How Much Does it Cost to Live Around the World in 2024?

How Much Does it Cost to Live Around the World in 2024?

Curious to know what is the cost of living in various countries around the world these days? The just released Numbeo Cost of Living Index for Mid-Year 2024 is a great indicator of the relative costs of living across 121 countries, including a helpful breakdown by the cost of rent, groceries, restaurants and purchasing power.

This data-driven analysis will explore the key trends and insights revealed by this ranking. 

Cost of Living Ranking by Continent

Looking at the top 20 countries in the overall ranking, we see a diverse representation from multiple continents:

Europe: 9 countries (Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Ireland, Finland, Netherlands, Germany)
North America: 2 countries (United States, Canada)
Oceania: 2 countries (Australia, New Zealand)
Asia: 5 countries (Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel, South Korea, Japan)
South America: 2 countries (Bahamas, Barbados)

This indicates that the most expensive places to live tend to be concentrated in Europe, with a strong presence also in Asia and Oceania. North America has two representatives in the top 20, while South America has only two. At the other end of the spectrum, in the bottom 20 countries, we see a greater representation from Africa, Asia, and South America:

Africa: 7 countries (Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana, Uganda)
Asia: 7 countries (Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India)
South America: 4 countries (Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador)
Europe: 2 countries (Moldova, Ukraine)

In other words, the least expensive places to live are more concentrated in the developing regions of the world, particularly in Africa and Asia.

In the middle of the ranking, we see a mix of countries from Europe, North America, and South America, with a few representatives from other continents as well. This indicates that the “average” cost of living tends to be more evenly distributed globally.

The Most Expensive Countries to Live In

The top 5 most expensive countries to live in according to the Numbeo Cost of Living Index are:

Switzerland (101.1)
Bahamas (85.0)
Iceland (83.0)
Singapore (76.7)
Barbados (76.6)

Switzerland’s position at the top is not surprising, as it is known for its high standard of living, strong economy, and robust social welfare system. The country’s cost of living index of 101.1 indicates that it is approximately 1% more expensive than the global average.

The presence of the Bahamas and Barbados in the top 5 is more unexpected, as they are small island nations. However, these countries are popular tourist destinations, which can drive up the cost of living, particularly in areas like housing, groceries, and dining out.

Iceland’s inclusion in the top 3 is likely due to its remote location, limited natural resources, and reliance on imports, all of which contribute to higher prices for consumers.

Singapore’s ranking as the 4th most expensive country is a reflection of its status as a global financial hub and its limited land area, which drives up the cost of housing and other essential goods.

Cost of Living in the United States vs. the World

The United States ranks 9th in the overall Cost of Living Index, with a score of 70.4. This places it in the top 10 most expensive countries to live in globally.When compared to some of the most developed European countries, the U.S. has a higher overall cost of living than Germany (21st, 62.2), France (15th, 63.7), and the United Kingdom (22nd, 62.0). However, it is less expensive than Switzerland (1st, 101.1), Iceland (3rd, 83.0), Norway (6th, 76.0), and Denmark (7th, 72.3).In terms of specific cost of living categories:

Rent Index

United States: 41.7
Switzerland: 46.5
Germany: 24.4
France: 21.0
United Kingdom: 31.1

The U.S. has higher rental costs than Germany, France, and the U.K., but lower than Switzerland.

Groceries Index

United States: 75.0
Switzerland: 109.1
Germany: 60.8
France: 69.5
United Kingdom: 56.9

The U.S. has lower grocery costs than Switzerland, but higher than Germany, France, and the U.K.

Restaurant Price Index

United States: 67.2
Switzerland: 97.0
Germany: 52.8
France: 56.3
United Kingdom: 62.7

The U.S. has higher restaurant prices than Germany and France, but lower than Switzerland and the U.K.

Local Purchasing Power Index

United States: 142.3
Switzerland: 158.7
Germany: 120.2
France: 102.4
United Kingdom: 115.2

The U.S. has a higher purchasing power than Germany, France, and the U.K., but lower than Switzerland.

While the U.S. is one of the most expensive countries to live in globally, it is not the most expensive when compared to some of the wealthiest European nations. The U.S. offers a balance of high purchasing power and relatively lower costs in certain categories compared to its European counterparts.

Cost of Living in European Countries vs. the World

Looking at the top 20 countries in the Numbeo Cost of Living Index, we see a strong European presence, with 9 countries represented. These include:

Switzerland (1st)
Iceland (3rd)
Norway (6th)
Denmark (7th)
Austria (11th)
Ireland (14th)
Finland (17th)
Netherlands (18th)
Germany (21st)

When compared to the United States, which ranks 9th, several of these European countries are more expensive to live in, such as Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark. These countries tend to have higher costs across various categories, including rent, groceries, and dining out.

On the other hand, there are also European countries that are less expensive than the United States, such as Austria, Ireland, Finland, and Germany. These countries often have a lower cost of living, particularly in areas like housing and utilities.

Leaders in Cost of Living by Category

The Index also provides data on specific cost of living categories, allowing us to identify the most expensive countries in each area.

Rent Index

The countries with the highest rent index are:

Switzerland (46.5)
Singapore (67.2)
United States (41.7)
Ireland (42.3)
Luxembourg (40.5)

Switzerland, Singapore, and the United States have the highest rental costs among the countries surveyed.

Groceries Index

The countries with the highest groceries index are:

Switzerland (109.1)
Iceland (88.4)
Bahamas (81.6)
Hong Kong (84.6)
Japan (53.7)

Switzerland, Iceland, and the Bahamas have the most expensive grocery costs, while Hong Kong and Japan also rank highly in this category.

Restaurant Price Index

The countries with the highest restaurant price index are:

Switzerland (97.0)
Iceland (86.8)
Barbados (69.4)
Ireland (65.3)
Belgium (66.0)

Switzerland, Iceland, and Barbados have the most expensive dining out experiences, while Ireland and Belgium also rank highly in this category.

Countries with High Purchasing Power

The report also includes a “Local Purchasing Power Index,” which measures the relative purchasing power of a country’s residents. A higher index indicates that residents have more purchasing power and can afford more with their income.

The countries with the highest purchasing power index are:

Luxembourg (182.5)
Switzerland (158.7)
Qatar (161.1)
Kuwait (161.8)
United Arab Emirates (127.9)

These countries, particularly Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the Gulf states, have residents with significantly higher purchasing power compared to the global average. This means that their residents can afford to purchase more goods and services with their income, despite the relatively high cost of living in these countries.

Best Countries for Living in Europe

Based on the Numbeo Cost of Living Index for Mid-Year 2024, several European countries emerge as attractive options for those seeking a high standard of living at a reasonable cost:

Austria: With a cost of living index of 65.1 and a local purchasing power index of 102.4, Austria offers a balance of affordability and economic prosperity.
Germany: Ranking 21st with a cost of living index of 62.2 and a local purchasing power index of 120.2, Germany provides a relatively low-cost option among major European economies.
Ireland: Despite a higher cost of living index of 64.4, Ireland’s local purchasing power index of 101.1 suggests that residents can still enjoy a comfortable standard of living.

These countries, along with others in the middle of the overall ranking, present compelling options for those seeking a high-quality lifestyle without the extreme costs associated with the most expensive destinations.

The post How Much Does it Cost to Live Around the World in 2024? appeared first on My Dolce Casa.

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