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Hamilton: The World’s Most Expensive City

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda, has claimed the title of the world’s most expensive city, surpassing even the Swiss contenders.

According to Numbeo’s cost of living tracking website, Hamilton outstrips other cities regarding housing prices, grocery costs, and dining expenses. Explore the factors contributing to Hamilton’s top spot and delve into the contrasting rankings of the cheapest and best quality-of-life cities.

Everything is more expensive to buy in Hamilton. Buying a home or renting an apartment costs more than anywhere else. So does a bag of groceries or a night out in a restaurant.

Besides Hamilton and the Swiss cities, the other top 10 places are filled by George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands and Nassau, The Bahamas.

Bahamas – Friendly But Expensive

Islamabad, Pakistan, is at the other end of the table of 560 cities. Other low scorers are Karachi, Lahore, Pakistan, and Giza and Alexandria, Egypt.

Hamilton is the capital of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. Visitors landing by ship are greeted with the quintessential harbour fronted by colonial-style buildings and designer shops.

The colourful harbour sets the scene for this friendly but expensive island.

Hamilton only has a population of 850, so it functions as a small town rather than a city.

Prices are high – expect to pay at least £500,000 for a modest home and many millions for a luxury plantation estate mansion. The government must give permission before a British expat or foreigner buys real estate on the island.

Big Mac costs more than £11

A bottle of imported beer is £7.46, while a Big Mac meal will set visitors back £11.46 – around twice the price of a similar meal in the UK.

Average monthly salaries after tax are £4,336.

Numbeo reckons a family of four needs £5,631 monthly extra for rent to pay the bills, while a single needs £1,534.

Renting in the city centre costs £2,461 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, while a three-bed family home costs £5,178 monthly. Rents are almost 50 per cent cheaper in the suburbs.

World’s Top 10 Most Expensive Cities

Not only are the world’s most expensive cities in Bermuda, Bahamas, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, but these countries also have the most expensive cost of living.

George TownCayman Islands
Source: Numbeo

World’s Top 10 Most Expensive Countries

Nordic countries reinforce their reputations as expensive places to live in this ranking of the world’s most expensive countries.

Iceland, Norway and Denmark take three places, along with the sunshine islands of Bermuda, Bahamas, Grand Cayman and Barbados.

The Channel Islands of Jersey, Switzerland and Singapore take the other places.

Cayman Islands
Source: Numbeo

Islamabad – Do expats and locals live in the same city?

Islamabad is the best and worst place to live, depending on who you speak to, as their opinions differ so widely.

Expats rate Islamabad as the world’s cheapest living place out of 560 cities. A meal in a run-of-the-mill restaurant costs just a pound, while a McDonald’s meal is half the price of most cities at £2.63.

A family of four can get by on £779 a month, while a single only needs to spend £243.

Add rent to these budgets – around £280 monthly for an apartment with three bedrooms or £112 a month for a one-bed apartment, both in the city centre and with even cheaper rents in the suburbs.

Locals seem to love their city, Pakistan’s capital, with a 1.2 million population.

Many point to breathtaking views, high-quality living standards and cleanliness that set the city apart from others in Pakistan. Others enjoy the nearby Margalla Hills as a peaceful backdrop for campers and hikers.

World’s Bottom 10 Cheapest Cities

Cities in Pakistan, India and Egypt take eight of the 10 bottom placings in the Numbeo study, with Bucaramanga, Colombia, taking the final place.

Source: Numbeo

World’s Bottom 10 Cheapest Countries

Pakistan, Egypt and India were voted by expats as the countries with the cheapest cost of living.

Asia and Africa took five places each out of the bottom ten.

Many of these places struggle with famine, drought and civil strife. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and flooding are also regular occurrences.

Source: Numbeo

But Where Is The Best Quality Of Life?

None of the most expensive or cheapest cities to live in make the top 10 cities with the best quality of life.

In fact, all the cities are in Europe.

Top of the list is The Hague, Netherlands. Locals and expats can’t put a finger on why the city scores so highly; it just does because everyone enjoys living there. The Dutch cities of Eindhoven and Rotterdam also occupy the top ten, making the Netherlands the world’s best place to live.

Australia follows with Canberra and Adelaide in the top ten.

The HagueNetherlands
Source: Numbeo

World’s Most Expensive Cities FAQ

Please explore the most commonly asked questions about the world’s most expensive city, Hamilton, and gain valuable insights into its cost of living and unique characteristics.

Who votes for the most expensive cities?

The survey is not a poll but a report summarising the findings of expats and residents who post financial data on the Numbeo cost of living tracking website.

Where are the cities compared with?

New York is the baseline with a score of 100. So, Hamilton, with a cost of living score of 140 is 40 per cent more expensive than New York, while Islamabad, scoring 18, is 82 per cent cheaper than New York. In the same comparison, Hamilton is 132 per cent more expensive than Islamabad.

Where can I see the Numbeo data?

Numbeo publishes real-time cost of living data on a website – Watch out; the data is also published with sticky data every six months.

The website includes more than 8 million pieces of price data about 11,403 cities posted by 755,000 contributors.

What other cost of living data does Numbeo publish?

Numbeo publishes a wealth of free and real-time cost-of-living data useful to expats considering assignments overseas. The headings include cost of living, property prices, crime, healthcare, traffic and pollution.

Where is the best country to live in the world?

NUmbeo’s quality of life ranking by country rates the tiny European duchy of Luxembourg and The Netherlands equal as the best countries to live in. Both countries return almost identical scores in each category.

Below is a list of related articles you may find of interest.


  1. Bermuda Monetary Authority – Official website:
  2. Government of Bermuda – Official website:
  3. Swiss Federal Statistical Office – Official website:
  4. Cayman Islands Government – Official website:
  5. The Commonwealth of The Bahamas Government – Official website:

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