The 10 Most Expensive Countries for Expats to Live 

Choosing a country to move abroad can be a daunting task. There are many variables to consider such as cost of living, climate, employment opportunities, visa requirements, language barriers, and foreign taxes. Day-to-day expenses can be a shock for many expats. By knowing which countries are the most costly, expats can prepare accordingly before arrival. Here is a list of the 10 most expensive countries when factoring in the cost of rent, groceries, restaurants, and other living expenses.


As a country in the middle of the EU but not a part of it, Switzerland is a sort of island. This increases the cost of importing and exporting as VAT must be applied. The higher cost of living – as well as a higher minimum wage – lead to higher rents in the nation.

World's Most Expensive Countries for Expats Norway

Oil in Norway has made the country very wealthy, trickling down to the cost of everyday items. Foreigners may be surprised to see the relatively high cost of basic goods in the country.




As an island with a primary industry of tourism to wealthy travelers, Bermuda's cost of living is shockingly more than triple of U.S. and 280% more than Canada, and 200% more than UK. Real estate and clothing are very expensive in Bermuda.


Almost two-thirds of Aussies live in cities of one million residents or more, housing is expensive. Australians also pay much more for electronics and digital goods because of policies that restrict access to digital content based on location. Expensive transportation costs get passed on to the consumer for imported goods. Higher wages also translate to a higher cost of living in Australia.


Denmark’s high tax rates – often 41 percent of an item’s price will go to the Danish government through sales tax and corporate tax. In order for businesses to pay their expenses, such as employee wages, the government must charge a higher price on Danish goods.

Most Expensive Countries to Live Abroad Sweden

Housing is particularly expensive in Sweden. Many recommend putting aside at least 30% of your income for housing. The standards of living are high in and around Stockholm, one of the primary expat destinations. Groceries and restaurants are somewhat expensive, as is clothing. Alcohol is sold by a government-run monopoly, making it more expensive than other countries.


Japan has over 127 million people living in an area that’s smaller than California. This leads to predictably high housing prices. A complex distribution system for goods, as well as the cultural acceptance of high prices, can shock expats living in Japan. Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world – an average price for a loaf of bread is $9.06. Other Japanese cities are similarly expensive.

Most Expensive Places to Live Finland

The cost of living in Finland depends greatly on whether you live in Helsinki or not. Helsinki is one of the world’s most expensive cities. Because Finland is geographically isolated, food is very expensive, too.


Many expats report groceries to be very expensive in Luxembourg. Housing prices are also high, though living outside the city is more affordable. Private schools are very expensive, adding to the cost of having a family.


Surprising to some, Canada has a higher cost of living than Britain and is about 18% higher than the United States. This is because Canada has one of the most overvalued real estate markets in the world. Canadian government policies have helped reduce credit card and personal debt, allowing Canadians to afford housing, even if it is overvalued.

Best Paid Expat Jobs in the World

In order to afford the high cost of living in these countries, finding top-paying jobs can be very useful. Transferable skills and portable jobs give expats the flexibility to live anywhere in the world comfortably. These jobs are in high demand and often require highly sought after technical skills. Read the full article to find out the top 3 best paying expat jobs.  

Best Paid Expat Jobs

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