From Iceland — Iceland: The World's 4th Most Expensive Country

Iceland: The World’s 4th Most Expensive Country

Published January 22, 2015

According to data derived from, Iceland is the world’s 4th most expensive country to live. This is revealed in an accessible infographic, published by, a site which provides information to “expats”, shorthand for Western and/or middle class migrants.

The infographic compares the consumer price index in various countries with that of New York city. Only five countries turn out to be more expensive than NYC: Switzerland, on top, then Norway, Venezuela, Iceland and Denmark. The costs of living in Iceland, including groceries, transportation, restaurants and utilities, are, according to the infographic, 2.14% higher than in New York.

Consumer price index, World

The only other European countries which come close to Iceland, Norway and Denmark, is Switzerland. The costs of living of all countries within the EU are lower than in Iceland. The disparity between East and West Europe remains great, reaching over 50 percent.

Cost of living - full infographic

The consumer price index excludes the cost of housing. If rent index is included in the figure, Iceland figures as the world’s ninth most expensive country. Apparently, renting in Iceland costs only around one third of what it costs in NYC. That still leaves Iceland as the world’s 15th most expensive country to rent. The only European countries where rent is more expensive than in Iceland are Switzerland, Norway, the UK and Ireland.

At five percent above the New York city restaurant index, Iceland is the world’s fifth most expensive country to dine in.

Purchasing power

The purchasing power of people in Iceland remains 30% below New York, leaving Iceland in 36th place, between Malaysia, Malta and Cyprus, on the one hand and Taiwan, the Czech Republic and India on the other. According to, the purchasing power index in Iceland remains 26% below that of Ireland, also hard hit by the 2008 recession.

In terms of purchasing power, Italy and Spain, two more countries hit by the crisis, are also faring better than Iceland. None of these are comparable with the other Nordic countries, though: Sweden’s index measures at 111, Denmark’s 106, Finland’s 101 and Norway’s 96, compared with New York as 100 —whereas Iceland measures at 71. At 51 and 52, respectively, the purchasing power indices of Greece and Estonia are, however, significantly lower than Iceland’s.

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