What Are the Most Expensive Countries in the World?

Most Expensive CountriesWhat are the 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 U.S. doesn’t even rank in the top 20 of the world’s most 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 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.

The following is a list of the world’s most expensive countries. All of the data was 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 in 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.

List of Most Expensive Countries in the World:

Rank Country Cost of Living Index Rent Index Groceries Index Restaurant Index
1 Bermuda 140.31 107.42 133.66 140.06
2 Switzerland 125.67 59.58 122.56 123.98
3 The Bahamas 106.32 38.53 98.91 97.74
4 Norway 104.26 41.25 94.2 118.75
5 Iceland 99.69 42.79 89.26 110.28
6 Japan 93.03 33.48 96.7 53.71
7 Singapore 87.83 81.19 76.21 61.85
8 Denmark 84.38 34.83 64.35 101.02
9 New Zealand 81.53 34.93 71.91 82.18
10 Luxembourg 81.46 50.49 66.01 93.38

10. Luxembourg

Cost of Living Index: 81.46

Rent Index: 50.49

Groceries Index: 66.01

Restaurant Index: 93.38

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$9.46 while one gallon of milk costs $4.57. Levi’s jeans will cost you $79.86 while a one-bedroom apartment in the city’s center will cost you $1,453.73 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. (Source: “Cost of Living in Luxembourg,” Numbeo, last accessed October 4, 2016.)

9. New Zealand

Cost of Living Index: 81.53

Rent Index: 34.93

Groceries Index: 71.91

Restaurant Index: 82.18

New Zealand is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country’s closest neighbor is Australia. The country is heavily dependent on exports of agriculture products, which make up a substantial part of New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP).

If you ever want to visit or live in New Zealand, know that it isn’t cheap. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment will cost you $975.41 in the city center; a gallon of gasoline will cost you $5.02, and a gallon of milk will cost you $6.91. (Source: “Cost of Living in New Zealand,” Numbeo, last accessed October 4, 2016.)

8. Denmark

Cost of Living Index: 84.38

Rent Index: 34.83

Groceries Index: 64.35

Restaurant Index: 101.02

Denmark usually ranks among the top countries in standard of living and it frequently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world. Denmark also boasts 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, Danes in the lowest tax bracket had 29.68% of their personal income taken by the government, while those in 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 $10.48 for a McDonald’s combo meal, $2.89 for a “Coke” or “Pepsi,” and $106.08 for a pair of Levi’s jeans. (Source: “Cost of Living in Denmark,” Numbeo, last accessed October 4, 2016.)

7. Singapore

Cost of Living Index: 87.83

Rent Index: 81.19

Groceries Index: 76.21

Restaurant Index: 61.85

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 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. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center goes for $2,178.17.

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 $22,000 in the U.S., but in Singapore, that same car costs $87,718.21. (Source: “Cost of Living in Singapore,” Numbeo, last accessed October 4, 2016.)

6. Japan

Cost of Living Index: 93.03

Rent Index: 33.48

Groceries Index: 96.70

Restaurant Index: 53.71

Japan is one of the biggest economic powers in East Asia, and it has the third-biggest economy in the world after the United States and China. Over the past several years, the country has been having problems showing growth. The Japanese central bank and the government are working very hard to induce growth but, sadly, nothing seems to be working. Despite this, the cost of living in the country remains very high. If you are thinking about traveling there, extra cash could be really helpful.

In Japan, a pair of Levi’s jeans would cost you about $73.90. In the U.S., they only cost $42.02. It’s going to cost you even more to buy gasoline and a car. (Source: “Cost of Living in Japan,” Numbeo, last accessed October 4, 2016.)

5. Iceland

Cost of Living Index: 99.69

Rent Index: 42.79

Groceries Index: 89.26

Restaurant Index: 110.28

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 will cost you $13.59, versus just $7.00 in the U.S.; a Coke or Pepsi will cost you $2.49 for an 11.2-ounce bottle. A gallon of gasoline costs $4.75 and a pair of Levi’s jeans costs $156.08. (Source: “Cost of Living in Iceland,” Numbeo, last accessed October 4, 2016.)

4. Norway

Cost of Living Index: 104.26

Rent Index: 41.25

Groceries Index: 94.20

Restaurant Index: 118.75

Like Denmark, Norway is one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world, accounting for about 45% of Norway’s 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 $12.50, compared to $7.00 in the U.S.; a bottle of water, domestic beer, or milk cost more than twice as much. For a gallon of gasoline, be prepared to pay about 160% more. (Source: “Cost of Living in Norway,” Numbeo, last accessed October 4, 2016.)

3. The Bahamas

Cost of Living Index: 106.32

Rent Index: 38.53

Groceries Index: 98.91

Restaurant Index: 97.74

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 biggest shipping fleets.

Most goods have to be imported, and there are 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 150% more expensive. (Source: “Cost of Living in Bahamas,” Numbeo, last accessed October 4, 2016.)

2. Switzerland

Cost of Living Index: 125.67

Rent Index: 59.58

Groceries Index: 122.56

Restaurant index: 123.98.

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 $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 as in the U.S.; a small bottle of water costs $3.19, compared to just $1.38 in the U.S.; one pound of beef round is nearly four times more expensive; and a pair of Levi’s costs nearly three times more. (Sources: “Cost of Living in United States” and “Cost of Living in Switzerland,” Numbeo, last accessed October 4, 2016.)

1. Bermuda

Cost of Living Index: 140.31

Rent Index: 107.42

Groceries Index: 133.66

Restaurant Index: 140.06

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

A McDonald’s combo meal and a gallon of milk are about twice as expensive as in the U.S.; gasoline is more than three times more 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. (Source: “Cost of Living in Bermuda,” Numbeo, last accessed October 4, 2016.)