When you look at how much money people make around the world, salaries can only show part of the picture. In practically every country, workers give up a chunk of their paycheck to the government. So after taxes, which citizens get to hold onto the biggest slice of their pie? These graphics from the company relocation program CapRelo lay it out, analyzing what people making the average wage in a number of countries can expect to pay in taxes each year.
The countries with the highest tax rates in the world can all be found in Europe. In Belgium, workers give up 45 percent of the average wage, while in Sweden, they pay 52 percent, and in Denmark, they pay 56 percent. But not every nation on the continent follows this trend. In Switzerland, employees making the average wage pay just 2 percent in taxes, one of the lowest rates in the world. The only citizens that pay less are in India and Saudi Arabia, where the tax rates are 0 percent.
Lower taxes don’t necessarily equal bigger paychecks. Though Denmark pays the most taxes, the average take-home salary ($28,227) is still higher than it is in Saudi Arabia ($21,720) and India ($1,670). But workers in Switzerland enjoy the biggest wages after taxes by far, with an average take-home salary of $84,006. The runner-up is the U.S., with an average take-home salary of $52,344.
Of course, these figures don’t take the cost of living into account. Citizens paying less in taxes are often forced to spend that money on benefits they would receive from the government in other countries. In Switzerland, for example, you have to pay to drive on motorways, while in the U.S., most highways are maintained using government funds. Meanwhile, the U.S. is one of the few developed nations that doesn’t offer universal healthcare. And while Swedes may pay a lot in taxes, thanks to generous government subsidies, they also pay some of the world’s lowest rates for childcare. So be sure you consider all the factors before picking a new place to live based on tax rate.