Do you want to start a new life in a different country but you don’t know where? These are the 15 cheapest and most expensive countries to live in 2020.
In times of economic crisis we often think of moving to a different country in search of a better life. This is not an easy choice though for several reasons. Leaving behind friends, family, and everything that we know is a challenge. 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?
Everyone has to decide according to its own circumstances but if you want to have some more data that will allow you to understand which are the cheapest and most expensive countries to live in then Numbeo is a very good website. It has a very huge and constantly updated database with data about the cost of living, crime, pollution, and much more from pretty much 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 70 points, it means that on average it is 30% cheaper than New York. More than 100 points indicate cities or nations which 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 still not be that expensive or vice versa.
This ranking only gives a general idea of the cost of living though. Furthermore, the cost of living is only one of the factors to be taken into account before moving abroad. One thing that is very important to me is the level of pollution (here the ranking of the most polluted cities in the world), the climate during the year and the quality of the health care system in the country.
This being said, this is the ranking:
The 15 most expensive countries to live in 2020
- 1- Switzerland
- 2- Norway
- 3- Iceland
- 4- Japan
- 5- Denmark
- 6- Bahamas
- 7- Luxembourg
- 8- Israel
- 9- Singapore
- 10- South Korea
- 11- Hong Kong
- 12- Barbados
- 13- Ireland
- 14- France
- 15- Netherlands
The most expensive country in the world to live in 2020 is Switzerland. Interestingly the United States is not among the 15 most expensive countries to live in. In fact, they rank only in 20th place. Four European countries are in the top five places and Italy (my country) is in 28th place. Singapore is in second place among the Asian countries and as I wrote here it is always among the most expensive countries to live in that continent.
Despite the crisis in Hong Kong in the last year, this small state it’s still the place where rents are the most expensive in the world.
The 15 cheapest countries to live in 2020
- 15- Uganda
- 14- Algeria
- 13- Azerbaijan
- 12- Egypt
- 11- Nepal
- 10- Georgia
- 9- Kosovo (Disputed Territory)
- 8- Venezuela
- 7- Tunisia
- 6- Kyrgyzstan
- 5- Uzbekistan
- 4- Syria
- 3- India
- 2- Afghanistan
- 1- Pakistan
The cheapest country in the world to live in 2020 is a bit surprising, Pakistan. I say surprisingly because there are no wars and I would have expected to see some African nations in the last few places, but this is not the case. The cheapest country to rent a house in Afghanistan (for obvious reasons 😅).
The cost of living in China
China (here’s my travel guide) is in the second half of the ranking, in the 80th place. Since I’ve been living in this country for a while now, I can confirm that at the moment China is certainly not among the most expensive countries in the world.
But if you consider individual cities like Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzhen the prices are really high. To give you an idea, rent in downtown Beijing (about 80sqm) 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 the 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 certainly rise higher in the ranking of the most expensive countries to live in, but for the moment it is a great place for expats.
What was the cheapest country you’ve been to? And the most expensive? 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 my tips on what to see and what to do in Singapore, one of the most expensive and most beautiful cities in the world.