Financially Stressed Countries Index 2023

Nations feeling financial pressure

James McCay

Mar 21, 2023

Finances, bills and money are one of the biggest causes of stress in our lives, and the same is true in nations across the world. Watching your salary get chewed up by an increasing cost of living is enough to make anyone worried.

Mortgages and home loan repayments are perhaps the biggest source of financial stress to the average family, in addition to rent and the price of necessities. To get an understanding of which countries are feeling more financially stressed than others, the home loans experts at Compare the Market have crunched the numbers on property prices, rent, salary, unemployment rates and the average cost of living in 34 OECD countries.

Each country had a score assigned depending on how it performed across these metrics. The lower the score, the more financially stressed people in this country could feel.

Financially stressed countries index 2023

How did Australia compare?

Australia had a score of 6.19, ranking very highly and tying with Belgium for seventh place on the index. Australia scored well on monthly salary at US$3,759, which was the third-highest of all 34 countries. Australia had the tenth-lowest unemployment rate at 3.70% which also helped it rank well.

One area where Australia scored poorly was on average monthly rent. Australia had the second-most expensive average rent per month at US$2,436, coming behind the USA at US$2,775 per month.

How comparing home loans can minimise some financial stress

A mortgage to pay for a home can be one of the largest causes of financial stress, as it requires a serious long-term investment to keep a roof over your head. Compare the Market’s General Manager of Money, Stephen Zeller, says that comparing home loans can make a significant difference to your financial stress.

“Comparing your options and finding a better deal could be the difference between sinking or swimming when it comes to your loan repayments,” says Zeller. “Even what seems like a minor improvement in your rate could mean a difference of thousands of dollars over the course of your home loan.”

“Comparing options can also help you look at other aspects of a mortgage like application fees, offset accounts, payment schedules and redraw facilities. It only takes a few minutes and can make a huge impact on your finances when you proceed to apply for a mortgage.”


We analysed five different sets of data for 34 OECD countries. For each of these five metrics, the country was given a score out of 10. The lower the score, the worse a country performed for that dataset. A weighted average was then calculated using these five different scores for each country, with 50% weighting for the average salary and 50% for the remaining scores. The list below links to each source and explains what each point of data means:

N.B. Some of these data sources are regularly updated and are subject to change. Data is correct as of 06/02/2023.

* Finland’s average monthly rent data was missing from the data source listed above. For the purposes of our calculations, Finland was given an average score for that metric based on all other countries included in the index when calculating a score out of 10.