How does Spain’s cost of living compare to the rest of Europe?

by Deborah Cater
How does the cost of living in Spain compare?
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In general, it can be said that the cost of living in Spain is affordable. Yet Spaniards pay considerably more for mobile telephony and internet than the average European consumer. Tobacco and alcoholic beverages on the other hand are relatively cheap.

The prices for mobile calls and internet use in Spain are no less than 22% higher than the average price in Europe. This service is only more expensive in the Benelux countries, Norway, Sweden, Greece and Ireland. For cigarettes and drink, on the other hand, Spaniards pay 13% less than the average European consumer. This is evident from data published this week by the Eurostat statistics institute.

Cigarettes remarkably cheap

Eurostat uses the so-called European Consumer Price Index to compare prices in the 27 EU Member States. For ten of the twelve main categories of consumer goods, Spaniards pay less than the average European consumer. A striking difference is on tobacco products. Spaniards pay 18% less than the average European consumer for tobacco alone. Spain is also cheaper for alcoholic drinks, the price for which is 10% lower than the average price in Europe.

The catering industry in Spain is also a lot cheaper than in other EU Member States, namely 11%. Compared to Spain, hotels and restaurants in Norway and Denmark are more 70% more expensive. Hotels and restaurants in countries such as Hungary and Romania, meanwhile, are 40% cheaper compared to Spain.

The cost of education in Spain is 10% below the European average, as are the prices for clothing and footwear (-8%), transport (-7%) and cultural activities (-6%). Housing costs in Spain are about the same as in the rest of Europe. At least, if the costs of the house itself are not included. Looking only at the price for gas and electricity, Spain is 4.4% above the European average.

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Medical care more expensive than in the rest of Europe

Healthcare costs are also high in Spain compared to the rest of Europe. This concerns medicines, dental costs, a stay in a nursing home and medical services in general. The costs for medical services in general are a significant 11% above the European average in Spain.

Switzerland almost twice as expensive as Spain

Consumer goods in general are 4% cheaper in Spain compared to the European average. This makes Spain the eleventh most expensive country in Europe. The cost of living is above average in countries such as France (+9.9%), Germany (+8.8%) and Italy (+2.8%).

The highest cost of living is in Switzerland, where prices are 87% higher than in Spain. Life in the Scandinavian countries is also between 34% and 55% more expensive than in Spain.

For a lower cost of living than in Spain, head to the Eastern European countries. Living in Romania is 48% cheaper than in Spain, while in Poland it is 43% lower.

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