The World’s 2 Most Expensive Countries Are Islands

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The most expensive countries in the world, according to new cost-of-living indices, are both places where the (expensive) living is easy: The Cayman Islands in the Caribbean and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, off the coast of North Carolina. That’s according to mid-year cost-of-living data collected by Numbeo, a Serbian-based website that describes itself as maintaining “the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide.”

The site includes the cost of groceries, restaurants, transportation, utilities, and rent (including mortgage payments) in its index of cost of living plus rent. Indices are broken out separately for cost of living without rent and for groceries and restaurants. The indices are computed relative to costs in New York City, which are counted at 100%. An index of 120% indicates costs that are 20% higher than those in the city, while one of 80% means costs are 20% lower.

Bermuda has the highest cost of living index including rent, at 114.03%, followed by the Cayman Islands at 109.49%. Their positions flip if rent is factored out, with the Caymans at 141.64% and Bermuda at 138.22%. (Switzerland is in third place by both measures.) 

Island countries are often among the places where the most garbage is accumulated. This is mostly because their economies are dependent on tourism. These are the countries that produce the most waste

Bermuda is also the place where restaurant meals cost the most (150.40%), while groceries are more expensive in the Caymans (157.93%).

The most expensive American territory is the U.S. Virgin Islands, in fifth place for cost of living both with rent (73.81%) and without (97.23%). The U.S. as a whole ranks 15th for the combined figure (56.39%) and 25th if rent if factored out (70.95%). 

You might be surprised at how much money you need to live comfortably in some cities. While it is true that the nation’s most highly populous cities tend to be more expensive, this is not the case for all major cities — this is how much it will cost you to live in America’s major cities.

The cheapest place in the world to live? Pakistan, in 136th place, with a cost-of-living plus rent index of 11.62% and an index without rent of 18.58%.