The dream of traveling the world or living in a new country are common ones. But when planning out all the destinations and countries to visit or settle, it is essential to know the cost of living in each place. This information could mean the difference between staying an extended period in one country versus another.
In this article, we outline the top 20 most expensive countries in the world, as you can see referenced in the map.
These rankings and totals consider the different cost of living elements that one takes on when residing in a particular country. While these prices may vary from city to city, we provide the average cost for you to reference.
If beaches are what you are after, you may want to consider a long-term stay in a country other than Bermuda. As the most expensive country in the world, it is quite costly to stay in the island nation for an extended period.
Between the high cost of housing and the inflated grocery price, providing the essentials for daily living can be problematic for visitors and locals alike. Additionally, the minimum wage sits at USD 12.25 per hour, which brings another set of challenges to comfortable living.
While the beautiful country of Switzerland has many valuable assets, the cost of living leaves a lot to be desired. However, the variance between the overall living rate in the country and the housing levels is drastically different. The country enjoys relatively low housing costs but high expenses in other areas.
One of the areas where you will see a jump in cost is groceries. The food price is significantly higher in Switzerland than in other world areas and lends itself to the high overall cost of living index.
Like Switzerland, Norway has a placement high on the cost of living index ratings but not due to the price of housing. Both Norway and Switzerland enjoy relatively low housing costs but have an overall high index rate. Thankfully, Norway can enjoy a lower price for standard groceries than other areas, which helps in many ways.
There is no standard minimum wage in Norway for all citizens, but they have rates for different age groups. For those over 18, wages must be at least USD 22.25 per hour. For those under the age of 18, the rate is USD 16.60.
Coming in at number four on the list of most expensive countries to live in is Iceland. With a high cost of living, many residents struggle. Between the level of expenses and the lack of a set minimum wage, it is hard to maintain a quality standard of life. While residents can adjust over time, it is expensive for tourists who visit for a brief stay to acclimate to the high prices.
While many prices are high for various items, including groceries, the amount paid for housing is less than what one would expect. The cost for an average home in Iceland is comparable to the average price in the USA.
Like Bermuda currently still is, Barbados has (until recently) been under the umbrella of the British Commonwealth. Also, like Bermuda, the country of Barbados has a high cost of living index. What is different is that the housing price in Barbados is relatively low, equally about ⅕ of what a resident of New York City pays.
The biggest reason for the staggering rate is due to the location of the country. As an island, most goods need to be imported. Therefore, the cost inflates to reflect that charge.
A pattern with island nations is the high cost of living corresponding to residing there. Jersey, a small island within the British Islands and one of three Crown Dependencies, fits this bill. Like Bermuda and Barbados, the high cost of the living index associated with the country pertains to importing a significant percentage of goods to keep residents fed and provided for every day.
As number six on the list of most expensive countries globally, Jersey has inflated rates across the board. Residents and visitors will see high costs in housing, food, and goods, among other items.
Another indicator of a country having a high cost of living index is the presence and availability of universal health care. Many countries on the list have this coverage, albeit not all. Denmark is known for its quality universal care available to residents and is covered by taxes.
Having a more significant tax obligation leads to a higher cost of living. However, suppose you are considering a permanent or extended stay. In that case, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons between what you pay for private premiums and what the tax responsibility is for government-funded care.
The universal health care plan available to citizens and long-term residents of Luxembourg is considered one of the best in the world. While it is a massive benefit to those who stay in the country long-term, it also contributes to the high cost of living index that the country has.
Luxembourg has high rates across the board as number eight on the list. Most essential living items are top dollar between housing, food, and restaurant costs. What’s more, the minimum wage of USD 12.39 can be difficult for making ends meet.
Number nine on the list of most expensive countries is Israel. While the housing costs are lower than other locations on the ranking list, other essential expenses cause it to be in the top ten. Additionally, while housing costs are lower than average across the country, many populated areas in Israel have a higher rate than average, and housing shortages go along with it.
Additionally, the elevated tax level is to blame for the index rate. There is a significant income gap issue in Israel, and the cost of taxes is a substantial part of the problem.
Many visitors to the Bahamas don’t see much of the actual country. For most vacationers, the experience remains on the land of the resort or hotel in which they stay. And although they know the accommodations are expensive, they don’t get to see or experience what permanent residents are used to during their stay.
As an island, the Bahamas is subject to many imported goods. Having these items allows the country to continue operating and to provide for its citizens. These items come at a cost, contributing to the elevated cost of living.
Singapore comes in at number 11 on the list of most expensive countries. An interesting part of this statistic is that the country has the lowest average restaurant charge among those already covered. The bulk of the cost of living obligation comes from housing, groceries, and taxes – although they do operate on a progressive tax basis.
While Singapore offers a free, government-funded healthcare system for residents, they also have an extensive private medical sector. While basic needs are met, having private care may allow for more amenities and reduced wait times.
While the country of Japan has a high level of living costs, this varies greatly depending on what area you reside in during your stay. Much like the United States and many other countries, the closer you are to more populated areas, the more demand for housing. With that, you experience higher rates.
The further you are removed from such areas as Tokyo, the lower your monthly expenses. Housing will be significantly less, as well as restaurant and food prices. While taxes are the same throughout, the country operates on a bracket system that allows those who earn less to pay less.
The cost of rent in Hong Kong is the second-highest on the list, located right underneath Bermuda. However, the other cost of living expenses associated with the country knocks it down to 13 on the list. With proximity to China, those in Hong Kong can purchase many items for cheap, such as clothes and household products. Many other necessities can be pretty high, though.
Hong Kong has free public health care for all, but much of the food sold in stores must be imported, contributing to increased costs.
Many people have Australia on their bucket list of places to visit. The country has much to offer and comes with a hefty price tag, which ranks it as number 14 on the list of most expensive countries globally.
Housing isn’t the culprit for the land down under, but the cost of goods. Additionally, the expenditures for restaurants and transportation, as well as entertainment, come in at a higher level than other areas of the world.
Living in the Netherlands comes with a high price tag, as it does with the other options on this list. As the 15th most expensive country in the world, the Netherlands has an elevated price for many everyday items, including groceries, transportation, and standard household necessities.
The Netherlands has free public healthcare, although they do not cover all services or medications. It is important to note that the taxes in the country are very high. Those who make over USD 77,000 will be subject to a tax rate of almost 50%.
Many flock to Ireland for the lush green land and beautiful landscape. However, their position at number 16 on the most expensive country list makes it difficult for many to stay permanently or long-term. One perk to staying in the country is that necessary health care is free to all, even non-residents.
Although the country has free health care, only about 30% of the population qualifies for care at absolutely no cost outside of necessary treatments. To have full coverage, you must meet specific criteria, which many don’t. However, the services are affordable and private insurance is reduced.
France is known for its top-tier universal health care, which places them at the top of the ranking list for the World Health Organization. However, the care comes at a cost. This fact translates to a very high cost of living index for those residing in the country.
While housing will fluctuate depending on what area of the country you stay in, many of the goods and entertainment options, as well as restaurants, are highly-priced throughout the country. For some, this can lead to difficulty making ends meet on the income they bring in.
If you were basing the rankings of this list on the cost of groceries alone, South Korea would be in the top five. Many of the foods are imported, which adds cost. The considerable distance between the country and producers adds an even higher fee.
One area that South Korea is not expensive in is housing. From those we have covered so far on the list, South Korea is one of the lowest when it comes to mortgage and rent prices.
Although they have a high cost of living index, Finland is known as being one of the happiest countries in the world. With easy access to many resources and high-income brackets, the residents of the country are known for having less stress and an increased level of joy.
What is different about Finland is that residents pay taxes on everything, including goods and services. Additionally, they settle into unemployment funds specific to their jobs and industry. This payment is separate from the paycheck and amounts to a considerable price each month.
As the last country on our list, New Zealand marks the 20th most expensive country in the world. Although the country enjoys low housing costs, many of the other necessities for living come at a higher rate. This cost adds to the high cost of living index.
Because of the location, New Zealand has to import many of the products they sell in grocery stores. Therefore, the price of food is higher than in other countries. This distance also contributes to the rise in restaurant costs throughout the country.
Many dream of relocating to another country or traveling the world. However, when planning out all the destinations and countries to visit, it is important to know the cost of living in each place. Having this information is vital to maintaining appropriate income levels and a quality living situation.
This article outlines the top 20 most expensive countries in the world, taking the rankings and totals into account with the different cost of living elements. Although these prices may vary from city to city, we have provided the average cost for your reference.