Have you ever questioned where the countries with highest cost of living on the planet are? We discovered the nations where your wallet would have to stretch the furthest to get by using data from Numbeo, the cost of living database. The ranking is based on consumer goods prices, which include groceries, transportation, restaurants, and utilities but do not include the cost of housing.
The index scores are percentages of the cost of living in comparison to New York City, which has a score of 100. As a result, nations with a score of less than 100 are less costly than New York, while countries with a score of more than 100 are more expensive. Continue reading to find out which nations have the highest living costs this year. Except as otherwise noted, all monetary values are in US dollars.
Macau, or Macau, was ruled by the Portuguese until 1999, when it was returned to China. Despite this, it has its own political and economic structures. It is the world’s most densely inhabited territory, and Macao residents spend substantially more on their everyday costs than citizens in mainland China. In reality, consumer costs in Macao are 50.71 percent higher than in Beijing.
Lebanon has the greatest inflation rate in the world, according to Bloomberg statistics, and is currently the world’s 29th in the list of countries with highest cost of living. Furthermore, Lebanon’s buying power index has fallen to 32.48, the lowest of any country on the list. People will have a hard time getting excellent value for their money as a result of this. Poor infrastructure and a lack of adequate public services, according to Lebanese economists, contribute to the high cost of living.
Italy is well-known for its delectable cuisine, but it comes at a high price. For example, a kilo of local cheese costs $13.84 (£10.47), which is $2.76 (£2.09) more costly than in US and $6.43 (£4.86) more expensive than in the UK. Italians can comfort themselves by matching their expensive cheese with a significantly less expensive bottle of wine. A mid-range bottle of wine costs $5.64 (£4.27) on average, which is less than half the price of the US counterpart and more than $3 (£2.27) less than in the UK.
27. The United States
The United States is ranked 27th overall, with New York as its base city. The American healthcare system is the most costly in the world, with inhabitants spending an average of $10,586 (£8,000) each year. That’s $3,269 (£2.5k) higher than Switzerland, which ranks second in terms of healthcare expenses.
26. The United Kingdom
Understandably, London is the most expensive city in the United Kingdom to reside in. In reality, Londoners have the world’s most expensive commute, with a monthly transit pass costing £160 ($212). In terms of monthly travel costs, the United Kingdom ranks tenth in the world. On the good side, grocery expenses in the UK are 27.38 percent lower than in America, and the country also has a free healthcare system.
Prices in Canada are constantly expensive across the board, notably for dairy items. A litre of milk, for example, tends to cost $1.93 (£1.46) on average in the United Kingdom, compared to $0.87 (66p) in the United States. The sky-high price of dairy products, which can vary substantially from region to province, has been blamed on supply management concerns. A four-litre bottle of milk costs CA$4.68 in Sudbury, Ontario, whereas the same container costs CA$7.13 in Moncton, New Brunswick, according to the Canadian Fluid Milk Report.
Because of its favorable tax regulations, Malta has long been considered of as a low-cost holiday destination for expats. However, the rising expense of living in the city is beginning to change that. Malta has the second lowest local buying power index ranking on our list, at 36.73, indicating that residents have a tough time getting excellent value for money. However, if you know where to buy, there are a plethora of farmers’ markets and low-cost supermarkets that may help you save money on groceries.
The Seychelles, a dream vacation location for many, is composed of over 100 islands (115, to be precise). The island group has a distinction for being on the higher end of the expense of living range, with alcohol being particularly expensive due to the fact that it must be imported. As a result, a bottle of mid-range wine may be expensive, with the typical bottle costing roughly $13.57 (£10.27).
Austria, situated in the centre of Europe, is ranked 22nd on the list of countries with highest cost of living. The city, Vienna, placed #1 in Mercer’s Quality of Living City Ranking for ten straight years between 2009 and 2019 – therefore, despite high entertainment and dining out expenditures, inhabitants don’t appear to be grumbling.
Belgium is substantially more costly to live in than the United States or the United Kingdom, where consumer costs are 2.77 percent and 6.11 percent lower, respectively. Citizens, on the other hand, may taste world-class Belgian beer for only $4.51 (£3.41) per pint. That’s 10.74 percent less than a domestic pint in the United States, and 11.81 percent less than in the United Kingdom.
Sweden, while still pricey, has the lowest living expenditures of any Scandinavian country. Despite this, it is the lowest-ranked Scandinavian country in terms of the Quality of Life Index, although it still ranks strongly with 170.19. Perhaps this is owing to the country’s strong alcohol monopoly, which prohibits supermarkets and grocery shops from selling beverages with a strength more than 3.5 percent. Wines and spirits may only be obtained at state-run liquor stores or regulated locations such as pubs, and they are substantially more expensive.
19. New Zealand
Despite being the world’s 19th in countries with highest cost of living, New Zealand is ranked 9th overall on the Quality of Life Index. One of the primary reasons for New Zealand’s high cost of living is that so many of its commodities must be imported, which are then subject to import taxes. According to Statista, the average house price in September 2021 in Auckland was NZ $1.2 million ($815k/£603k).
Finland is one of the countries with highest cost of living in the world, with commodities such as water, beer, gasoline, and movie tickets all ranking in the top ten most expensive in comparison to the rest of the globe. Finland has led the World Happiness Ranking for four years in a row as of 2021, despite the high cost of common items. Furthermore, it has been in the top five every year since the study began in 2013.
17. South Korea
In South Korea, the cost of purchasing groceries is exceptionally high. Rice is a cornerstone of the Korean diet, although it costs on average $3.80 (£2.87) per kilo. After the United States and Japan, this is the country with the third highest rice price on our list. When it comes to eating out, South Korea, on the other hand, is on the lower end of the price spectrum. The average cost of a three-course lunch for two people in a mid-range restaurant is $38.14 (£28.84). When compared to the cost of eating in the United States, the same dinner would cost roughly $60 (£45.38).
Paris is the world’s second most expensive city, and France as a nation isn’t far behind, coming in at number 16 in our ranking. Citizens, on the other hand, may enjoy the country’s world-famous wine at affordable costs. For example, a bottle of mid-range wine costs $7.90 (£5.97), which is less than in the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as many other nations on our list. Its cheese, on the other hand, is among the greatest but also among the most costly in the world. Per kg, it costs a whooping $17.88 (£13.52).
The cost of living in Ireland is astronomically expensive when compared to the United Kingdom, where restaurants, rent, and food prices are all substantially lower. The location of Ireland makes it difficult to keep prices low. The fact that it is an island, like the United Kingdom, necessitates importation of vital items. However, unlike the UK, it also has a scarcity of natural resources. According to The Irish Times, the country imports over 90% of its electricity, and its average electricity rates are among the highest in Europe.
With an extremely low score of 25.39, the Netherlands is one of Europe’s least polluted countries. As a result, gasoline is more expensive, costing an average of $1.92 (£1.45) per litre. Despite being the world’s 14th most expensive country, low pollution levels and low crime rates enable the country rank third overall on the Quality of Life Index.
Australia, like its neighbor New Zealand, is largely reliant on imports, which drives up the cost of many ordinary commodities. The average monthly expenditures for a single individual living in Sydney, Australia’s most costly city, are AU $3,778 ($2.7k or £2k), according to Expatisan. A major portion of this is made up of rent or mortgage payments. In 2020, the average home price in Sydney was AU $1.14 million, or $825,246 or £609,102.
12. Hong Kong
The cost of living in Hong Kong is around double that of mainland China, necessitating the use of lengthy purse strings to get by. In Hong Kong, groceries are 45.81 percent more costly than in China, while restaurant bills are generally 51.76 percent more expensive. On the plus side, Hong Kong’s buying power is 11.22 percent greater than China’s, making it simpler to discover better value for money despite the higher costs.
In 2021, Osaka was ranked as the tenth most expensive city in the world. Japan’s day-to-day living expenditures are similarly high, with the nation narrowly missing out on the top ten most expensive countries to live in. Residents may rest easy knowing that, behind South Korea, Japan is the second least costly country on our list for dining out. In a mid-range restaurant, a three-course lunch for two costs on average $43.49 (£32.90).
Alcohol is considered a luxury commodity in Singapore, making it prohibitively costly. A bottle of wine in the mid-range costs $21.99 (£16.64). To put that in context, a glass of wine in Singapore is 45.43 percent more costly than in the United States. Not only that, but daycare in Singapore is among the most expensive in the world, costing the typical family $18,000 (£13.3k) per year.
Have you ever fantasized of fleeing to the Bahamas, a tropical paradise? Unfortunately, island life has a price tag. The bulk of goods must be imported, which contributes to the high expense of life in the country. While neighboring tropical destinations such as Barbados and Bermuda have higher grocery prices, the Bahamas still has high pricing due to a competitive property market and hefty import taxes.
Tel Aviv was named the world’s most expensive city in 2021, not least because it has the world’s most expensive McDonald’s menu (beginning at $17.57/£13.28 for a standard meal). The cost of daily life in Israel is, unsurprisingly, high, with an index score of 84.77.
Luxembourg has a very tiny population compared to most of the nations on this list, with a population of just over 632,000 people. For competent employees above the age of 18, the country has one of the highest minimum wages in the world, at €15.27 ($17.22/£13) per hour. It doesn’t simply help Luxembourgers; the bulk of the country’s workforce is made up of cross-border employees from France and other neighboring nations. Despite the high incomes, the majority of Luxembourg citizens prefer to shop for groceries in France, where everything is much cheaper.
Copenhagen is the world’s eighth most expensive city. For those looking to indulge in some shopping therapy, the Danish capital is exceptionally pricey: a pair of jeans, for example, costs $114.15 (£86.30), which is more costly than in any other city. Shoes aren’t cheap either, costing $121.24 (£91.66) for a pair of Nikes or equivalent. Denmark’s total cost of living is high, and the country is just outside the top five most expensive nations to live in.
Barbados, like the Bahamas, has logistical issues that contribute to it being one of the countries with highest cost of living. Importing commodities raises the cost of everything, and Barbados’ domestic buying power is poor, at only 30.74 percent. However, the high expense of living on the island hasn’t harmed the country’s educational system. The Barbados government has invested heavily in the largely state-owned system, and the island boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world, at 99.6%.
Importing foreign goods into Iceland is subject to stringent rules, which raises product prices. Indeed, the county’s grocery costs are among the world’s highest. However, there is some comfort in the fact that the country’s infrastructure is mainly reliant on low-cost geothermal heating.
Norway, the most expensive of the Scandinavian countries, is ranked third overall on our ranking. It has one of the highest VAT rates in the world, at 25%, which drives up the cost of most ordinary things. Food is taxed at a reduced rate of 15%, yet it is still deemed costly. In fact, Norway is the world’s third most expensive country for grocery shopping; food buying in Norway is 29.67 percent more expensive than in Sweden.
Geneva and Zurich are both among the world’s ten most expensive cities, with living in Switzerland in general being exorbitantly pricey. Child care, dining out, and movie tickets are just a few examples of daily items that are among the most costly in the world in the country. On the bright side, Switzerland has a high buying power, with a score of 102.77, so if you can afford it, you may live a luxurious lifestyle in the nation. Do you need further evidence? It is ranked first in the Quality of Life Index.
Bermuda has overtaken Switzerland as in the ranking of countries with highest cost of living in the world. Bermuda, like many other island nations, generates practically little food or consumer goods and relies entirely on imports, most of which come from the United States. As a result, purchasing food in this nation is the most expensive in the world. Furthermore, Bermuda’s import duties are excessive, resulting in increased prices for everything from food to petrol at the retail level. In fact, behind payroll taxes, import taxes are the government’s second-largest income source.