- Cities from just 4 countries - USA, China, Switzerland, and the UK - comprise the top 10 list of most expensive cities.
- The median price of international schools in 43 cities has risen. While in many cities the increases are minimal, in others they are significant.
- The least expensive city for international school fees this year is Ipoh - Perak in Malaysia.
- In Europe, Copenhagen remains the least expensive city for international education. In Africa the cheapest median prices for international schools are in Cape Town, and in the Americas it is Lima in Peru.
At the International Schools Database, we help local and expat parents choose the perfect international school for their children. Our database allows parents to find, research and compare international schools in cities across the world. Naturally, this means that we gather and analyse a huge amount of information about international schools.
Starting in 2019, we began using this data to evaluate the prices of international schools across the globe. We are now in our fourth year of this project, and we have been able to pinpoint certain price trends such as the most expensive regions, the regions with the biggest variety of prices, and more.
Below, we have analysed the worldwide price data from 76 cities in 50 countries, in graph and table forms. While we have used all price data available to us as of Dec 31st 2022, there may be additional schools and prices not included in each city, because they do not make their price data available or it is unknown to us. Links to additional research focusing in each of the regions individually can be found at the bottom of this article and here can be found the results of the previous year 2021.
Worldwide Prices of International Schools Per Year
The graph below is known as a box plot graph. It shows a comprehensive view of the range of prices in each city, instead of just an average, as a single average price may not necessarily represent the full picture of prices in each destination. Since there is a lot to unpack in this graph, we have also provided a little explanation on how to read the graph easily at the end of the article.
Highlights and takeaways from the research findings
New York City remains the most expensive metropolis in the world for international schooling. In fact, it has gotten even more expensive since 2021 with maximum prices topping $60,000 per year for the first time. ‘The Big Apple’ is not the only US city in this situation however - San Francisco Bay Area is also the 4th most expensive city when it comes to international school costs. China has a total of four cities in the top 10 most expensive on our list (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou), while Switzerland follows with 3 (Zurich, Lausanne-Vaud and Geneva). London, a new entry to the top 10 last year, has risen three places to become the 7th most expensive city in the world for international schools.
Of the 76 cities included in this year’s analysis, 43 showed an increase in median price since last year. In most cases this increase was marginal or below 10%, however the median price in certain cities increased beyond this - up to 19% in Panama City, 17% in Istanbul, 16% in Vienna and 12% in Guangzhou. Many factors, which will differ from country to country, could have caused this.
On the other side of the coin, the median price also reduced in several cities. Of the top 10 least expensive cities for international school costs, the median cost slightly reduced in 8 (Valencia, Penang, Johannesburg, Kampala, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, Copenhagen, Casablanca and Cape Town). Two notable exceptions regarding cost decreases are Sofia, which decreased by over 30%, and Johor Bahru, which decreased by 22%. Again, many factors which could be unique to each individual country may have contributed to these decreases.
In our analysis for 2022 we added four new cities - Riga, Vilnius, Bali and Ipoh - Perak, which shows the increasing demand for international schools in these destinations. Ipoh - Perak in Malaysia is currently the least expensive city for international schooling in the world, with Bali not far behind as the 10th least expensive. Riga on the other hand is much higher in the list, making it into the top 20 most expensive cities at position 17, while Vilnius stands at 51st position in the full list of cities. It will be interesting to see how this changes over the coming years.
You can find a breakdown of exact prices for each city in the table below. But if you’d like even more analysis, we have also compiled price data by region; you can find links to this additional research at the bottom of this article. If you require any further information or have additional questions, don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.