Cost of Living in Kazakhstan

Expats are likely to find that the cost of living in Kazakhstan can vary greatly from city to city, not to mention the ever-fluctuating value of the tenge, which makes it extremely difficult to generalise about common costs.

Kazakhstan is in the top 20 of oil producers worldwide, a fact that bodes well for the economy. However, a few years ago, the tenge took a massive dip against the dollar and prices soared. Recently, Kazakhstan seems to have recovered somewhat – Mercer's 2018 Cost of Living Survey ranked Almaty as 187th out of 209 cities. The situation remains unpredictable, though, so it's important for expats to make sure they're up to date with Kazakhstan's current financial situation.


Cost of accommodation in Kazakhstan

Some expats are lucky enough to have accommodation provided as part of their employment contract, in which case they need not worry about the expenses involved. Unfortunately, most expats will need to bear this expense themselves.

Generally, accommodation costs more the closer it is to the city centre. There are a few modern apartment complexes but most are old, Soviet-style apartments – naturally, these are cheaper, but might not be up to the standard of living that many expats are used to.

Utilities can be costly, especially in the areas of Kazakhstan that are subject to extreme heat in summer and extreme cold in winter.


Cost of transport in Kazakhstan

Most public transport is inexpensive, with a flat rate being charged for buses, trams and the metro. Taxis are generally expensive. It's costly to purchase a car, even second-hand, although petrol prices are usually reasonable.


Cost of food in Kazakhstan

The cost and quality of food in Kazakhstan varies according to season. In summer, local fruit and vegetables are inexpensive and of a good quality. In winter, however, fruit and vegetables are expensive and tend to be poor quality goods.

To keep costs down, expats should do the bulk of their shopping in local bazaars and markets.


Cost of living in Kazakhstan chart 

Prices may vary across Kazakhstan, depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Almaty in August 2018.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

KZT 240,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

KZT 150,000

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

KZT 130,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

KZT 85,000

Groceries

Milk (1 litre)

KZT 310

Eggs (12)

KZT 400

Loaf of white bread 

KZT 100

Rice (1kg)

KZT 250

1 packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

KZT 350

Public transportation

City centre bus/train fare

KZT 80

Taxi rate per kilometre

KZT 120

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

KZT 1,500

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

KZT 170

Cappuccino

KZT 750

Bottle of domestic beer

KZT 300

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

KZT 4,500

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

KZT 12

Uncapped ADSL internet (per month)

KZT 4,000

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

KZT 23,000