What Are the Most Expensive Countries in the World?

Most Expensive CountriesCountries with the Highest Costs

What are the world’s most expensive countries to visit?

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.

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 includes indices for rent, groceries, and restaurants.

Which country is the most expensive country in the world? 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
10 Singapore 88.07 66.99 81.34 61.40
9 Israel 88.56 34.08 76.08 96.06
8 Japan 89.50 25.56 97.32 49.61
7 U.S. Virgin Islands 93.06 48.83 91.32 81.82
6 Denmark 93.27 37.55 74.12 113.18
5 Bahamas 109.37 37.55 109.34 94.59
4 Norway 112.75 39.53 108.35 124.05
3 Iceland 130.79 53.62 127.65 140.48
2 Switzerland 138.16 56.01 145.50 132.81
1 Bermuda 150.38 109.10 149.89 151.90


10. Singapore

SingaporeCost of Living Index: 88.07

Rent Index: 66.99

Groceries Index: 81.34

Restaurant Index: 61.40

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 $2,166.00.

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, which most middle-income households can’t afford a car. And no wonder; a Volkswagen “Golf” costs $21,835.00 in the U.S., but that same car costs $88,600.97 in Singapore. (Source: “Cost of Living in Singapore,” Numbeo, last accessed August 29, 2017.)

9. Israel

IsraelCost of Living Index: 88.56

Rent Index: 34.08

Groceries Index: 76.08

Restaurant Index: 96.06

The State of Israel is a country in the Middle East. The country is flourishing due to its advancement in technology and its rapid economic development policies. Its size is relatively small, but it ranks among the top nations in terms of economic output, global competitiveness, and a high-skilled workforce.

If you ever want to visit or live in Israel, know that it isn’t cheap. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment will cost you $1,031.98 in the city center. A gallon of gasoline will cost you $6.36, and a gallon of milk will cost you $5.94. (Source: “Cost of Living in Israel,” Numbeo, last accessed August 29, 2017.)

8. Japan

japanCost of Living Index: 89.50

Rent Index: 25.56

Groceries Index: 97.32

Restaurant Index: 49.61

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 standard pair of “Levi’s” jeans are about $67.05; in the U.S., they are only $41.39. It’s going to cost you even more in Japan than in the U.S. to buy gasoline and a car. (Source: “Cost of Living in Japan,” Numbeo, last accessed August 29, 2017.)

7. U.S. Virgin Islands

us-virgin-islandsCost of Living Index: 93.06

Rent Index: 48.38

Groceries Index: 91.32

Restaurant Index: 81.82

The U.S. Virgin Islands is a group of islands in the Caribbean located just 40 miles east of Puerto Rico. Tourism is their primary source of economic activity, with roughly 50% of the workforce employed by this segment. Most, if not all, products consumed there need to be imported from abroad, which is a contributing factor to the high cost of living on these Islands. The largest contributing factor is the cost of food. A loaf of bread will cost you $4.47, while a three-course meal for two at a mid-tier restaurant will cost around $65.00. (Source: “Cost of Living in the Us Virgin Islands,” Numbeo, last accessed August 29 4, 2017.)

6. Denmark

denmarkCost of Living Index: 93.27

Rent Index: 37.55

Groceries Index: 74.12

Restaurant Index: 113.18

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 the consequence of having one of the highest personal income tax rates in the world.

Denmark’s high tax burden also has the effect of jacking up prices of basic products. In Denmark, you’ll be paying $11.27 for a “McDonald’s” combo meal, $3.31 for a “Coke” or “Pepsi,” and $110.82 for a pair of Levi’s jeans. (Source: “Cost of Living in Denmark,” Numbeo, last accessed August 29, 2017.)

5. Bahamas

BahamasCost of Living Index: 109.37

Rent Index: 37.55

Groceries Index: 109.34

Restaurant Index: 94.59

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 August 29, 2017.)

4. Norway

NorwayCost of Living Index: 112.75

Rent Index: 39.53

Groceries Index: 108.35

Restaurant Index: 124.05

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 United States.

Of course, this is passed on to the price of its products. A McDonald’s combo meal is about $12.86, compared to $7.00 in the U.S.; a bottle of water, domestic beer, or milk cost more than twice as much as in the United States. For a gallon of gasoline, be prepared to pay about 160% more. (Source: “Cost of Living in Norway,” Numbeo, last accessed August 29, 2017.)

3. Iceland

IcelandCost of Living Index: 130.79

Rent Index: 53.62

Groceries Index: 127.65

Restaurant Index: 140.48

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, Iceland is susceptible to swings in exchange rates.

A McDonald’s combo meal will cost you $15.23, versus just $7.00 in the U.S.; a Coke or Pepsi will cost you $2.75 for an 11.2-ounce bottle. A gallon of gasoline costs $7.08 and a pair of Levi’s jeans costs $155.79. (Source: “Cost of Living in Iceland,” Numbeo, last accessed August 29, 2017.)

2. Switzerland

SwitzerlandCost of Living Index: 138.16

Rent Index: 56.01

Groceries Index: 145.5

Restaurant index: 132.81

Switzerland has one of the highest minimum wages in the world. The country does not have a minimum wage law, but unions have collective bargained 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.; one pound of beef round is nearly four times more expensive; and a pair of Levi’s jeans costs nearly three times more. (Sources: “Cost of Living in United States” and “Cost of Living in Switzerland,” Numbeo, last accessed August 29, 2017.)

1. Bermuda

BermudaCost of Living Index: 150.38

Rent Index: 109.10

Groceries Index: 149.89

Restaurant Index: 151.9

The most expensive country to live in and to 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 a small island, so it must import most products. Local companies pass on the high import costs to the consumer.

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 United States. (Source: “Cost of Living in Bermuda,” Numbeo, last accessed August 29, 2017.)