What Are the Most Expensive Countries in the World?

Most Expensive CountriesWhat are world’s most expensive countries to visit? Which country is the most expensive country in the world?

You might think that living in the United States can be very expensive, but I have news for you: the United States doesn’t even rank in the top 20 of the world’s top expensive countries. You’ll probably be even more surprised when you find out what the most expensive country is.

With the rise in the U.S. dollar (USD) against the world’s currencies over the past year, now may be a better time than ever to consider traveling to one of the world’s most expensive countries to visit.

So what are the most expensive countries in the world?

The following is a list of the world’s top expensive countries. All data were collected from Numbeo, a web site that crowd-sources the prices of goods around the world. The cost of living in each country is measured against a base of 100, which represents New York City. If a country’s consumer price index is 120 for example, that means it’s 20% more expensive to live there than New York City. The list also includes indices for rent, groceries, and restaurants.

Curious to see which countries made the list? Let’s take a look.

10. Hong Kong

Consumer Price Index: 81.48

Rent Index: 82.57

Groceries Index: 88.80

Restaurant Index: 50.73

Hong Kong has always been perceived as an expensive place to live. After all, there are about seven million people jammed into an area that is only 424 square miles. When there’s not much room to build houses, the only way to go is up. But even that has its limits. The recent selling price for a 180-square-foot apartment was US$516,000. Per square foot, it’s about 11 times more expensive to buy an apartment in Hong Kong than in the U.S.

Hong Kong’s currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar, so the rise in the USD has seen the relative cost of living in Hong King increase over the past year, with high rents pushing up retail prices.

The average price of a liter of milk costs US$2.76 (compared to $0.94 in the U.S.) and a gallon of gasoline is nearly three times more expensive in Hong Kong than in the U.S. What about a pair of Levi’s jeans? They’ll cost you twice as much in Hong Kong.

9. Kuwait

Consumer Price Index: 81.62

Rent Index: 38.26

Groceries Index: 96.13

Restaurant Index: 46.01

Oil-rich Kuwait has the world’s sixth-largest oil reserves. The Kuwaiti dinar (KWD) is the highest valued currency in the world. At the current exchange rate, one USD will net you only 0.30 KWD. Even with the recent rise of the U.S. dollar, everything in Kuwait is about three times more expensive.

8. Luxembourg

Consumer Price Index: 81.62

Rent Index: 48.87

Groceries Index: 69.16

Restaurant Index: 90.33

Luxembourg is a small country surrounded by Belgium, France, and Germany. It’s so small, in fact, that within 30 minutes, you’ll hit the border of another country. It’s best known as a center for investment management.

The average McDonald’s combo meal costs US$9.36, while one gallon of milk will cost you US$4.50, Levi’s jeans will cost you US$90.03, while a one-bedroom apartment in the city’s center will cost you US$1,336.44 a month.

With prices like that, if you ever chose to live in Luxembourg, it would be wise to save money on big-ticket items by traveling to a neighboring country.

7. Singapore

Consumer Price Index: 83.67

Rent Index: 73.88

Groceries Index: 75.83

Restaurant Index: 53.75

Singapore is a wealthy city-state in southeast Asia. Singapore gained independence in 1965 and has since soared to become a global financial hub. It was dubbed as one of the “Asian Tigers” for its explosive economic growth from the 1960s to the turn of the century.

It’s densely populated, which is a contributing factor to its high cost of living. An apartment in the city center goes for US$2,196.

Other factors include the city-state’s strong currency, expensive automobile costs, and soaring utility bills. Owning a car in Singapore has become so expensive, due to high fees attached to related certificates of entitlements, that most middle-income households can’t afford a car. And no wonder—a Volkswagen “Golf” costs $21,497 in the U.S., but in Singapore, that same car will cost you US$91,769.

6. Denmark

Consumer Price Index: 84.88

Rent Index: 30.83

Groceries Index: 69.20

Restaurant Index: 97.88

Denmark usually ranks among the top countries in standard of living and frequently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world. Denmark can also boast having high levels of social mobility, income equality, and one of the highest per-capita incomes.

But all these perks come with one consequence: having one of the highest personal income tax rates in the world. Last year, the Danes in the lowest tax bracket had 29.68% of their personal income taken by the government, while the highest tax bracket paid the government 51.95% of their incomes.

Denmark’s high tax burden also has the effect of jacking up prices of basic products. In Denmark, you’ll be paying 46% more for a McDonald’s combo meal, 73% more for a “Coke” or “Pepsi,” and a pair of Levi’s jeans will cost you US$106.63, which is about 150% more than in the U.S.

5. Iceland

Consumer Price Index: 96.45

Rent Index: 35.45

Groceries Index: 91.40

Restaurant Index: 98.82

Iceland is a remote North Atlantic island with a population of only 323,000. The island’s remoteness means that the country has to import most products. As a result, the country is susceptible to swings in exchange rates.

A McDonald’s combo meal is 46% more in Iceland versus in the U.S., while a Coke or Pepsi is about 73% more. A gallon of gasoline and a pair of Levi’s jeans are about 150% more expensive.

4. Norway

Consumer Price Index: 99.80

Rent Index: 37.04

Groceries Index: 93.27

Restaurant Index: 110.77

Like Denmark, Norway is one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world, accounting for about 45% of Norway’s gross domestic product (GDP). That is about four times more than Hong Kong and almost twice as much as the U.S.

Of course, this is passed on to the price of its products. A McDonald’s combo meal is about 65% more expensive than in the U.S., while a bottle of water, domestic beer, and milk cost more than twice as much. For a gallon of gasoline, be prepared to pay about 163% more.

3. Bahamas

Consumer Price Index: 107.54

Rent Index: 38.21

Groceries Index: 107.12

Restaurant Index: 88.43

The Bahamas is a cluster of about 700 islands, attracting millions of tourists from around the world every year. It has become a major center for offshore finance and has one of the world’s highest shipping fleets.

Most goods have to be imported. There are also customs charges that contribute to the high prices. Milk and a head of lettuce are about two-and-a-half times more expensive in the Bahamas than in the U.S., while utilities are about 164% more expensive.

2. Switzerland

Consumer Price Index: 123.10

Rent Index: 55.14

Groceries Index: 123.86

Restaurant index: 119.14.

Switzerland has one of the highest minimum wages in the world. The country does not have a minimum wage law, but unions have collective bargaining agreements with management. It is not uncommon to see minimum wages in Switzerland as high as US$25.00 per hour.

Of course, the high wages affect prices for the country’s consumers. A McDonald’s combo meal is twice as expensive than in the U.S., water costs 145% more, one pound of round beef is nearly four times more expensive, and a pair of Levi’s costs nearly three times more.

1. Bermuda

Consumer Price Index: 133.68

Rent Index: 120.12

Groceries Index: 131.95

Restaurant Index: 121.27

The most expensive country to live in and visit in the world is Bermuda. It’s one of the most prosperous economies in the world, with more than 13,000 international companies making the country its home base.

Bermuda is also a small island, so it must import most products. Local companies tend to pass on high import costs to the consumer to cover costs.

A McDonald’s combo meal and a gallon of milk are about twice as expensive than in the U.S., gasoline is more than three times expensive, and a one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost, on average, about two-and-a-half times more than in the U.S.