Living ist most expensive in Switzerland and cheapest in India. In our ranking of 98 countries all around the world the USA comes 17th.
The cost of living are periodically calculated in nearly representative baskets of consumer goods. But many factors are complicating a worldwide comparison. E.g. a typical apartments dont have a standard size nor fittings. Even the quality of a branded packet of butter isn't the same in the Third World. Consequently, comparisons like this have to to be accepted with caution.
Zusätzlich sollte bei einen Kostenvergleich die Höhe des jeweils vorherrschenden eine Rolle spielen.Additionally, the average income of the single country should play a role in a cost comparison like this.
Cost of living and purchasing power related to average income
We ajusted the average cost of living inside the USA (based on 2016) to an index of 100. All other countries are related to this index. Therefore with an index of e.g. 80, the usual expenses in another country are 20% less then inside the United States.
The example of Luxembourg: With a cost of living index of 110 all good are on average about 10 percent more expensive than in the USA. But the average income in Luxembourg of 6388 USD is also 36% higher, which means that citizens can also afford more on the other side. If you now calculate the 10% higher costs against the 36% higher income, people in Luxembourg can still afford about 1.2 times more than a US citizen.
The calculated cost of living index is based on the OECD figures and has been completed with consumer information of Numbeo. It does not take into account the differences between poverty and wealth, as well as prices for goods that do not belong to normal needs. Therefore this list should be regarded as a mathematical theorem. Whether it is realistic to survive with a purchasing power index of 1.9 (Ethiopia) does not matter in this table. This would correspond to about one-52th of the purchasing power inside the US.
There are some other indices, e.g. the study of the swiss bank UBS issued about every 3 years or of the EDA (Federal Departement of Foreign Affairs). Both studies refer only to some few and usually large cities in which UBS and Switzerland have a representation.