Aarti Bhana
4 minute read
13 Apr 2018
1:00 pm

Which countries offer the highest average take-home pay?

Aarti Bhana

The average Swiss earns more than eight times more than we do, but the Chinese make less.

When you’re thinking about moving to another country there are a host of factors that need to be considered, like will the climate suit you, are the laws very stringent, is the culture adaptable, are the transport systems going to be workable and, most importantly, is it affordable?

If you’re living in South Africa, climate doesn’t seem to be a bother, (unless you’re in Cape Town), the culture is diverse, e-tolls are everywhere and according to a Global Taxes report by CapRelo, the average South African earns $12 535 (R151 626) a year. With a 19% tax deduction, you’re taking home an average of $10 173 (R123 055) annually.

CapRelo is a global mobility and relocation management company. From a list of 41 countries it ranks Switzerland as number one, as it has the highest average pay and lowest tax rate. Your average take-home pay will be $85 718. With a tax deduction of 2%, you’d have $84 006 to spare. If you can brave the snow and the cold, Switzerland might as well be added to your bucket list.

A complete shift from the Swiss Alps is the land of spice and heat. CapRelo ranks India as having the lowest average take-home pay of only $1 670 but the bonus is that zero tax is deducted.

Second last, in terms of pay, is Indonesia. The average pay sits at $3 400, and with a 5% tax deduction you’ll have $3 230 a month to spend on the flavourful foods of the East.

Saudi Arabia, with all the oil the US wants and where Middle Eastern royalty sits, also falls within the zero-tax ranks. Take-home pay averages about $21 720. An inexpensive meal in Saudi Arabia would cost you about $5.33, according to

The USA on the other hand, deducts 18% tax on an average $64 154 of annual take-home pay. This leaves you with $52 344 to use for your living costs, take aways, Knicks tickets and Super Bowl games.

If running away to Australia has been on your to-do list, then you are likely to earn $59 538 on average. The government takes away 21% of that for taxes and you’re left with $46 78. You just have to get the accent right to fit in.

Practical rate at which the average US salary ($64 154) would be taxed in other countries: 

Source: CapRelo – Global taxes

Moving to the Nordic regions, Denmark has always been praised for its laws and free-education policy, but living there may not be as easy. Denmark’s tax rates are ranked the highest according to CapRelo. In USD, the average individual earns $64 310 a year but with a 56% tax deduction, you’ll have around $28 227 to spend. That’s a whole $36 083 difference. While the country may seem pretty, it’s also pretty unaffordable though social services and the safety net are among the best in the world.

Sweden falls in second behind Denmark in the high-tax region. If you decided to settle in Sweden, and lived in flat but picturesque Stockholm, your take-home pay would average at about $46 804 and after a hefty 52% tax deduction, you will have about $28 227 to spare. For interest’s sake, the price of a loaf of white bread there costs $3.01, according to Expat Arrivals. It ain’t cheap.

Living close to royalty in the United Kingdom means there’s an average take-home pay of $46 252. Your Highness will take away 13% of taxes, leaving you with $40 169. According to CapRelo that’s around $6 083 less than the original.

To be señor or señorita in Spain, you will earn on average $30 613 a year, minus 30% tax, so you’ve got $21 429 to spare.

On the other hand, if pizza and pasta are part of your staple diet now and you don’t mind making lifestyle changes for it, then in Italy your average annual take-home pay would be around $32 205. Take away 27% tax, and you’ve got about $23 510 left to spend.

If you fancy the French and have a taste for fine food, your average earnings would be around $40 718. The French government will take away 30% for taxes and you’ll be left with $28 503. That’s essentially a difference of $12 215. According to, your average monthly living cost would total $267.82. This includes gas, electricity and telephone bills, food and soirees.

Post-tax take home pay for average wages around the world in USD

Source: CapRelo

Moving over to the East, countries in Asia are gaining popularity for their teaching opportunities. If this is a dream of yours and you’re wondering if you will make the cut for living comfortably, here are the the stats:

The Japanese live off an average pay of $35 279 after a 10% tax deduction.

South Koreans earn $29 125 on average, the government deducts 12% tax and this leaves them with $25 754, which is relatively high compared with the Chinese.

In populated China, the average earning is $8 250. With a 12% tax deduction, you’re earning $1 003 less, which leaves you with $7 247 to survive. (Which helps since everything in China is quite cheap).

The world is your oyster, like they say, and you can take whatever opportunity you would like from it, but oysters are expensive and so is surviving.

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