20 Countries Around the World With The Highest Cost of Living

20 Countries Around the World With The Highest Cost of Living

Understanding the cost of living in different parts of the world is a critical consideration for any prospective movers, international students, retirees, or those fascinated by global economic patterns. The cost of living can be an indicator of the standard of living in a country, the economic stability, and the strength of the local currency. It can also include many different factors like housing, food, taxes, healthcare, and education. However, it's important to note that it doesn’t always translate to a better quality of life. Let’s dive into the top 20 countries with the highest cost of living worldwide. 

1. Switzerland

Known for its stunning, picturesque natural landscapes, Switzerland is high on the list with one of the highest costs of living in the world. This is largely due to the high price of food and housing, coupled with substantial healthcare costs. However, it’s important to note that the country’s strong economy and high wages work to partially offset these expenses. Nevertheless, the standard of living remains high, reflecting the country’s robust economy and quality services.

ricardo-gomez-angel-58uZCE8zrdk-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

2. Norway

Norway, a Scandinavian country, boasts a high cost of living largely due to its strong welfare system. But despite the high taxes, Norwegians enjoy numerous benefits like universal healthcare and free education. Though the cost of housing, groceries, and entertainment can be rather steep, their higher wages and lower income equality make these costs manageable for many of its residents. 

michael-fousert-le5-z4ntctq-unsplash-1.jpgPhoto by Michael Fousert on Unsplash

3. Iceland

Another Nordic nation, Iceland has a high cost of living primarily due to its remote location and reliance on imports, leading to high costs for goods and services. Furthermore, housing prices have been on the rise, putting additional pressure on living costs. Despite all of this, the government still provides excellent healthcare and education services, contributing to a high quality of life. 

adam-jang-MLKrf51NV8w-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Adam Jang on Unsplash

4. Japan

The high cost of living in Japan, particularly in cities like Tokyo and Osaka, is driven mostly by high housing costs and expensive consumer goods. As a remote island, it makes it difficult for other countries around the world to engage with its economy and goods. However, the country’s public transportation, healthcare, and education systems are all first-rate. For some, high wages in urban areas also help to offset some of these high costs.

jase-bloor-oCZHIa1D4EU-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Jase Bloor on Unsplash


5. Denmark

Denmark, known for its high taxes, has a high cost of living, particularly in terms of housing, groceries, and dining. These taxes all go toward funding an extensive welfare system, including free healthcare and education. High wages and the Danish culture’s focus on work-life balance both contribute to a high standard of living, however.

adrian-cuj-SuwFvHU-z-o-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Adrian Cuj on Unsplash

6. Bahamas

The Bahamas, an island nation, is heavily reliant on imports, which raises the overall cost of goods and services in the country. Adding in high housing costs, particularly in tourist-heavy areas, further drives up the cost of living. But despite this, residents enjoy a high standard of living thanks to the country’s beautiful scenery and year-round good weather. 

fernando-jorge-rMaWin9-9Gk-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Fernando Jorge on Unsplash

7. Luxembourg

Luxembourg, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, has high living costs, especially in housing and personal care. With a growing population, the country is finding it harder to maintain, especially with the lack of housing. The country continues to provide high salaries and social benefits to its residents though, with the small nation’s robust economy and low unemployment rate contributing to a high standard of living. 

cedric-letsch-03O_BOsaXGk-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Cedric Letsch on Unsplash

8. Israel

Despite its small size, Israel is another country that has a surprisingly high cost of living. For this country, it’s primarily due to high housing and food prices. But despite these costs, Israel continues to have a strong economy and provides good public services to its citizens, including healthcare and education. The high-tech industry also offers competitive salaries, helping to offset the overall high cost of living. 

taylor-brandon-Y8r0RTNrIWM-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash

9. Singapore

Singapore’s high cost of living is mostly due to its pricey real estate, car ownership costs, and expensive imported goods. Though it’s expensive to live here, the city-state boasts an excellent public transport system, high-quality healthcare, and a fantastic education system. Moreover, the country’s strong economy offers high wages in various industries and sectors. 

mike-enerio-7ryPpZK1qV8-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

10. South Korea

South Korea, particularly in high-populated cities like Seoul, has a high cost of living driven by high housing prices and the cost of private education. In fact, it’s been stated that South Korea is arguably the most expensive country in the world to raise a child until the age of 18. However, the country offers an excellent infrastructure with high-quality healthcare and a strong job market, particularly in the areas of tech and entertainment industries.



11. Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s high cost of living primarily stems from its sky-high real estate prices and its abundance of residents. Additionally, dining, groceries, and transportation costs are no laughing matter. Even with costs this high, the city provides solid public services and infrastructure. Particularly in the areas of finance and technology, the government also provides high wages in an attempt to offset the cost of living.

ruslan-bardash-WMSvsWzhM0g-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Ruslan Bardash on Unsplash

12. Bermuda

As a remote island, it’s no surprise that Bermuda’s high cost of living is mainly due to its heavy reliance on imported goods. High housing costs, especially in touristy areas, also contribute to the cost of living. On the bright side, the island offers high wages, mainly in the insurance and financial services sector. And with such beautiful scenery and weather, it's hard to stay unhappy.

kino-0a17lg30MtY-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Kino on Unsplash

13. Australia

In cities like Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s high cost of living is mainly thanks to high housing costs and insecure employment. As food costs are growing to become more and more of a problem, the residents’ salaries are just simply not enough. Though the country offers quality healthcare and a great education system alongside beautiful landscapes and outdoor lifestyle, the growing cost of living is hard is ignore. 

caleb-jmuyblibro-unsplash-1.jpgPhoto by Caleb on Unsplash

14. New Zealand

Like Australia, New Zealand shares in having a high cost of living due to expensive housing, particularly in Auckland. With the country having a relatively isolated position in the world and a small population, importing goods can cost quite a bit more. Thankfully, the country’s beautiful natural landscapes combined with high-quality public services like healthcare and education, add to the quality of life for its residents. 

omer-faruk-bekdemir-5BuxuWIJF1Q-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Ömer Faruk Bekdemir on Unsplash

15. United Kingdom

The UK, specifically London, has a high cost of living due to high housing costs and expensive public transportation. The war in Ukraine has also led to higher commodity prices, increasing inflation in the country. However, it’s been stated that the country offers a high standard of living thanks to its free healthcare through the NHS and good public education. Despite Brexit, the UK economy remains strong and stable, providing ample job opportunities in various sectors. 

marcin-nowak-iXqTqC-f6jI-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Marcin Nowak on Unsplash

16. Finland

Finland’s cost of living is high, with expensive housing and high taxes. However, these taxes are used to fund extensive public services such as universal healthcare and high-quality education. Despite all these high costs, Finland still often ranks high in terms of happiness due to its excellent work-life balance and social security. 

tapio-haaja-bpDJvls-h-0-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Tapio Haaja on Unsplash


17. Ireland

Ireland shares the same issue as the rest of the countries on this list when it comes to pricey housing. Particularly in Dublin, they also face high costs for groceries and utilities. But with the country’s strong economy and high wages working well to offset these costs, the Irish generally enjoy a high standard of living and have access to various excellent public services. 

aldo-de-la-paz-d6u2_u02FIo-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Aldo De La Paz on Unsplash

18. Sweden

Sweden has a high cost of living, with expensive housing and high taxes. However, these taxes fund an excellent welfare system that includes healthcare, education, and social services. Sweden also boasts a robust economy, and Swedes enjoy a high standard of living with a strong focus on work-life balance. Although the country faces some shockingly high taxes, the citizen's receive extensive benefits that make it worth it in the end.

raphael-andres-3cwvFD-YPtk-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Raphael Andres on Unsplash

19. France

France, especially in Paris, has a high cost of living due to high prices for housing, utilities, and groceries. With a strict law limiting the height of buildings, the country continues to face housing issues. However, French citizens benefit from an excellent healthcare system, quality education, and a diverse job market. Despite the high costs, France's cultural richness and culinary traditions add to its residents' quality of life. Besides, can you really be unhappy living in the most "romantic" city in the world?rodrigo-kugnharski-pdWc5wm1STw-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Rodrigo Kugnharski on Unsplash

20. Belgium

Belgium rounds out this top 20 list thanks to its high costs for housing, healthcare, and education. Despite this, the country offers high wages, excellent public services, and a strong economy. Additionally, Belgium's central location in Europe provides its residents with unique travel and cultural opportunities, all working to promote a healthy standard of life. 

jorge-fernandez-salas-ntuDzybCpH0-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

While these 20 countries definitely have high costs of living, they also often offer high wages and quality public services which lead to a higher standard of living. Therefore, while the cost of living can be an indicator of economic strength and stability, it’s just one factor to consider when evaluating a country’s livability as a whole.