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The 15 Cheapest and Most Expensive Countries to Live in 2024

Do you want to start a new life in a different country but don’t know where? These are the 15 cheapest and most expensive countries to live in.

best countries for expat

In times of economic crisis, we often think of moving to a different country for a better life. This is not an easy choice, though, and for several reasons. Leaving behind friends, family, and everything we know is challenging. There are a lot of things to consider. For example, how about the cost of living? Will it be lower or higher than in my country? In a previous post, I talked extensively about leaving everything behind and changing life (like I did). There, you’ll find some helpful information to take this important step.

Everyone has to decide according to their circumstances. Still, if you want more data that will allow you to understand which are the cheapest and most expensive countries to live in, then Numbeo is an excellent website. It has a vast and constantly updated database with data about the cost of living, crime, pollution, and much more from almost all the countries in the world.

The ranking is calculated considering the average price for food, transport, restaurants, bills, rent, etc. The reference data is the city of New York, to which 100 points are assigned. If a city or a country has, for example, a score of 90 points, it means that it’s cheaper than New York. More than 100 points indicate cities or nations that are more expensive than New York.

As these data are about countries and not cities, keep in mind that even if the average score of a nation is high, some cities in that country may not be that expensive.

This ranking only gives a general idea of the cost of living. Furthermore, the cost of living is only one of the factors to be taken into consideration before moving abroad. One thing that is very important to me is the level of pollution (here is the ranking of the most polluted cities in the world), the climate during the year, the quality of the health care system, and the local purchasing power.

This last factor shows how good life is for local people.

Poorer countries tend to have a very low purchasing power. If you travel there, you’ll have the impression that life is cheap, but it could be VERY expensive if you work as a local. This changes if you have special skills, but you get what I mean.

This being said, this is the ranking. Below is an infographic I prepared to summarize the results (you can find the interactive page here).

Cost of Living 2024

The 15 most expensive countries to live in 2024

  1. Bermuda
  2. Switzerland
  3. Cayman Islands
  4. US Virgin Islands
  5. Bahamas
  6. Iceland
  7. Singapore
  8. Norway
  9. Barbados
  10. Denmark
  11. United States
  12. Jersey
  13. Australia
  14. Hong Kong
  15. Canada

The 15 cheapest countries to live in 2024

yurt camp kyrgyzstan
  1. Pakistan
  2. Nigeria
  3. Libya
  4. India
  5. Afghanistan
  6. Kenya
  7. Bangladesh
  8. Syria
  9. Madagascar
  10. Rwanda
  11. Tanzania
  12. Ghana
  13. Uzbekistan
  14. Nepal
  15. Iran

Some highlights about this ranking:

  • The most expensive country in the world in 2024 is Bermuda, probably due to high import duties.
  • Bermuda also ranks first in the Cost of Living Plus Rent Index, Groceries Index, Restaurant Index and the Rent Index.
  • Taking only into consideration the local purchasing power, the ranking changes a lot, and the first five countries with the highest purchasing power are the Isle of Man, Luxembourg, Qatar, Kuwait and Switzerland.
  • Five European countries are in the top ten, and Italy (my country) is 32nd.
  • Singapore ranks first among the Asian countries; as I wrote here, it’s always among the most expensive countries on that continent.
  • The cheapest country in the world to live in in 2024 is Pakistan.
  • Pakistan also ranks the cheapest country in the Cost of Living Plus Rent Index, Restaurant Index, Groceries Index, and Rent Index.
  • Taking only into consideration the local purchasing power, the ranking changes a lot, and the five countries with the lowest purchasing power are Cuba, Syria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
  • Belarus is currently the cheapest European country to live in.

The cost of living in China


China (here’s my travel guide) ranks about halfway: 98th place. Since I’ve been living in this country for a while now, I can confirm that China is certainly not among the most expensive countries in the world IF you are an expat (so you are paid way more than the average Chinese salary). Considering only the local purchasing power, China has a similar cost of living as Italy.

But the prices are high if you consider individual cities like Beijing, Shanghai, or Shenzhen. To give you an idea, rent in downtown Beijing (about 80) is around 2000€ per month, and usually, rents in China are paid 3 months at a time (in some cities 6 months at a time).

If you move to a province like Guizhou, rents in its capital, Guiyang, are 5 times lower. So, the difference between cities in China is much more pronounced than in other countries, although the gap is closing rapidly.

In the next few years, China will undoubtedly rise higher in the ranking of the most expensive countries to live in, but it is still a good place for the few expats left. For example, there are reports of teaching jobs in Beijing (for certified teachers) offering about 35000RMB (5000$) per month. This is due to the large number of qualified expats who have left the countries in the last few months due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

What’s the cheapest country you’ve been to? And the most expensive one? Let me know in the comments.

If you’re thinking about changing your life, here are some ideas for becoming a digital nomad and supporting your trips by selling your pictures. Here are my tips on what to see and what to do in Singapore, one of the world’s most expensive and beautiful cities.

7 thoughts on “The 15 Cheapest and Most Expensive Countries to Live in 2024”

  1. Bint e Hawa

    Similar opinion for Pakistan. It is not a cheap country .
    It expensive comperitive to salaries . Cooking oil 1 liter is about 600 Rs/- . Before COVID it was only 170 Rs/- . Chicken is 700 per kg , mutton 15000 per kg and beef 600 per kg .Everything has raised to 4 times and salaries are same . A factory worker get 20,000 k /- . A private primary school teacher can earn 15,000 Rs /- . While having a family of 6-7 on average. In most families single person is earning and all are there to eat . Then its most difficult to survive .

    1. That’s why you should check also the purchasing power. As clearly stated, the index tracks the costs based on New York. It’s quite common for poorer countries to have a very low purchasing power thus being quite expensive for local people.

      1. Hi when can you start your YouTube Channel and feature your experience there?♡

  2. भारत भक्त

    My opinion is india is not in cheapest country of world as here all forgen brands as very expensive than other countries,for example Kawasaki Ninja H2 it’s price in india is ₹3600000 where in Dubai it’s of ₹1800000
    Comparetivly india is much expensive country to live.

    1. Luxury items don’t really represent the cost of living. In fact, they actually tend to be more expensive in poorer countries.

      1. shlok jain

        true, india is a poor country as im an 18 year old indian working for united states based companies, as a graphic designer and an illustrator. so i can say this that my monthly income of 2000$ isnt considered much for u guys living in italy or united states. my monthy rent for a spacious 2BHK house is like 650$ per month which would rented out for atleast 1800$ to 2500$ in US or maybe more, idk. but when i talk to guys living out there in states or europe, then i come to know beneficial is it to live in a country where dollar is so strong

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