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The Cheapest Places to Live in the World in 2024

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The cost of living in Canada continues to rise, with many Canadians fronting heftier bills, higher mortgage rates and jaw-dropping rent. With many Canadians reporting an inability to afford unexpected expenses should they arise, it’s no wonder residents are finding alternative countries to live in.


In fact, Canadians are fleeing the country at a record pace. According to Statistics Canada, reverse immigration and emigration numbers are the fourth-highest they’ve been in the past 73 years. Last year, there were more than 74,000 emigrants. Only three other periods (2016, 1967 and 1965) have seen more residents leave.

Whether you’re thinking of moving or just want to research what it would cost to live elsewhere, here are the cheapest places in the world to live in 2024.

Related: Best Places for Canadians Under 35 to Live Abroad in 2024

What is the Cheapest Country in the World to Live?

Aerial shot of surfer in ocean

According to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index, Costa Rica is the most affordable — and desirable — place to live. It’s not necessarily the cheapest overall (Pakistan, Egypt, Nepal, Bhutan and Burundi top the cheapest countries list), but this index factors in other considerations, like infrastructure, healthcare and quality of life.

Experts say that a retired couple can live well on $2,000 a month, while a single person could get by on $1,600. Other draws to living in Costa Rica include the country’s commitment to environmentalism (it now operates 98 per cent on renewable energy), its reputation as a happy country (it abolished its army in 1948) and the gorgeous scenery everywhere you look (25 per cent of which is protected as national parks and wildlife refuges).

There’s a reason the national saying is pura vida — people in Costa Rica know how to live well.

Related: These Are the Happiest Countries in the World to Live in 2024


Other Affordable Countries to Live

Busy street in Portugal


As per the Global Retirement Index (which is not just for those looking to retire), Portugal is the second-most coveted country in which to live. A straightforward visa process and the ability to transfer your existing driver’s license make it one of the easiest European countries for Canadians to move. It’s possible for a couple to live on $3,000 a month, depending on lifestyle and whether they rent or own.


Another gem of a place to live if you’re wallet-weary is Panama. The country ranks first in Latin America for environmental performance and sustainability, and it’s one of the few carbon-neutral countries in the world. It also has a rapidly growing economy and a ton of beautiful spots to check out, plus it’s a short plane ride away from Canada.

A single person can own an apartment and get by under $3,000 monthly, including car, health insurance, utilities, internet and a few local luxuries (seafood, wine and spas). Canadians don’t need a visa to visit and can stay for up to six months.


Spain is one of those countries you can live in and still experience weather changes without ever feeling chilled the way you do in Canada. Living there can be as inexpensive as $2,000 to $3,000 a month, depending on where you settle (as with most places, the bigger the city, the higher the real estate prices). Budgets aside, Spain is well known for its fresh and affordable food, a good healthcare system and its wealth of arts and culture.

Related: Here Are the Cheapest Provinces to Buy a House in 2024

Mountain in Ecquador



Another option if you’re leaving Canada is to head straight to the equator — and the aptly named Ecuador. The country is just north of Peru and hosts a large number of expats. There is a ton to appreciate about the area (including the amazing Galápagos Islands), consistent weather and a diverse population.

Living there is also super affordable, and a couple can be more than comfortable on $2,000 to $2,500 a month. Singles can budget even lower, at $1,500 monthly.


There are plenty of affordable living options in Greece, from the mainland to the islands. The housing market, of course, depends on where you want to settle down, but on average, the cost of living in Greece is between 30-50 per cent lower than living in the United States. The country also has a laidback vibe, and the people emphasize outdoor living, allowing people to connect and unwind.

A family of four can live on an estimated $3,000 monthly, while a single person can get by on $1,000 a month.

Related: Silent Travel is the New 2024 Wellness Trend


This Southwest Asian country has it all: stunning coastal landscapes, bustling city life, jaw-dropping natural areas and tons of cultural heritage. Malaysia is also known for its delicious food and is a convenient hub to get to other countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Malaysia has an established healthcare system and modern facilities, plus reputable schools and universities. The cost of living is roughly 55 per cent lower in Malaysia than it is in Canada, and a family of four can get by on a monthly budget of $2,200 before rent.

What is the Most Expensive Country in the World to Live?

View of Monaco

Living in Canada may seem costly, but remember that it could always be worse. Monaco, that little principality just south-east of France, has been named the most expensive country in the world. The cost of living in Monaco is 85 per cent higher than it is in Canada, while the rent is an average of 673 per cent higher than what we pay here.


Without rent, a family of four can expect to pay more than $10,000 a month in bills, while a single person will spend nearly $2,800 monthly.


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