Expatistan helps you make quick cost of living comparisons
Expatistan is a simple website that lets you pit two cities (only two at a time) against each other and compare the relative cost of living in each.
Using the site, I was able to discover that the cost of living in NYC is 67 percent higher than the cost of living in Tel Aviv. Now, I've been to New York, and I beg to differ. The cost of living may be more expensive, but I'm really not convinced that it's 67 percent greater. The site does provide a disclaimer about the comparison, however: "This comparison has some inconsistent or sparse data. It already provides a reliable comparison but it is not bullet-proof. "
The site seems to get its data from users. When I tried to check a random city, it did recognize the city, but it had too little data about it. So, it asked me to feed some sample prices, and I was presented with a form that made clear what the most important metrics were.
According to the "How does it work" page, the site uses Prague as a "reference city," and it orients all other prices around it. You don't feel it when you're using the site (you are simply comparing two cities), but that's how the algorithm works.
I thought that Wolfram Alpha might provide me with some more reliable data, but when trying to compare Tel Aviv to New York City, I got no financial data whatsoever. If you know of a more reliable way to compare the cost of living between two cities, please do share in the comments.