These Countries Have the Most Affordable Booze and Vice Prices in the World


There's a lot to consider before moving to a new place. For example, how much will you need to earn per year to afford a house there? What are the job prospects? Most importantly, though, you should figure out just how much it's going to cost to stock up on booze and whatever other vices you partake in. 

Fortunately, the curious folks at Bloomberg did the research and have unveiled their annual Global Vice Index, which ranks the affordability of everything from booze, to drugs, to cigarettes in countries all over the world.

Although it sounds a bit cheeky for an esteemed publication like Bloomberg to be telling people where their drug money will stretch the furthest, the Global Vice Index is actually intended to serve as an economic indicator by gauging how affordable a weekly habit of booze, drugs, and cigarettes is relative to the average weekly income in a given country. It considers a weekly "basket" of vices one might partake in and compares the cost of that to average wages. Specifically, the GVI "basket" includes average retail prices for the following: a pack of cigarettes, a bottle of alcohol (including beer, wine, and liquor), a gram of "amphetamine-type stimulants" (meth and/or ecstasy), a gram of cannabis, a gram of cocaine, and a gram of opioids. All data was sourced from the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund.

This year, Luxembourg topped the rankings as the place where a vice habit is cheapest relative to income, costing less than 10% of the $2,071 average weekly wage there. The Bahamas took the no. 2 spot, where a habit costs just under 16% of a weekly paycheck, while Switzerland, Iceland, and France ranked third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. Meanwhile, getting your fix in Ukraine is wildly expensive, costing average residents 13 times their weekly salary. Prices are similarly steep for people in Pakistan, Nepal, and Burkina Faso. As for the United States, after taking the 17th spot last year, it dropped to 38 in 2018, with a vice habit eating up a cool 54% of a weekly wage these days.

In terms of the gross cost of a weekly habit, only three countries clocked in above $1,000: Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. Alternately, that same "basket" costs less than $100 in places like Dominican Republic, Ghana, Congo, Colombia, South Africa, Guatemala, Kenya, and Myanmar.

If you're curious where else you can get naughty for cheap, here are the top 25 most (relatively) affordable countries for booze, drugs, and the like.

25. South Korea
24. Hong Kong
23. Finland
22. Dominican Republic
21. Sweden
20. Portugal
19. Italy
18. Israel
17. Spain
16. United Kingdom
15. Panama
14. Uruguay
13. Austria
12. Ireland
11. Chile
10. Belgium
9. Denmark
8. Germany
7. Netherlands
6. Norway
5. France
4. Iceland
3. Switzerland
2. Bahamas
1. Luxembourg

As Bloomberg makes clear, the index isn't meant to be a judgment of morality or legality in a given place, and it doesn't track gambling, prostitution, or any other activities you might otherwise lump in the realm of "vice". It's also worth noting that narcotics prices are notoriously difficult to track (since they're pretty much illegal everywhere) and countries with missing data weren't included in the roundup.

So, uh, anyone else is scoping out job prospects in Western Europe?


Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.