 percent less than the average man. Beyond incomes, 80 percent of women in the U.K. engage in some sort of daily house upkeep while one out of three men engages in the same work. About half of working women and a third of working men also spend at least an hour a day caring for children or an elderly or disabled person. Not only are women making less money at work, but they’re also engaging in a lot of strenuous, unpaid work. However, many leaders actively fight against this. London Mayor Sadiq Khan published the first “gender pay audit” to make the government pay completely transparent. He also implemented programs to ensure flexibility and fair recruitment.
  10. The U.K. has a lot of work to do in terms of racial equality. To understand diversity and equality, Prime Minister Theresa May ordered research on this subject. While 4 percent of white Brits were unemployed, 10 percent of black and mixed Brits were unemployed. Black males were most likely to remain in custody rather than let out on bail. Organizations like Equality and Diversity Forum are combating these trends through policy work. This organization is a national group bringing together different peoples and organizations to combat oppression and fight for human rights in the country.

Despite a high cost of living, the U.K. has a thriving and diverse country. While it could certainly do better in terms of racial and gender equality it certainly represents one of the best places to live in the world. Although not entirely positive, the top 10 facts about living conditions in the United Kingdom show a thriving, healthy country.

– Sarah Stanley
Photo: Flickr

facts about poverty in tianjinTianjin is a metropolis in China near Beijing, located in the North China Plain region. It is one of four cities that are directly controlled by the Chinese central government. Tianjin is one of the most populous cities in China, and its economy has been growing at an astonishing speed. In 2016, it achieved the goals of its twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011-15). Its overall GDP reached ¥1.65 trillion, or $252 billion. Its average annual GDP growth during these five years was 12.4 percent.

However, poverty still exists. Despite Tianjin’s overall economic growth, some serious problems hide below the surface and cannot be ignored. These facts about poverty in Tianjin help shed light on these hidden issues.

10 Facts About Poverty in Tianjin

  1. There are 16 city-governed districts in Tianjin. Each district has a specific economic strength. However, the economic development of Hongqiao District is driven by wholesales and retail, which is not enough to improve the district’s standard of living as the population increases.
  2. Heping District, Hexi District, Nankai District, Hedong District, Hebei District and Hongqiao District are the six most developed districts in Tianjin. For example, there are many financial activities in Heping District and business trades in Hexi District. Technology development is very significant in Nankai District, and in Hebei District, there are many creative and innovative ideas to facilitate better living standards. The overall quality of life is good in these districts thanks to their prosperity,
  3. According to research on urban poverty in China, if the income of a household is lower than ¥210 ($33) per capita per month, that household is considered to be living in poverty.
  4. There are many internal Chinese migrants in Tianjin, and the rate keeps rising. The majority of migrants are around 15 to 59 years old, totaling 77 percent of all migrants. Many of them come to Tianjin to seek job opportunities. However, a large number of them begin with low-income jobs, such as construction workers and bricklayers.
  5. There is very limited usable water for Tianjin citizens. There are a total 15 million people in the city, but only 4.9 percent of the water is drinkable.
  6. Since Tianjin is very close to Beijing and Hebei, these three cities comprise the Beijing mega-region. Four years ago, President Xi Jinping announced a plan to integrate rural villages near the mega-region with the three cities. Many farmers in these villages do not have a heating system in the winter, and they even cannot afford firewood to warm themselves. The announced plan redistributes resources equally, so village citizens are consistently provided with basic needs.
  7. In March, Tianjin Party Chief Li Hongzhong stated that it was no longer feasible for Tianjin to rely on old industries, and that Tianjin should transition to a tech-based economy. Its aim for GDP growth in 2018 is 5 percent. To achieve this goal, there will be a “revolution” in Tianjin government management, and officials will focus more on improving living conditions of households who are below the poverty line. 
  8. There is a plan called the rural settlement which provides living spaces for people in historically impoverished areas and reconstructs the countryside. This plan has had outstanding effects so far. Rural areas are gradually urbanizing, and living conditions are getting better.
  9. The average housing price in Tianjin in 2017 was ¥26,687 per square meter (around $4,300). However, the average salary in 2017 was only ¥6,733 per month (about $1,100). The huge difference puts a lot of pressure on both urban and rural citizens to afford housing.
  10. Tianjin Binhai New Area was established in 2009. It is Tianjin’s main urban area. It has followed the economic development pattern of Beijing and Shanghai, and now it is the wealthiest district in Tianjin. Its economy is mainly dominated by business and tourism.

Overall, even though Tianjin’s economy looks good on paper, these 10 facts about poverty in Tianjin illustrate the problems that government officials need to focus on. However, as shown above, the government is taking action to solve these problems, and more policies are being enacted to facilitate this process and improve the lives of those in poverty.

– Judy Lu

Photo: Unsplash

The idea that guaranteed basic income can solve poverty was first proposed by lawyer Thomas More in the 16th century. Guaranteed basic income, also known as universal basic income is an unconditional periodic money transfer to ensure that a citizen can pay for his or her basic necessities no matter what. The idea that everybody will be paid money every month, whether or not they have a job, is undeniably radical.

Guaranteed Basic Income Has Supporters and Detractors

Economists are divided into two groups over the idea: one in favor of guaranteed basic income and the other against it. Those opposing the idea believe that it will undermine the incentive to do a job, that more people would end up in low-wage jobs or that a “handout” is by no means a tool to “turn things around”. Some of them also argue that even if guaranteed basic income can solve poverty, a program like this can be very expensive and hence negatively affect a nation’s economic growth.

On the other hand, the idea has found acceptance among several intellectuals, politicians, historians, economists and entrepreneurs alike. One of them is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, who has called for others to embrace the idea, in case people start losing their jobs to automation and artificial intelligence.

Current Studies Testing the Efficacy of Basic Income

To see how guaranteed basic income can solve poverty, many experiments are underway around the world. A nonprofit organization in Kenya called GiveDirectly has launched one of the most comprehensive economic and social experiments in human history. They will be selecting groups of people who will receive $22 per month for a period of two to 12 years, no strings attached.

To date, the organization has distributed more than $70 million among 80,000 households in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. “What’s interesting about basic income is that, coincidentally, it’s a conversation people are having all the way from Silicon Valley, where they are worried about job loss to robots, to some of the poorest countries in the world,” said Paul Niehaus, professor of economics at the University of California San Diego, co-founder of GiveDirectly and a firm believer that guaranteed basic income can solve poverty.

In Finland, the government randomly selected 2,000 unemployed citizens for a one of a kind experiment started at the beginning of 2017. To study how guaranteed basic income can solve poverty, these people will receive €560 every month for two years, tax-free. A key goal of the Finland experiment is to give unemployed people incentive to work by providing them with financial assistance even after they become employed again. Researchers chose the €560 monthly amount because it roughly equals the current level of unemployment benefits.

In a recent interview given to NPR, Stockton, California mayor Michael Tubbs said,” In fact, I think [it] will make people work better and smarter and harder and be able to do things like spending time with their families [be]cause we’re not robots.” Stockton will start a similar experiment by the end of this year.

What Basic Income Can Do for Impoverished People

The proponents of guaranteed basic income caution that the amount paid must be sufficient to be of assistance when misfortune strikes but not large enough to satisfy all of a person’s wants. They also argue that the freedom to start a new business or to say yes to a job that pays little but yields joy, or to say no to a job that pays too little or is demeaning, should not be reserved only for the wealthy.

Historian Rutger Bregman highlights an experiment conducted in India by American psychologists involving Indian sugarcane farmers. These farmers get around 60 percent of their income all at once. Hence, they are relatively rich during one part of the year but poor the rest of the year. The farmers were subjected to an IQ test before and after the harvest. The results showed that farmers gained nine IQ points after the harvest, as the extra money freed up mental resources that were previously concerned with making ends meet.

A similar study conducted between 1974 and 1979 in Dauphin, Canada proved that a guaranteed basic income can solve poverty by making the recipients smarter, healthier and richer. Further studies can bolster the effectiveness of basic income worldwide and could lead to it becoming an important tool in ending global poverty.

– Himja Sethi

Photo: Flickr

Cost of Living in ColombiaJust like many countries, the cost of living in Colombia varies depending on the location, but, overall, the small South American country delivers a low cost of living to its citizens, while offering all the amenities of a more expensive country.

The low prices can be seen across the country in everyday expenses. Real estate ranges from as high as $1,250 a month in a major city to $350 in a small town. The same goes for buying property in Colombia. Land can sell anywhere from $1 million to about $250,000. Additionally, residents spend an average of $75 on utilities such as water, electricity and gas.

Although on average, expenses are generally higher in Bogota, boasting a price index of 88 out of 100, most places in Colombia boast cheap everyday prices for residents. Additionally, compared to major cities in the U.S., the cost of living in Colombia is generally 50 percent cheaper.

Low costs on everyday items are essential for native Colombians, as 27.8 percent of the population lived below the poverty line in 2015. Colombia also faces a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, both of which are caused by the social imbalances and unequal distribution of government programs.

However, with poverty steadily declining, Colombian citizens are able to enjoy more services, such as health care. Health care in Colombia is substantially cheaper than in developed countries like the United States. In fact, Colombian health care is reported to having procedure costs between 50 and 90 percent less than in the United States.

In addition, Colombia is a leading coal exporter, ranking as the world’s fourth largest coal exporter. The country also leads as the second largest coffee and cut flower exporter and is Latin America’s fourth largest oil producer.

The country’s GDP growth averaged 4.7 percent each year in the last decade. While Colombia has seen a recent rise in food and energy prices and an inflation spike, the country is still experiencing a 1.9 percent industrial production growth rate while boasting a $688 billion GDP in 2016.

Additionally, as the peso continues to drop due to the overproduction of oil, in 2016, one U.S. dollar could give residents up to 3,288 pesos, a 25 percent increase from the year prior.

With an increase in certain industries, such as coal and oil, and with the coupling of cheap healthcare and a low cost of living in Colombia, along with improved infrastructure, Colombia is quickly transforming from a country burdened with a high rate of poverty to a rising low cost country with all the amenities of a much more expensive country.

Amira Wynn

Photo: Pixabay

Why Is the Cost of Living in Norway So High?
With its capital, Oslo, ranked as the 59th most expensive city in the world, Norway is anything but cheap. The high cost of living in Norway is a result of its egalitarian social system, which relies on a value-added tax system and minimal variations between incomes among its citizens to sustain its unique economy and socioeconomic structure. However, the social welfare system provided by the Norwegian government as well as the low unemployment rate in Norway are the positive results of the pricey standard of living.

A key feature that defines the high cost of living in Norway is the increased tax rate. From income tax (starting at 28 percent) to value-added tax, Norway’s tax structure strengthens its egalitarian social system. One of the benefits of using this type of social system is that there is a very minimal differentiation between incomes in Norway. This prevents wage-gaps and renders social classes in Norway to practically nonexistent.

While inadequate pay for minimum wage is a problem among many developed countries, Norway has abandoned this concept all together. Most citizens in different employments sectors, from education to food service, earn a living wage. Although this boosts the price of common goods significantly, it also ensures that Norway’s working class does not become impoverished. This socioeconomic ideology is responsible for reducing Norway’s unemployment rate to a minuscule 3.4 percent.

Education, health care and transportation in Norway are all subsidized by the government. High taxes provide for quality public services. This is especially evident in health care for Norwegian families; cash-for-care benefits, as well as free prenatal visits, including maternal and paternal leave, are all covered by the Norwegian government.

Mutual functionalism between Norway’s citizens and government not only allows its economy to thrive but its democratic process too as well. By rewarding workforce participation with quality social welfare, the Nordic model is an economic solution to ensure societal development. Although the cost of living in Norway may seem inopportune at first glance, there is no doubt that the Norwegian social system provides exceptional benefits for its citizens.

Kaitlin Hocker
Photo: Flickr

Cost of Living in Italy
The cost of living in Italy can be rather high in some ways when compared to the U.S., but less costly in others. Whether the topic is food, clothing, housing or entertainment, living in Italy varies in its levels of expense.

Here are eight facts about the cost of living in Italy:

  1. In U.S. dollars, on average, the monthly rent for a 900-square foot apartment in Italy is around $1,079. A 480-square foot apartment in a cheaper area stands at around $732 per month. This varies from city to city.
  2. It costs around $444 to buy a 40″ flat screen TV in Italy. Depending on the brand, this is rather high compared to the cost of a 40″ flat screen TV in the U.S.
  3. The cost of living in Italy greatly depends on what area of Italy a person is living in. For example, renting an apartment in the city of Milan can cost up to double of what an apartment in Naples would cost.
  4. It is cheaper to buy locally in Italy, rather than to purchase imported items. This is not only beneficial in the aspect of saving money, but it is also a way to support the locals as well.
  5. Big Macs cost around $9.40 in Italy. This is almost $4 more than the cost in the U.S.
  6. Healthcare is free to people who live in Italy. Citizens have the option of paying extra for private healthcare options, but this is not required. This is certainly one of the biggest financial pros of living in Italy.
  7. A medicine that seems to be more expensive in Italy is ibuprofen. In Italy, one pill costs around $1.18, meaning that it costs around $28.32 to get a 24-count bottle of ibuprofen. Name brand 24-count ibuprofen sells for as low as only $3.48 in the U.S. and other countries.
  8. When it comes to travel expenses, citizens have to consider that there are a lot of tolls to pay when traveling by vehicle in Italy. This, combined with the costs of fuel, makes for a rather expensive automobile trip.

These facts about the cost of living in Italy show that there are both pros and cons when it comes to finances for those living in Italy. While some cities in this European country are more expensive than others, it still appears that the cost of living in Italy can be affordable thanks to larger perks such as its free health care benefits.

Noel Mcdavid

Photo: Pixabay

The Cost of Living in NigeriaAs big a country as Nigeria is, it is not without its share of issues. While it is making the effort to face issues head-on, there is still the factor of affordability within the country. The cost of living in Nigeria may be too much for some. For perspective, one U.S. dollar equals ₦366.16 (Nigerian Nairas).

Housing and Utilities:
According to the Nigerian Consulate in Atlanta, “Nigeria is a very cheap country to visit or live in” when compared to the United States. Depending on the location and dimensions, the site lists apartment rentals as costing anywhere from $300 to $2,000 (₦109,835.10 to ₦732,234.03) per year.

As for utilities, the electricity bill averages around $1 to $30 (₦366.16 to ₦10,975) each month. Expatistan, a site that aggregates submissions from expatriates to determine the costs of living in countries worldwide, states that monthly internet access (8 MBps of speed) costs ₦11,495 ($32).

A meal at a restaurant can be as little as 40 cents (₦146.53). If the meal is cordon bleu, the price can rise to $10 (₦3,662.81) per person. In Abuja’s business district, a standard lunch with a drink may cost ₦1,974 ($5.42). In the marketplace, a liter of milk is ₦529 ($1.45), a pound of boneless chicken breast is ₦1,463 ($4.02), two pounds of apples cost ₦1,059 ($2.91) and a bottle of nice red table wine is about ₦1,709 ($4.70).

Airfare to airports within Nigeria’s borders and to neighboring countries tends to cost between $40 to $100 (₦14,647.74 to ₦36,625.45). Sharing a cab can be as little as 20 cents (₦73.25). Renting one might get up to $3 (₦1,098.91) per hour. However, taking that same cab through the city can cost $10 (₦3,662.81) at the most.

The most a commuter bus will charge is 20 cents (₦73.25) but the highest fare for inner-city bus rides (some of which provide amenities such as catering and restroom access) is $35 (₦12,821.99). Incidentally, a monthly bus pass is listed at ₦4,653 ($13).

The cost of living in Nigeria varies noticeably among the country’s products and services. With the government and its people determined to improve wherever possible, the issue of affordability may not be a burden forever.

Jada Haynes
Photo: Flickr