These Are the 3 Most Expensive Cities in the World

One of the world’s most expensive cities to live in is on an island in southeast Asia. Two others that tie with it in cost are in France and China. The Economist Intelligence Unit has issued its Worldwide Cost of Living 2019 report. Among 133 cities covered, the top spots are owned by Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong.

While the survey takes into account typical costs like housing, it looks at more sophisticated factors as well. These include the values of currency. These affect cities with wild inflation or deflation the most. The worst case, the study reports, is Caracas in Venezuela. Inflation in the country was nearly 1,000,000% last year. Even much more stable economies like the United States can be affected. Last year, the strengthening of the dollar was an example.

The cost of living in all the cities is pegged off that cost in New York City, which is indexed at 100. Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong get a score of 107. They are followed by Zurich and Geneva at 106 and 101 respectively. Japan’s Osaka is at 101 as well. Also at 100 are Seoul and Copenhagen. In the ninth and 10th places, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv are at 99. The list of 10 stretches to 11 because of ties.

Currency prices and inflation have a large effect on the cities that fell the most in the ranking. Istanbul and Buenos Aires had the largest drops, down 48 places. This put Istanbul in 46th place and Buenos Aires in 41st place. The cities with the largest moves up were Noumea in New Caledonia, which rose 33 places to 87th, and Sofia in Bulgaria, up 29 spots to 58th.

The cheapest city to live in was Caracas in Venezuela, with a score of 15, which put it in 133rd place. Its position shows clearly the impact of both inflation and currency value. Damascus in Syria was in 132nd place with a score of 25.

The cost of living index includes several items that are not on most lists. Among them is the cost of a man’s two-piece suit and a woman’s haircut. The price of a bottle of beer and a loaf of bread are also included. But the biannual survey’s components are made of much more traditional items for the most part. These include “more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. These include food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help, and recreational costs.” More than 50,000 individual items’ costs are collected across all the cities.

The 10 Most Expensive Cities in the World

Country City Index Rank Change
Singapore Singapore 107 1 0
France Paris 107 1 1
China Hong Kong 107 1 3
Switzerland Zurich 106 4 −2
Switzerland Geneva 101 5 1
Japan Osaka 101 5 6
South Korea Seoul 100 7 −1
Denmark Copenhagen 100 7 1
U.S. New York 100 7 6
Israel Tel Aviv 99 10 −1
U.S. Los Angeles 99 10 4


The 10 Least Expensive Cities in the World

Country City Index Rank Change
Venezuela Caracas 15 133 −1
Syria Damascus 25 132 1
Uzbekistan Tashkent 33 131 −19
Kazakhstan Almaty 35 130 1
India Bangalore 39 129 0
Pakistan Karachi 40 127 0
Nigeria Lagos 40 127 3
Argentina Buenos Aires 41 125 −48
India Chennai 41 125 1
India New Delhi 43 123 1


Note: New York = 100

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