Switzerland has been named the world's most expensive country, with Norway second and Iceland third.
The Alpine nation was ranked first in a study of 132 countries which measured the cost of goods including groceries, clothes and taxi fares.
Denmark and Luxembourg also featured in a Europe-heavy top ten, along with Japan, the Bahamas, Israel, Singapore and South Korea.
The United States was 20th in the list compiled by the CEOWORLD business magazine, with the UK seven places lower in 27th.
Experts measured countries by a range of living costs including accommodation, clothing, taxi fares, utility, internet, the price of groceries, transport, and eating out.
They used the cost of living in notoriously expensive New York City as a benchmark, assigning it an index score of 100.
Only three countries - Switzerland, Norway and Iceland - were ranked as being more expensive than New York.
Switzerland came in as comfortably the most expensive country in the world with a score of 122.4, well ahead of second-placed Norway on 101.4.
As well as being the overall leader, Switzerland was ranked as the most expensive country for groceries and restaurant prices.
Switzerland is well known as an expensive country and also ranks highest in the Big Mac Index, which measures the price of the McDonald's staple around the world.
A Big Mac costs 6.50 Swiss francs - the equivalent of £5.10 - making it the most 'overvalued' burger in the world, according to the Economist's index.
The high prices are often exacerbated for foreign visitors by the strength of the Swiss franc which makes it more expensive to buy the currency from abroad.
Japan was in fourth place in the overall list, ranking as the most expensive country outside Europe, although its score of 83.4 was well below Iceland's 100.4.
The East Asian country was rated far cheaper than the European leaders in the rent and restaurant categories.
Hong Kong - a special administrative zone of China - was rated as the world's most expensive rental market, although it was only 11th on the overall list.
The city's expensive accommodation was balanced out by its relatively cheap restaurants, according to the rankings.
Middle East business hubs such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also had high levels of rent relative to their overall position in the table.
Qatar came in as the fifth-most expensive rental market in the world, despite being only the 31st-most expensive country in general.
The UAE was one place behind Qatar in the list, with slightly lower prices in every category.
The UK was 27th in the overall table, classified as cheaper than the US or Canada but more expensive than Italy or Germany.
Britain was higher up in 14th in the restaurant price index, ahead of the culinary powerhouses of France and Italy.
However, the UK's grocery prices were only 34th-most expensive, far cheaper than the US.
The United States was higher up in a 'local purchasing power index' which takes into account the value of a country's currency.
The US was third in that table, behind only Switzerland and Qatar, with Australia and Luxembourg also in the top five.
Russia and China were far lower down the overall cost of living table, coming in 80th and 82nd respectively.
That put them in a similar league to countries such as Hungary, Brazil, Kenya and Malaysia.
India was cheaper still, coming in 130th - ahead of only Afghanistan and Pakistan out of the 132 countries surveyed.
Pakistan was listed as the cheapest of the 132 nations, mainly because of its very cheap rent score.
Groceries were ranked as cheapest in Afghanistan, followed by Pakistan, Uzbekistan and war-torn Syria.
The world's cheapest restaurant prices are to be found in Tunisia, according to the table, followed by its North African neighbour Algeria.
Pakistan, India and Afghanistan were also in the cheapest five in the restaurant price index.
CEOWORLD, which compiled the list, describes itself as 'the world’s leading business magazine' for top company executives.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.