The age-old battle of which South African city is better often boils down to financials. While the Mother City has beautiful beaches, stunning scenery and bountiful nature, it is also very expensive to live here.
Data from statistics website Numbeo confirmed what we already know: Cape Town is generally the most expensive South African city to rent in.
According to Numbeo, you would need around R38 350.05 in Johannesburg or around R33 343.94 in Durban to maintain the same standard of living that you can with R42 000 in Cape Town, assuming you rent in all the cities. This calculation uses Numbeo’s Cost of Living Plus Rent Index to compare cost of living and assumes net earnings.
On average, rent prices in Johannesburg and Durban are lower than in Cape Town, less 35.92% and 47.65% respectively. A one bedroom in the City centre will come in at about R10 968.05 for Cape Town, while our Johannesburg counterparts only pay R6894.64 and Durbanites pay R5328.12.
Johannesburg residents also tend to earn slightly higher salaries, and pay less for groceries than Capetonians. Those in Durban earn the least of the three and pay the lowest amount for groceries.
A typical Cape Town monthly salary after tax is R19 335.73 according to Numbeo, which equals about R232 028 annually. In Johannesburg, a R20 302.13 monthly salary per month equals R243 625 annually. Durban dwellers earn about R16 047.62 per month, which is R192 571 annually.
In general, Durban is the most cost effective place to live as it consistently ranks with the lowest prices for groceries, rent and eating out. However, they do also earn the least. Cape Town is often the most expensive, while Johannesburg is where the money is.