Cost of Living in St Thomas

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Cost of Living in St Thomas

The US Virgin Islands are a group of roughly 60 islands in the Caribbean, most of which are uninhabited. St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix are the most populous and visited islands. The US Virgin Islands is a United States territory that is organized yet unincorporated, and the people who live there are citizens of the United States. The allure of these tropical islands is a mix of the strange and the familiar—an island paradise with modern conveniences and a blend of Caribbean culture and American practicality. The island of St. Thomas is home to the majority of the United States Virgin Islands people. It is also the most commercialized island, serving as a frequent stop for Caribbean cruise liners. The blue sea is filled with ships of various shapes and sizes, and the 30-square-mile island features rainforest cliffs that reach far into the sky. Tourists can overrun St. Thomas, particularly the capital of Charlotte Amalie.

Even though the island is only 32 square miles in size, it is believed that there are over a million activities to do when you live in St. Thomas. You can migrate here with minor hassles because it is part of the Virgin Islands under US jurisdiction. Then you may go snorkeling, sailing, or diving, which are all popular activities here. 

You may also enjoy a world-famous golf course, beautiful beaches, and a vibrant nightlife scene that can help you have a great time. St. Thomas’ contemporary history began in 1493 when Christopher Columbus discovered it while on his second journey to the New World. It would take the Dutch West India Company until 1657 to establish a station on the island. In 1660, a church was built, and in 1665, attempts to colonize the area began in earnest. Plantations would be established, with a focus on sugarcane production. Many locals believed the Dutch were mismanaging the island, so they persuaded the Dutch to sell St. Thomas (with St. John and St. Croix) to the US. In 1917, the whole cost was $25 million in gold, almost $500 million today. The goal of this deal was to promote colonialism. During World War I, the United States desired to keep control of the Caribbean region, and these islands were strategically important. 

Expat Life: Most of the time, people dress casually, and the dress code for expatriates is often sophisticated casual. Expats in the US Virgin Islands face a minimal chance of being attacked. Low levels of petty and opportunistic crime and some violent crime are among the dangers. The most significant crime rates are on St Thomas and St Croix, while the lowest is on St John.

Living Costs

The cost of living for expatriates in the US Virgin Islands is relatively high compared to other cities globally, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI) of 92.47 (New York =100) for all 13 basket groups as of January 2022. We gathered prices for the same things from around the world, based on Expat spending norms in or near the place, and converted them to $USD to compare the costs of 13 different baskets in 780 different locales. The similar cost in the US Virgin Islands for each basket, compared to New York, is as follows:

1) Alcohol or Tobacco: Items like beer, spirits, wine, and tobacco-related products like cigarettes are expensive. In New York, a bouquet worth $1,000 costs $910. A midrange bottle of wine costs USD$13.76 in a store, domestic/local beer (500ml) costs USD$3.88, imported/international beer (330ml) costs USD$4.79, and a pack of 20 cigarettes costs USD$6.26.

2) Clothing: Business, casual, and children’s clothing and footwear are expensive. In New York, a bouquet worth $1,000 costs $970, and a medium-sized international summer dress from a worldwide chain store costs USD$75. In contrast, an international brand of men’s trousers costs USD$52, a quality international brand of running shoes costs USD$94, and men’s leather shoes appropriate for office wear cost USD$96.

3) Communication: Various communication expenditures, such as home phone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff, and data costs, are pretty expensive. In New York, a basket worth $200 costs $294. A monthly regular plan internet membership costs an average of USD$96, while the benchmark mobile rate is USD$ per minute.

4) Education: Fees for creche/pre-school, primary school, high school, and tertiary study are on par with the national average. In New York, a basket worth USD$30,000 costs USD$27600. The average yearly private international school fee (excluding extras) for Primary School is USD$17,847, while for High School, it is USD$19,861.

5) Furniture and Appliances: Dining tables and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas are expensive. In New York, a basket worth USD$2,500 costs USD$2850. A 6kg front loading washing machine costs $815 on average, while a 46+” LED UHD TV costs $699.

6) Groceries: Consumables, cleaning goods, dairy, fresh fruit and vegetables, general food products, snacks, and soft beverages. In New York, a bouquet worth $1,000 costs $1040. 1 kg apples are USD$7.88, 1 kg oranges are USD$9.77, one head of lettuce is USD$3.54, 1 kg potatoes are USD$4.20, 1 kg boneless, skinless chicken breast is USD$15.54, 1 kg cheddar cheese is USD$11.68, one dozen large eggs are USD$4.66, 500g loaf white bread is USD$5.13, 1 L full cream milk is USD$2.17, and 1.5 L water is USD$3.50 in a major international retail store.

7) Healthcare: Basic treatment is provided by competent health care facilities. Severe or extensive medical treatment may necessitate evacuation, which might be costly. General health care, doctor appointments, hospital stays, non-prescription drugs, and medical insurance are pretty expensive. In New York, a bouquet worth $1,000 costs $1040. The average cost of healthcare in private practice. A doctor’s visit costs USD$84 for an uninsured patient, while a private hospital stay costs USD$2,590 a day, including nursing care, prescriptions, diagnostic tests, food, and other expenses.

8) Household Accommodation: Apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities are all expensive. In New York, a bouquet worth $5,000 costs $3000. The average expatriate home/apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) in a central area is USD$3,902 per month, excluding utilities, and USD$3,402 in a suburban location.

9) Miscellaneous: Dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps all cost around the same. In New York, a basket worth $500 costs USD$410. The average cost of dry cleaning for a two-piece suit for a man is USD$8.03, while an international newspaper is USD$2.47.

10) Personal Care: Cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries are all expensive. In New York, a bouquet worth $500 costs $425. A men’s haircut and blow-dry costs around USD$34, while a women’s hair color, cut, and blow-dry – medium length costs around USD$171.

11) Recreation & Culture: Books, movies, sports, and theatre tickets are expensive. In New York, a basket worth $500 costs $415. For one adult, the average cost of a recent release international movie ticket (average of on and off-peak when applicable) is USD$11.26, and the average cost of an international fitness, recreation, and monthly cost of a sports club membership for one adult is USD$141.

12) Restaurants, Meals Out, and Hotels: Items such as hotel daily room rates, restaurant meals, beverages, and take-out food and beverages are all costly. In New York, a basket worth $1,000 costs USD$840. A typical, medium cappuccino costs USD$7.51, a Coke/Pepsi (330ml) costs USD$2.97, a burger meal (international chain or similar) costs USD$10.01, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for two costs USD$112.62.

13) Transportation: Items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car rental, public transportation, vehicle ownership, and upkeep are all quite expensive. In New York, a bouquet worth $1,000 costs $1270.The benchmark automobile sedan purchase price, including taxes/duties for a compact / small/economic vehicle (1.4 L), is USD$38,021, while the highest available octane petrol/gasoline (1L) has averaged USD$0.82 during the last year.

How Does the Cost of Living Compare in the US Virgin Islands? 

For groceries, the US Virgin Islands is 35.6 percent more expensive than the United States, 0.6 percent more expensive than the United Kingdom, and 111 percent more expensive than India. 

What Is the Quality of Life Like in the US Virgin Islands, and How Difficult Is it?

The US Virgin Islands is classified as a problematic location. For an ex-pat from Australia, the hardship premium for the US Virgin Islands is 10%, i.e., host location (the US Virgin Islands) premium of 20% minus home location (Australia) premium of 10%.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 

The Benefits of Living in St. Thomas

1. You Continue to Reside in the United States

 You will be residing in a United States territory if you opt to move to St. Thomas. That is to say, US criminal laws will protect you. The military also protects the island if something happens elsewhere in the world. The U.S. Postal Service delivers your mail here as well. As an American citizen, you will have many of the same experiences you would have in any other location. Unless the USVI makes an effort for statehood that Congress supports in the future, you won’t be living in a state. That implies you won’t require any new documentation, such as a work visa or other comparable documents. Your Social Security card, passport, and other forms of identification will be required.

 2. In the Virgin Islands, Everything Feels Familiar

 When you decide to move to St. Thomas, you’ll have to make a few minor lifestyle changes.

Every purchase is still made in US cash, and debit and credit cards are accepted as they would be anywhere else. Fine dining options, imported wine tastings, and Wendy’s burgers are all available. Many of the leading retailers have set up shop on the island, so you’ll be able to get your hands on whatever you need. The story would be a little different if you resided on St. John.

 3. Living in St. Thomas Makes Life Slower and More Peaceful

 Because of the tranquility and simplicity that the island provides, most people who move to St. Thomas claim they will never return to their prior existence. Although finding work if you aren’t in the hotel business can be difficult, there is still a lot of magic to be found on this small island. It’s entertaining to watch the tropical storms approach from the sea. You can go snorkeling at any time, especially with the companies’ significant discounts offered to local people. Wherever you go, you’ll be surrounded by vistas of the Caribbean and nearby islands. 

 The Drawbacks of Living in St. Thomas

 1. Your Right to Vote in Presidential Elections Will be Taken Away From You

 If you live in the US Virgin Islands, you will have a governor in charge of the territory’s administrative tasks. Your legal residence in St. Thomas will preclude you from voting for a presidential ticket because it is not a state. That means you’ll be stuck with whoever administration takes office and whatever decisions they make for the country since you won’t have complete representation. Despite your duties to pay into the Social Security program and pay federal taxes, you will not have congressional representation that can vote.

 2. Hurricane Season Is Something You Should think About

 Hurricanes can wreak havoc on the US Virgin Islands. St. Thomas is located in warm Atlantic waters that mix with the Caribbean, resulting in tropical storms and massive hurricanes that can cause various problems. One person’s direct impact can wipe entire neighborhoods off the island. Even if you only get a brush with the cyclone’s outer edge, you’ll be dealing with massive storm surges that could result in flooding. It causes downed powerlines, felled trees, and general devastation when one blows through. In June of each year, you’ll need to start paying attention to the weather Forecast

3. You’ll have to juggle a drug problem and some poverty difficulties.

 If you want to live in a safe neighborhood, St. John is a better option than St. Thomas. You’ll be dealing with some serious concerns here, particularly regarding violent crime. According to the United Nations, the USVI has the highest per capita murder rate in the Caribbean and is currently the fourth-largest in the world. With a rate of 52.64 murders per 100,000 people, you have a one in 2,000 chance of being murdered. Guns are used twice as frequently in robberies and three times as frequently in assaults than the global average.

 Conclusion

Living in St. Thomas has its advantages and disadvantages. There are some challenges, but there are also some incredible benefits. You’ll enjoy plenty of sunshine, friendly neighbors, and a taste of Caribbean life without having to spend a lot of money. It may cost a little more to move to the USVI than it would to a new house on the mainland, but it doesn’t take long to get used to the slower pace of island life. To reduce hazards and inconveniences, you should take steps to establish employment and assess your property’s security assets before arriving. When you move thoroughly prepared for the changes, the danger of unexpected problems is reduced to a minimum. If you’re considering moving to St. Thomas soon, think about each significant factor carefully so that it can be a fantastic experience.

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