In Pictures: The World's Most Expensive Countries to Live In

The world's most expensive countries to live in have been ranked by Numbeo, an online database of information about cities and countries worldwide. Numbeo compares each country's cost of living, rent and price of groceries and restaurants, with those in the notoriously expensive New York City. So a country with a score higher than 100 is more expensive than New York, while a lower number means it is cheaper.Creative Commons CC0
The U.S. is the 25th most expensive country in the world. Average cost of living: 72.95 (as a percentage of the cost of living in New York), rent: 38.52, groceries: 73.93, restaurants: 69.95, local purchasing power: 127.62 (the average American can buy 27.62 percent more goods and services than someone on the same salary in New York).Creative Commons CC0

Life. It's expensive, isn't it? At least it is if you want a roof over your head, you want to eat, to maintain your health, to stay safe, get online, and maybe to move around a bit now and again. That, in a nutshell, is the "cost of living" and, yes, it is expensive.

But putting a price on the cost of living is not always straightforward. While New Yorkers will complain that apartment rents reach higher into the sky than the buildings themselves, employers tend to pay some of the highest salaries too. Cost of living is always relative to income, but how does a New Yorker's cost of living compare with, say, someone in Skopje, Macedonia, or Phuket, Thailand? Is it best to get dollars, denar or baht?

The website Numbeo, launched in 2009 by former software engineer Mladen Adamovic, calculates cost of living in 540 cities across the world. Drawing on data submitted by people actually living in these 115 countries, Numbeo gets as close as anyone has to comparing cost of living across the globe. Numbeo's Cost of Living Indices, which are continually updated and published periodically, sort cities to determine the most expensive (and the cheapest) places to live.

It uses specific and precise methodology, comparing everything from a night out at the movies to a three-bedroomed apartment.
The data is presented in comparison with the same cost in New York City (yes, New Yorkers are the center of the world), meaning that a "cost of living" of, say, 79 (as is the case in Italy) is 21 percent cheaper than it is in NYC. But–and this may surprise you–there are five countries whose cost of living is higher than New York. For instance, Switzerland's cost of living of 131 means it's 31 percent more expensive.

The U.S. as a whole isn't even in the top 20 of most expensive countries in the world. It comes in at No 25. That's where Newsweek's gallery of the most expensive countries in the world begins. Flick through to find out where you get even less bang for your buck. 

Germany is the 24th most expensive country to live in, but it has the cheapest groceries. Cost of living: 74.35, rent: 29.06, groceries: 58.87, restaurants: 71.21, local purchasing power: 125.01.Creative Commons CC0
23. United Kingdom. Cost of living: 75.85, rent: 55.38, groceries: 60.96, restaurants: 83.87, local purchasing power: 108.54.Creative Commons CC0
22. Hong Kong. Cost of living: 78.72, rent: 79.54, groceries: 83.47, restaurants: 56.17, local purchasing power: 82.86.Creative Commons CC0
Italy is the 21st most expensive country to live in, but it has the lowest rents on our list. Cost of living: 79.06, rent: 23.14, groceries: 68.05, restaurants: 84.74, local purchasing power: 81.07.Creative Commons CC0
20. Austria. Cost of living: 81.47, rent: 29.28, groceries: 76.77, restaurants: 75.85, local purchasing power: 98.69.Creative Commons CC0
19. Finland. Cost of living: 81.7, rent: 29.72, groceries: 68.78, restaurants: 86.89, local purchasing power: 119.42.Creative Commons CC0
18. The Netherlands. Cost of living: 82.69, rent: 36.21, groceries: 65.83, restaurants: 92.73, local purchasing power: 109.48.Creative Commons CC0
South Korea is the 17th most expensive country to live in, but it has the cheapest restaurants of all the countries on our list. Cost of living: 82.94, rent: 23.39, groceries: 99.67, restaurants: 48.98, local purchasing power: 109.36.Creative Commons CC0
16. Belgium. Cost of living: 83.35, rent: 28.05, groceries: 72.79, restaurants: 93.25, local purchasing power: 98.91.Creative Commons CC0
15. New Zealand. Cost of living: 83.41, rent: 33.79, groceries: 76.98, restaurants: 79.05, local purchasing power: 98.61.Creative Commons CC0
14. Sweden. Cost of living: 83.7, rent: 28.01, groceries: 76.1, restaurants: 86.67, local purchasing power: 113.01.Creative Commons CC0
13. France. Cost of living: 83.86, rent: 28.62, groceries: 78.06, restaurants: 81.87, local purchasing power: 101.21.Creative Commons CC0