Expats are likely to find that the cost of living in Kazakhstan can vary significantly from city to city, not to mention the ever-fluctuating value of the tenge, which makes it extremely difficult to generalise about expected costs. Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey ranked Almaty as 208th out of 227 cities, indicating that it's an inexpensive city to live in compared to other popular expat destinations worldwide. 

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. While this used to be the norm, it is unfortunately becoming rare, so 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 old Soviet-style apartments are more common – naturally, these are cheaper but might not be up to the standard of living that many expats are used to.

Cost of transport in Kazakhstan

Most public transport is inexpensive. It's comparatively pricier to travel by taxi, though fares are still cheaper than in many other countries around the world. It's costly to purchase a car, even second-hand, although petrol prices are usually reasonable.

Cost of groceries in Kazakhstan

The cost and quality of food in Kazakhstan vary according to season. In summer, local fruit and vegetables are inexpensive and of 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 entertainment and eating out in Kazakhstan

The lifestyle in Kazakhstan is varied and allows for outdoor, leisure and shopping activities. Kazakhstan's gorgeous natural landscape allows expats to take part in skiing, hiking and kayaking at little to no cost, while shopping enthusiasts can reduce their entertainment expenses by haggling with traders at traditional Kazakh markets and bazaars.

Eating out in Kazakhstan is affordable, and expats living in major cities such as Almaty and Astana will find a range of dining options. The cuisine options may be more limited in rural areas.

Cost of healthcare in Kazakhstan

Public healthcare in Kazakhstan is chronically underfunded and is not up to the standard most expats may be used to, and as such, most employers will sponsor their employees' health insurance. This allows expats to access private healthcare services in the country, but expats will still be evacuated to neighbouring countries for more severe ailments to receive the best care possible. 

Cost of education in Kazakhstan

While Kazakhstan does boast a 100 percent literacy rate, education and schools in the country have varying standards due to underfunding. On top of this, the language of instruction is typically Kazakh or Russian, making public schools largely unfeasible for expat children. Therefore, most expat parents send their children to international schools in Kazakhstan

International schools are typically quite hefty, but they boast globally recognised curricula, excellent teaching standards and a wider variety of extracurricular activities. Parents are encouraged to request an education allowance as part of their relocation packages to cover these costs. 

Cost of living in Kazakhstan chart

Prices may vary across Kazakhstan, depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Almaty in September 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

KZT 651,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

KZT 446,000

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

KZT 346,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

KZT 239,000


Milk (1 litre)

KZT 590

Eggs (dozen)

KZT 771

Loaf of white bread 

KZT 230

Rice (1kg)

KZT 615

One packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

KZT 750


City centre bus/train fare

KZT 100

Taxi rate per kilometre

KZT 300

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

KZT 2,600

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

KZT 401


KZT 1040

Bottle of domestic beer

KZT 625

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two

KZT 15,000


Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and data

KZT 4,000

Uncapped ADSL internet (per month)

KZT 5,708

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

KZT 28,000

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