Thailand ranks in top 10 countries for low expat living costs


Thailand is among the top 10 countries with the lowest living costs for expats, according to the latest study published by expat network InterNations.

The Land of Smiles ranks eighth globally and fourth in Southeast Asia thanks to its affordable housing and utilities, according to “Personal Finance Index 2024”.

The index also revealed that expats also find it fairly simple to rent property in Thailand.

Expats surveyed rated three factors on a scale of one (very bad) to seven (very good). The three factors were general cost of living, satisfaction with their financial situation, and whether disposable household income is enough to lead a comfortable life.

Vietnam topped the rankings for the third year in a row, with 86% of expats rating the cost of living favourably, compared with a global average of just 40%.

Over two-thirds (68%) also said their disposable household income was more than enough to live a comfortable life (versus 41% globally). 

Colombia soared from seventh to second place this year with 85% of foreign residents highlighting the low living costs.     

Indonesia ranks third this year, with 69% of those surveyed saying their incomes are more than adequate to live a comfortable life there.

Countries with the lowest cost of living for expats:  

         1. Vietnam
         2. Colombia
         3. Indonesia
         4. Panama
         5. Philippines
         6. India
         7. Mexico
         8. Thailand
         9. Brazil 
         10. China 

Overall, there was little change in the top 10 of the Personal Finance Index from 2023.

Thailand ranks in top 10 countries for low expat living costs

Six of the top 10 countries are in Asia: Vietnam (1st), Indonesia (3rd), the Philippines (5th), India (6th), Thailand (8th), and China (10th). They all performed exceptionally well across the index's three components, according to expats surveyed.

The remaining four are from Latin America: Colombia (2nd), Panama (4th), Mexico (7th), and Brazil (9th). 

The Personal Finance Index polled over 12,000 expats in 174 destinations (53 countries) around the world.

Canada was ranked bottom, with more than half of respondents (53%) saying their disposable household income is insufficient to live comfortably compared to 30% globally.

Expats in Canada continue to face rising prices, particularly for food, rent, and mortgages.

Singapore ranked lowest in Asia (48th out of 53 countries). Three-quarters (75%) of respondents rated the cost of living negatively, compared to 39% globally.

The bottom 10 countries are:
         44. Kuwait
         45. Turkey
         46. Bahrain
         47. New Zealand
         48. Singapore
         49. Norway
         50. Ireland
         51. United Kingdom
         52. Finland
         53. Canada