Most Expensive Countries

Name the world's most expensive countries, based on the ratio of prices levels to those of the United States.
For the year 2019, based on IMF data
No data for European microstates with a population below 50,000
HINT It's expensive to import things onto islands
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: May 2, 2020
First submittedMay 9, 2014
Times taken70,890
Rating4.04
4:00
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Ratio
Country
1.25
Switzerland
1.22
Iceland
1.12
Denmark
1.10
Vanuatu
1.08
Palau
1.08
Israel
1.04
F. S. Micronesia
Ratio
Country
1.04
Tuvalu
1.04
Finland
1.04
Norway
1.04
Luxembourg
1.03
Australia
1.03
Solomon Islands
1.02
Marshall Islands
Ratio
Country
1.02
New Zealand
1.01
Bahamas
1.00
United States
0.98
Sweden
0.96
Barbados
0.96
Austria
+7
Level 50
Jun 27, 2016
Dammit Barbados.
+20
Level 81
Feb 1, 2019
Dammit USA at 1.00.
+7
Level 45
Mar 12, 2019
Yeah same. I thought this was in relation to the usa
+21
Level 66
Aug 23, 2019
It is in relation to the US, that's why the US is at 1.00
+6
Level 45
Jun 27, 2016
The day that it got featured there was also a blog post on it as well haha
+24
Level 79
Jun 27, 2016
Wow that's crazy. Sort of like how Lou Gehrig died of Lou Gehrig's Disease. What are the odds!??
+2
Level 69
May 20, 2020
It's not the same really. The QM features 5 quizzes daily. Rarely does one of them earn a separate blog post on the topic it covers on the same day. The blogs are independent of the quizzes, aren't they?
+1
Level 79
May 20, 2020
Actually there are often quiz subjects or questions that relate to the day's blog post. And often questions on multiple quizzes featured on the same day that are related. If you pay attention.
+4
Level 34
Jun 27, 2016
I hate Barbados..... Everything, but Barbados
+17
Level 82
Jun 27, 2016
Barbados hates you too.
+2
Level 16
Jul 2, 2016
I missed israel and barbados
+4
Level 60
Nov 14, 2018
Same. Took me awhile to meander over to Oceania, but I got them at the buzzer.
+2
Level 42
Jul 9, 2016
would never have thought of Barbados 19/20
+4
Level 46
Feb 21, 2017
Me too - guessed Antigua, St. Kitts, Bahamas and then gave up on the Caribbean.
+7
Level 46
Apr 11, 2017
I was thinking that it would be kind of hard to buy a country when I looked at the title...
+3
Level 62
May 4, 2020
You can actually buy the country of Liechtenstein for $70,000 a night
+8
Level 79
Jan 28, 2018
I paid 3x as much in Norway for a bunk bed in a hostel dormitory room as I was paying in Ukraine for a nice modern condo in a high-rise building adjacent to the beach with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Black Sea and free garage parking. Insanity. And for the cost of the bridge toll going from Malmo to Copenhagen I probably could live for a month in the Philippines if I was willing to give up certain comforts.
+2
Level 70
Jan 28, 2018
Such as?
+3
Level 79
Jun 27, 2018
I just mean if I rented a room or got a modest apartment somewhere. But if I really wanted to live for less than the cost of that bridge toll for a month then I'd have to give up mobile data on my phone, any kind of night out that cost money, girls, eating out and most of the variety in my diet. That, in addition to rent, is what I spend most of my money on when I'm in the Philippines as I am right now. I'd also have to stop rescuing stray kittens off the street and trying to find homes for them- as I typically end up paying for some food and vet bills. Done that 3x in the past month alone.
+28
Level 82
Aug 24, 2018
Insanity. Insanity, that a country which has a low level of income also has low costs. You as a rich traveller come in and are comparatively richer in Ukraine so enjoy a good life amongst the poor but have a less good life in comparison to the Norwegians earning just as much as you. Actually it makes complete sense. The costs are relative to the amount they earn. It is really a non-observation that a person who has the luxury to travel can buy more where others around are poorer. The disparity is greater than you state in fact, as a one bedroom rental may cost $200 in Ukraine and the average wage is $360/m whereas in Norway renting the same space would be $950 and the wage may be around $3000 meaning the rent is 4.5 times higher but the wage is 9 times more. For the Norwegians then that rent is actually comparatively cheap. The problem you have is you are travelling around with your savings trying to buy into someone else's culture.
+10
Level 79
Sep 29, 2018
wow. deep. That's so insightful and brilliant. Especially what you did there at the end. You've really got me figured out. One of the best comments I've ever read here. It makes perfect sense what you said and wasn't nonsensical Russell Brand style word salad at all. Lucid, clear, spot on. Bravo, Internet culture warrior. Keep fighting the good fight, comrade.
+22
Level 74
Sep 29, 2018
It's always good seeing someone call out kalbahamut. He probably had to open a bottle of rare French wine and put on his designer slippers to cope with getting owned so hard.
+5
Level 79
Sep 29, 2018
Nah. I'm saving up my money to buy into other people's culture. Because, you know, that's totally something that people do and very relevant to bring up when someone is observing the outrageous difference in cost of living from two countries not that far away. Incidentally I never drink wine and have never owned slippers and I live very modestly but given that you are responding positively to this comment I'm not surprised that these things escaped your powers of perception.
+4
Level 30
Jul 2, 2019
*Kalbahamut* "I have never owned slippers* *Everyone trying to roast Kal* haha we all kno u hve slipped b4 haha
+1
Level 79
Sep 21, 2019
u kno tht? Wull if ur $ur
+3
Level 78
May 3, 2020
Kalbahamut is doing the logical thing -- if you have no ties to a particular region, live where its cheap. I will collect a private pension in 4 years ---- I'll spend at least six months of the year in cheap places -- I want to live in places while its still cheap and hasn't been destroyed by hordes of western tourists looking for the next "in" spot.
+2
Level 59
Sep 29, 2018
Price differences are pretty insane if you compare some places. Obviously it will depend on wages, but in @kal's example it is pretty amazing to think the hotel in Ukraine was worth so much less just because it was in Ukraine. In Switzerland I once went to a restaurant that tried to charge CHF 9.00 (USD $9.20) for a litre of water. That was insane whatever way you look at it given that there were taps outside you could use for free. I think it kind of makes sense to charge a lot for the bridge though, because it must presumably have cost a lot to make and the people using it will by definition be international tourists and so they won't be able to tax them as easily to fund it.
+3
Level 78
Sep 29, 2018
Remember these numbers are averages and prices can vary widely within a country. Where I live in Missouri prices are relatively cheap, but in Honolulu or Washington D.C for example, prices are much higher. A tourist visiting Boston would come away with a much different view of prices from that of a tourist visiting Memphis.
+1
Level 59
Sep 29, 2018
Yes, there will of course be variation within a country as well, although I would imagine this variation would be less in smaller countries like Switzerland or Norway.
+1
Level 79
Nov 12, 2018
I went to the coffee shop in St Mark's Square, Venice, which is supposedly one of the first places in Europe to ever serve coffee. I laughed and walked away when I saw that a can of Coke was going for $12.
+1
Level 77
May 3, 2020
Restaurant price is composed of many other things besides material costs. And the bridge connects two cities/countries with regular commuters, not just tourists
+1
Level 79
Jun 27, 2018
I don't remember if the rankings have changed significantly or entires have been added or taken away since the last time I took this; but I'm surprised that Germany shows up over some other places like Kuwait, the UAE, and some of those Pacific island nations. But the latter may be excluded due to the population restriction. I'm also surprised that Israel isn't higher in the rankings.
+1
Level 77
May 3, 2020
Israel varies a lot in prices, Tel Aviv stands out a lot.
+1
Level 79
May 27, 2020
I didn't really like Tel Aviv. I only spent a week there, then went to Haifa, then went back to Jerusalem.
+1
Level 45
Jun 27, 2018
i only missed barbados, wow i consider that a win
+2
Level 38
Jun 27, 2018
Norway is probably on this because of their overpriced gasoline XD
+1
Level 70
May 8, 2020
Also the very high taxes to fund their education, health service, pensions, sick pay, and many other government costs. Most of Scandinavia is there for this reason.
+2
Level ∞
Aug 23, 2018
The United States has gotten a lot more expensive than other countries recently due to the strong dollar.
+6
Level 78
Sep 29, 2018
I guess I misread the instructions. I thought all the countries were in comparison to the US, therefore the US would not be among the answers and I didn't even try it.
+1
Level 79
May 2, 2020
Country X never is counted as one of the "Countries closest to X", so I agree with you.
+5
Level 81
Aug 23, 2018
Huh. Only 58% get the United States, even though the quiz description says "based on the ratio of prices levels to those of the United States" and one of those ratios is 1.00.
+4
Level 78
Aug 24, 2018
I wasn't actually looking at the ratios, and so almost missed it. Realised near the end though.
+8
Level 68
Aug 24, 2018
I was one, I assumed that the US wouldn't be in a quiz that compares the prices in countries against those in ehh the US. I assumed the answer was a country with prices all but identical to the US. Clearly not.
+1
Level 82
Aug 24, 2018
The Pacific islands make no sense here, unless you're considering the price of buying land as part of the deal.
+9
Level 80
Aug 24, 2018
Countries that have to import everything and are very badly connected...makes perfect sense
+1
Level 78
Aug 31, 2018
I agree, but do wonder why Malta isn't on the list. It is much more densely populated than most other micro-nations and so has to import virtually everything - maybe buying in bulk saves money??
+3
Level 80
Sep 9, 2018
Malta has extensive and regular transport links small island nations in the Pacific lack. Makes a huge difference in price.
+1
Level 79
Sep 29, 2018
Yeah being in the Caribbean is quite a bit different than being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Import costs make everything in Oceania expensive; makes sense.
+6
Level 59
Sep 29, 2018
The Caribbean? Malta is in the Mediterranean Sea. A few Caribbean countries did make the list (unless I'm using the wrong definition of the Caribbean, which is possible as I think there is a technical definition excluding some North American island countries).
+2
Level 79
Sep 29, 2018
Thank you I meant the Mediterranean. Though the Caribbean is also well connected to sea trade lanes, the Mediterranean is even more so.
+3
Level 79
Sep 29, 2018
Quick someone find a corkscrew. There's going to be a party later to celebrate the fact that I made a typo. :)
+1
Level 30
Jul 2, 2019
That burn to all those islands though
+1
Level 72
Aug 25, 2018
The markup on those Vatican chasubles has to be outrageous, though!
+1
Level 34
Sep 16, 2018
forgot ireland and israel
+2
Level 79
Sep 29, 2018
I can't forget paying $800 a month in Israel to sleep in what was essentially a closet. Other stuff there wasn't so expensive, though. Just the housing prices were out of control.
+1
Level 79
Sep 29, 2018
In my experience Norway was substantially more expensive than Sweden, which was substantially more expensive than Finland, but I might not have had to buy some of the things that they consider when analyzing this.
+4
Level 62
Sep 29, 2018
Surprised to see Denmark above Norway. Prices in Norwegian grocery stores are way, way higher than in Denmark?!?
+3
Level 79
Sep 29, 2018
I saw a different list not long ago where Switzerland was ranked as the #1 most expensive country and Norway was ranked #2. That list seemed to be more accurate. I also think Kuwait should probably be above the United States.
+1
Level 32
Sep 30, 2018
all the answers I missed were in Oceania.
+4
Level 56
Oct 1, 2018
If prices are compared to the USA already, it is ridiculous for us to assume that the USA will be an answer in the quiz itself. You should remove this.
+4
Level 52
Nov 19, 2018
"Name the world's most expensive countries, based on the ratio of prices levels to those of the United States." I really didn't expect to see the US in this list of answers, I confess. I was looking for another country with the exact same level of prices... I tried Canada 10 times...
+1
Level 60
Dec 13, 2018
Why there is a picture of a horse?
+5
Level 66
Mar 15, 2020
It is an Icelandic Pony.
+1
Level 31
May 20, 2020
I was missing Iceland with a minute to go and I read this comment and got it. Thanks!
+1
Level 79
Jul 30, 2020
I import all of my ponies from Mexico. Much more affordable there.
+2
Level 69
Jan 31, 2019
How is this measured? I'm absolutely sure Norway fx is more expensive than Israel and a bunch of others here, and this is weird overall
+2
Level 79
Mar 25, 2019
They select a basket of goods and compare prices in different places... I don't know exactly which goods they're using but often it will be something like comparing the prices for... a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, rent for a studio apartment downtown, a liter of gasoline, a movie ticket, a month of phone and internet service, an entry-level sedan and a McDonald's Big Mac... just as an example.
+1
Level 79
Mar 25, 2019
but yes I concur, Norway is far and away the most expensive country I have ever been to. I've heard that Switzerland is worse but have no experience there. Israel is also expensive but nowhere near as bad as Norway. and in my experience Finland was much cheaper.
+1
Level 64
May 21, 2020
Same here. I have been to a good number of countries, and Norway is the most expensive by a wide margin. I've never been to Switzerland or the Middle East though.
+1
Level 79
Jul 30, 2020
Most places in the Middle East are somewhere between dirt cheap and very reasonable. The exceptions are Israel and the UAE, particularly Dubai, where housing prices are out of control, and Kuwait which is just generally expensive. Saudi Arabia, despite having a good economy, relatively high standards of living, and high salaries for expats, is actually one of the cheapest places to live in the world. They've got virtually no taxes whatsoever, very affordable housing prices, the 2nd cheapest gasoline in the world after Venezuela (might even be the cheapest now that Venezuela has collapsed into anarchy. Is the government still subsidizing petrol there?), and very low prices on food, clothing, cars, and other consumer goods. The only things that I noticed that were a bit pricey there are electronics for some reason and alcohol which is only available on the black market. This is why it's easy to save money there.
+2
Level 47
May 20, 2020
Yeah, quite hard to think anything that is cheaper in Norway than in Finland.
+2
Level 69
Jan 31, 2019
Please remove the United States
+2
Level 79
Mar 25, 2019
why?
+1
Level 30
Jan 31, 2019
I love how only 70% got 1 being "United States"
+1
Level 31
Mar 5, 2019
i live in ireland its not so expensive
+3
Level 58
Apr 8, 2019
Singapore ??!!
+2
Level 79
Sep 21, 2019
Kind of funny Singapore shows up on the most expensive cities list but not here on the most expensive countries. In my own experience I found Singapore to be cheaper than the USA... but I know that certain things there can be very expensive such as real estate or importing a car. Anything that takes up space has a high premium.
+1
Level 30
Jul 2, 2019
I noticed no countries in the EU were on the list. Does this mean the Euro is equivalent in all countries in the EU? I guessed a lot of them thinking they might be like the U.S. states them, where money is worth more in some countries/states than other, i.e, Calfornia and Nevada.
+1
Level 77
May 3, 2020
There are 5 EU countries, 3 of them using euro. Prices still vary a lot, even within the same country. Population density and tourism varies.
+1
Level 65
Aug 12, 2019
Some of these seem silly. There's nothing you can buy in Tuvalu, I've been there. Just food, rent and a moped. Very few shops and restaurants. It's tiny.
+3
Level 66
Aug 15, 2019
There is no way Denmark is more expensive than Norway!!
+3
Level 73
May 2, 2020
I find it hard to believe Canada isn't on here!
+2
Level 73
May 3, 2020
Agreed. Only Iceland and Norway have been able to bleed my finances more thoroughly.
+2
Level 50
May 2, 2020
HINT It's expensive to import things onto islands Top of the list is landlocked.
+1
Level 77
May 3, 2020
Hint is for the more difficult answers
+3
Level 68
May 5, 2020
“Hint It’s expensive to import things onto islands” Cue me trying Fiji, Samoa, Nauru, Kiribati and the long shot of PNG. All wrong, so I moved on and left the Pacific islands (I got Australia and NZ). In the Caribbean I tried Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Kitts, Trinidad&Tobago, and Antigua. All wrong. So I moved on a decided your hint was rubbish. Then I saw the answers. I couldn’t have done a better job of picking wrong answers without trying.
+2
Level 62
May 20, 2020
Honestly, I'd swap placement of Norway and Denmark. Norway is way more expensive
+1
Level 56
May 20, 2020
How on earth can Tuvalu be more expensive than the USA when the GDP per capita is only $3700?
+1
Level 79
Jul 30, 2020
The people there live very modestly or on subsidies probably. I know that's how it is in Samoa. The basket of goods they use to calculate this index might not include things that the average local buys. It's more geared toward expats.
+2
Level 59
May 20, 2020
I tried Nauru, Fiji, Samoa and Kiribati, and concluded that the Oceanian islands nations where not what was meant in the hint
+1
Level 43
May 20, 2020
I simply refuse to believe that nearly half (42%) of quiz takers correctly ID'd the Solomon Islands without googling.
+2
Level 81
May 20, 2020
Believe what you want, but the hint about the expense of importing to islands was all the prompting I needed to rattle off all of the Pacific island nations. Unfortunately I wasn't as thorough with other island nations so I missed Barbados and the Bahamas. Still, considering what I know about Jetpunk users I'm not surprised by the percentage that got it correct.
+2
Level 44
May 20, 2020
No Japan? Hmm...
+1
Level 79
Jul 30, 2020
Tokyo is pretty expensive but the rest of the country not so much.
+2
Level 45
May 20, 2020
Wow Israel was the lowest one. I started guessing all of the Oceana islands in the last 15 seconds haha
+1
Level 32
May 20, 2020
i thought luxembourg was a microstate so i didn't put it ;(
+1
Level 79
May 21, 2020
I would say it certainly is. However, they also have a population far above 50,000 people. Over 10x that. Though only 1/33rd the population of New York City.