I’ve often wondered in which country would people save the most. Based on expenses per capita vs income per capita. It turns out this data is available. The most reliable data is from 2015 with most interesting countries available for comparison.
Of course websites like Numeo and Expatistan are great to compare countries. Based on very specific items like the cost of an apartment inside the city centre. However I wondered about the average person living in those countries. How much would they actually have left over every month?
The data used in this analyses is from Worldbank.org and looks at the following 2 data sets:
- 2015 – Households and NPISHs Final consumption expenditure per capita (constant 2010 US$)
- 2015 – Adjusted net national income per capita (constant 2010 US$)
- The currency is based on constant 2010 US$ – https://datahelpdesk.worldbank.org/knowledgebase/articles/114943-what-is-your-constant-u-s-dollar-methodology )
First the countries with some of the highest costs of living:
|#||Country Name||2015 Consumption expenditure per capita|
Now the countries with the highest net national income
|#||Country Name||2015 – Adjusted net national income per capita (constant 2010 US$)|
And of course you can see that there are some similarities in the lists; Norway, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, United States, Australia appear in both lists. They have high living expenses coupled with a high income. A few positive exceptions are The Netherlands, Qatar and Singapore which all have high incomes but do not appear in the top 10 of highest expenses. Some less positive results for Canada, Japan and the U.K. which all have top 10 expenses, but do not have top 10 incomes.
So where can you actually save the most (difference between net income and expenses):
|#||Country Name||Total Savings|
|5||United Arab Emirates||23,401|
Some interesting data to take note of is that Switzerland and Norway are both in the top 3 with highest cost and income, but only Norway stays in this list whilst Switzerland drops to place #9. Meaning that there are other countries which will give you a higher total savings without having to deal with a high cost of living, or the need for a very high salary.
Secondly a lot of great expat destinations are on the list here like the UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc), Qatar and Singapore.
But of course, total savings is not everything, your relative savings rate determines your success if you can’t easily change your cost of living or your salary. Let’s see the impact of geo-arbitrage:
|#||Country Name||Savings %|
|4||United Arab Emirates||65%|
Again there are some great expat countries in the list which have both great total savings and a great relative savings rate; Qatar, UAE, Singapore. The #1 might surprise you but Malawi households only spend 64USD per year with an income of 349USD (one of the lowest in the world) hereby potentially having a great savings rate. Your total yearly savings of 285USD won’t get you far though.