Cost of Living by Country: The Top 10 Most Expensive Countries
Knowing the cost of living by country can be a huge decision-making factor for finding a new home in another country. A high cost of living often directly impacts the quality of life a person experiences in a specific country.
However, there’s more to calculating the cost of living than most people realize. To calculate the cost of living by year, experts need to examine the price of rent, groceries, and other goods in different countries and compare these numbers to the available spending power of citizens. Every year, various companies generate a “cost of living index” to determine the most expensive country in the world, as well as some of the cheapest locations where people might choose to live.
Oftentimes, the most desirable countries to live in based on factors other than the financial component can be the most expensive. Here’s a list of such countries for you to consider before visiting or moving.
To calculate the cost of living, we measure the cost of goods and services, like mortgage, rent, utilities, and groceries, and compare these amounts to the cost of the same goods and services elsewhere.
The final number given is often compared to the baseline of New York City, where the cost of living is notoriously high. The baseline number for New York is 100, so numbers over 100 would indicate a location is more expensive than New York, while numbers under this amount indicate the country is less expensive to live in than NYC.
Here are ten of the countries with the highest cost of living:
10. Singapore (83.96)
Singapore is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia and one of the most expensive countries in our worldwide cost of living comparison. The estimated cost for a family of four to live in Singapore (without rent) is approximately $3,524.78 per month. A single person will spend around $1,337.33 per month on living costs without rent.
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment beyond the city center is estimated to cost an average of $1,624.33, compared to $2,249.45 within the city center. However, people in Singapore can earn reasonable wages at an average of $4,300.96 per month.
9. Bahamas (84.0)
The Bahamas also fits in our list for the highest cost of living index by country. The average cost for a family of four to live here without rent is around $3,538.90. Alternatively, a single person would spend around $1,207.87 a month without rent.
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment within the city center costs approximately $1,057.69 per month, whereas the same apartment would cost $733.50 per month beyond the city. While these numbers may not seem high, the average monthly income for a person in the Bahamas is only $1,815.06 per month.
8. Denmark (84.12)
Denmark is far from being among the cheapest countries to live in. Living in Denmark would cost the average person 19.94% more than living in the United Kingdom.
For a family of four, the average cost of living in Denmark without rent is $3469.21, while a single person would spend around $965.21 per month. The cost to rent a 1 bedroom apartment in the city center is around $1,005.52, or you can get the same size of apartment for $745.02 per month beyond the city center. To put these numbers into perspective, Danish people earn an average of $3,236.22 per month.
7. Israel (88.05)
Israel is the seventh most expensive country in the world as of 2022 according to the cost of living index. A family of four will spend around $3,790.41 per month on essential costs without rent in Israel. An individual person would spend around $1,068.89 per month.
Renting a one-person apartment in Israel in the city center would cost $1,218.11, whereas outside of the city center, the same place would cost $985.83 per month. The average income is around $2,656.13 per person.
6. Jersey (92.02)
Jersey is the largest member of the Channel Islands between France and England and one of the highest cost of living countries or territories. A family of four would spend an average of $3,751.78 to live in Jersey per month (without rent), while a single person would spend $1,047.77 per month without rent.
Rent per month for a one-bedroom apartment averages out at $1,636.96 in the city center, or $1,601.94 outside of the city center. The average monthly salary for an individual in Jersey is around $2,925.66 per month.
5. Barbados (92.37)
According to the international cost of living index, the cost of living in Barbados is around 41.99% higher than the cost of living in the UK. A family of four would pay around $3,955.81 per month without rent to live in Barbados. A single person would spend around $1,072.79 per month without rent.
The cost for a one-bedroom apartment is quite low in Barbados, however. In the city center, a one-bedroom apartment would cost around $590.84 per month. Outside of the city center, the residence would cost about $440.38 per month. The average monthly salary in Barbados is $1,140.
4. Iceland (94.85)
Continuing our cost of living by country analysis, Iceland ranks as one of the most expensive locations around. The average monthly costs for a family of four in Iceland are around $4,181.68 without rent. For a single person, the average costs amount to $1,133.70 without rent.
To rent a one-bedroom city center apartment in Iceland, you’d need to pay around $1,359.47 per month. Outside of the city center, a one-bedroom apartment would cost $1,115.98 per month. The average monthly salary is quite high, though, at $3,221.47.
3. Norway (100.90)
Another Scandinavian country to end up in the top ten highest cost of living in the world rankings is Norway. The average four-person family in Norway would pay $4,163.44 for all of their essentials, excluding rent. A single person in Norway would spend around $1,158.28 per month without rent.
Accessing a one-person apartment in Norway is quite affordable, at $1,076.34 per month in the city center and $870.42 per month beyond the city center. Norway also has a fantastic average monthly wage, at around $3,406.80.
2. Switzerland (123.35)
The second most expensive country in our global cost of living comparison is Switzerland. The cost of living in Switzerland is about 82.02% higher than it is in the United Kingdom. A family of four will spend around $5,383.74 on living expenses without rent. A single person will spend approximately $1,492.26 on living costs without rent.
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment is quite high in Switzerland too. The average person will spend $1,688.80 for an apartment within the city center and $1,315.30 for an apartment beyond the city center. However, the average wage is also around $6,003.11 per month.
1. Bermuda (146.04)
Bermuda has the highest cost of living worldwide. As of 2022, a family of four would spend around $6,896.48 to live in Bermuda without rent costs. A single person would spend an average of $1,567 without rent.
The cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Bermuda is notoriously high. In the city center, you can spend an average of $3,390 per month, whereas, beyond the city center, the average cost is $2,207.42 per month. The average monthly income, however, is around $6,270.96.