- GOBankingRates determined the most expensive countries to live in. The United States landed within the top 25.
- To determine the most expensive countries, GOBankingRates looked at the daily cost of living in addition to the local purchasing power for each country, comparing each to the notoriously expensive New York City.
- It also found that though rent tends to be cheaper in these countries than in New York City, other expenses factored into the cost of living tends to even things out.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Traveling to a country to visit is one thing; living there permanently is another.
According to GOBankingRates, which recently determined the most expensive countries to live in around the world, places like Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland all have homes which can be rented for almost half of what one could get in New York City. However, the cost of living in those countries is still much higher than that of the Big Apple when you factor in other common expenses.
For example, GOBankingRates reports that the cost of dining out is 25% higher in Norway than in New York City, while in Iceland, restaurant food prices are a staggering 33% higher and groceries 19% higher than in New York City.
Meanwhile, Sweden has a personal income tax rate of around 62%, while Switzerland has a worldwide income tax that can reach as high as 40% – as GOBankingRates points out, in Switzerland, a person is even taxed for living in their own home.
To determine which are the most expensive countries to live in, GOBankingRates analyzed each, relative to New York City, on five metrics: cost of living, rent, grocery prices, restaurant menu prices, and local purchasing power (defined as the relative purchasing power in buying goods and services in a given country for the average wage in that country).
The cost of living index and local purchasing power figures are all sourced from GOBankingRates and are relative to New York City; for example, Norway, with a 113.70 cost of living index, has a cost of living index 13.7% higher than New York City.
Keep reading to find out which are the top 25 most expensive countries to live in, listed from least to most expensive.
Cost-of-living index: 70.92
Local purchasing power: 66.24
Alice Wilton of Malta Guides reports that one doesn't pay property taxes in Malta, and that, if moving from a US city such as New York or San Francisco, one could be cutting the cost of living by as much as 50% to 75%.
Cost-of-living index: 72.48
Local purchasing power: 118.92
The National Bank of Canada reported that household expenses in the country can equal nearly half of one's net salary. In the province of Ontario, for instance, the average household expense was $88,953 CAD in 2016.
For 2016, the bank reported that, on average, about $20,000 goes towards housing, $16,000 goes to taxes, $12,000 goes to transportation, $9,000 to food, and $2,200 to education - not including clothes, health insurance, and personal care.
23. United States
Cost-of-living index: 72.95
Local purchasing power: 127.62
San Francisco is one of the wealthiest and most expensive cities in the US, Hillary Hoffower previously reported for Business Insider. The average rent in the city is more than $4,500 - which is 2.5 times the national average. In addition, the average home price is $1.3 million, which is 4.4 times the national home price average.
Cost-of-living index: 74.35
Local purchasing power: 125.01
According to Study in Germany, students who live in Germany spend, on average, about €850 ($994) a month on cost of living. The site reports that, especially compared to other European cities, Germany is generally considered one of the least expensive, with the largest cost attributed to rent.
21. United Kingdom
Cost-of-living index: 75.85
Local purchasing power: 108.54
As pointed out by finance broker ABC Finance Limited, the cost of living in the UK varies greatly. For example, the website points out, Liverpool is one of the least expensive places to buy groceries, while the town of Milton Keynes is the most expensive. Those living in London have the highest average cost of living: £30,898 in 2017. The same year, the average across the UK as a whole was £25,766.
Cost-of-living index: 79.06
Local purchasing power: 81.07
According to the Borgen Project, it is cheaper to buy local items in Italy rather than imported goods. A Big Mac is the equivalent of nearly $10 dollars in Italy, which is almost $4 dollars more than it is in the United States. Italy does, however, offer free health care, with the option of paying more for private insurance.
Cost-of-living index: 81.47
Local purchasing power: 98.69
Expatistan reports that the cost of living is cheaper in Austria than it is in 74% of Western Europe, though it is still more expensive than 67% of countries in the world.
Cost-of-living index: 81.70
Local purchasing power: 119.42
Finland has consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world, despite its high cost of living. In 2017, The Borgen Project reported that food in the country is 120% of the European average, while the price of living in Helsinki, the nation's capital, is twice as high as it is in the rest of Finland.
Cost-of-living index: 82.69
Local purchasing power: 109.48
16. South Korea
Cost-of-living index: 82.94
Local purchasing power: 109.36
According to Numbeo, a database of user-given data about cities and countries around the world, the cost of living in South Korea (excluding rent costs) is about 8.10% higher than in the US. However, rent in South Korea is 44.59% lower than in the US.
Cost-of-living index: 83.35
Local purchasing power: 98.91
Expatica reports that the cost of living in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is 39% cheaper than the cost of living in New York and 23% cheaper than the cost of living in Paris.
14. New Zealand
Cost-of-living index: 83.41
Local purchasing power: 98.61
Cost-of-living index: 83.70
Local purchasing power: 113.01
Numbeo reports that the cost of living in Sweden is nearly 2.16% lower than that of the United States (with rent excluded). In addition, rent in Sweden is 36.17% lower than that of in the United States. However, Sweden's high personal tax rate bumps the country up on the list.
Cost-of-living index: 83.86
Local purchasing power: 101.21
Expatica reports that the cost of living in Paris is 22% cheaper than that of New York, 10% cheaper than that of Los Angeles, and 17% cheaper than that of London.
Cost-of-living index: 84.30
Local purchasing power: 122.98
Australian Home Loan Experts reports that the average cost of living in Australia for one person is about $2,835 AUD a month ($1,938.13 USD), while, for four people, the living expenses total $5,378 AUD per month ($3,676.64 USD).
Cost-of-living index: 85.45
Local purchasing power: 96.10
International Citizens reports that housing expenses are higher in Ireland than in the United States, with some neighborhoods having prices comparable with London and New York City. Ireland does, however, have free and subsidized public heath care.
Cost-of-living index: 86.53
Local purchasing power: 102.30
Numbeo reports that Israel's cost of living is 14.58% higher than that of the United States (rent not included). However, rent in Israel is 21.52% lower than that in the United States.
Cost-of-living index: 86.58
Local purchasing power: 107.35
Expatistan reports that Japan in the third most expensive country in Asia, with the cost of living in the country topping 80% of countries around the world.
Cost-of-living index: 91.40
Local purchasing power: 95.89
Expatistan reports that Singapore is the second most expensive county in Asia, with the cost of living being more expensive than 94% of the countries around the world.
Cost-of-living index: 93.30
Local purchasing power: 117.53
Numbeo reports that the cost of living in Copenhagen is 14.44% lower than that of New York City, while the cost of living in Aarhus, Denmark's second biggest city, is 19.38% lower than that of New York City. However, restaurant menu prices make Denmark one of the priciest countries to dine out in.
Cost-of-living index: 96.56
Local purchasing power: 116.73
Expatistan reports that the cost of living in Luxembourg is more expensive than in 81% of the cities in Western Europe, in addition to being more expensive than 85% of cities around the word.
4. The Bahamas
Cost-of-living index: 100.68
Local purchasing power: 71.40
Numbeo reports that rent in the Bahamas is 9.41% lower than that in the United States; however, restaurant prices in the country are 18.24% higher than those in the US.
Cost-of-living index: 113.70
Local purchasing power: 107.95
Cost-of-living index: 131.39
Local purchasing power: 126.15
Expatica states that the cost of living in Zurich, Switzerland's largest city, is about the same as the cost of living in New York City, though it is 26% more expensive than Paris and 63% more expensive than Brussels.
Cost-of-living index: 123.96
Local purchasing power: 87.84
Numbeo reports that the cost of living in Iceland is about 40.21% higher than that of the United States (rent not included). In addition, rent in Iceland is 15.57% higher than that in the United States.