In March 2017, we examined the most expensive city in the world in which to live. Today, we review the most recent study of the most and least expensive cities worldwide.

But first, let us define the term “cost of living.” To do so, we turn to Investopedia:

“Cost of living (CofL) is the amount of money needed to sustain a certain standard of living. It includes basic expenses such as housing, food, taxes, and health care. And CofL can compare how much it costs to live in one city versus another locale. The cost of living links with wages. Because we measure salary levels against the expenses for a basic standard of living throughout specific geographic region.”

“A cost of living index compares the CofL in a major city with a corresponding metropolitan area. The index incorporates the expense of various components that comprise basic human needs. Thus, it creates an aggregate measure to which entrants into the workforce may refer. As college grads weigh job alternatives and others  consider relocation, the index provides an informative snapshot of rental, transportation, and grocery costs.”



Most and Least Expensive Cities Worldwide

For 5 years now, the Economist Intelligence Unit has researched costs of living around the global. In the most recent study, the prices of more than 150 items in 133 cities were compared:


Ten Most Expensive Cities

“Singapore was 16% more expensive than the benchmark city of New York. Three other cities from the Asia-Pacific region (Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney) appear in the top ten, along with five cities from Europe. Paris, the only euro-area city among them, has risen from seventh position last year to second.”

Despite common perceptions, NO United States city appeared in the top ten.

Most and Least Expensive Cities Worldwide -- Top Ten


City Ranking by Region

Africa — The seven African cities ranked from 77 to 130 out of the 133 cities studied.

Asia-Pacific — Seven Asia-Pacific cities ranked among the fourteen most expensive cities. Eight ranked greater than one hundred. Thus, Asia-Pacific is a region of extremes.

Eastern Europe — The eleven Eastern European cities ranked from 82 to 131.

Latin America — Among Latin American cities, only four ranked among the top half of cities studied. But the other ten ranked from 77 to 132.

Middle East — Tel Aviv ranked among the top ten most expensive cities. And Damascus ranked as the least expensive city in the study.

North America — Only two North American cities ranked among the twenty most expensive. Seven others ranked among the top fifty.

Western Europe — In contrast with the rather inexpensive cities in Eastern Europe, many Western European cities ranked among the most expensive. Five cities ranked among the ten most expensive. And altogether, TEN Western European cities ranked among the twenty most expensive.

Most and Least Expensive Cities Worldwide -- All Nations Studied

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