The most expensive cities in the world – The Post


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L’Economist published every year Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, a ranking of the cost of living in various cities around the world, which determines which are the most expensive and the cheapest. This year, Singapore and Zurich, two cities that have historically always been considered the most expensive, came out on top. Geneva is in third place. At the bottom of the ranking are cities in medium-poor countries where the cost of living is linked to a lack of economic development or a complex political situation such as wars and authoritarian regimes: in last place is Damascus in Syria, followed by Tehran in Iran and Tripoli in Libya.

For two years now, the ranking has been quite distorted by inflation, i.e. by the fact that prices are still rising everywhere and to varying degrees depending on the country from mid-2021: surveyEconomistconducted between August 14 and September 11, found that prices of the products under review rose by an average of 7.4 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

The ranking is based on the development of an index that summarizes the prices of more than 200 commonly used products representing the cost of living, such as food, drink, clothing, bills, household and personal care items, rent and mortgages, transport, schools. fees, restaurant dinners, movie tickets and so on. The benchmark is the cost of living in the city of New York, notoriously one of the most expensive in the world, which has an index equal to 100 and which is the basis for all others: cities with an index above 100 are more expensive on average, on the contrary, those with an index below 100 they are cheaper.

Cost of Living Index. Source: Economist

Only the cities in the first two places of the ranking, namely Singapore and Zurich, which have a score of 104, are more expensive than New York.

Singapore has ranked as the most expensive place to live in 9 out of the last 11 years: the most expensive goods include food, alcohol and clothing. Owning a car is also very expensive because the government has imposed quite high taxes on owning a vehicle, which can exceed $100,000.

Singapore Financial Center (Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

Zurich is also a city historically considered very expensive: in 2020 it was the first in the ranking and it always ranks in the top ten. Compared to last year, it increased by five positions, mainly thanks to the strong appreciation of the Swiss franc: over the past year, the currency has gained more than 10 percent against the dollar.

This affects the ranking a lot, because comparisons between cities are made with prices in dollars: and the Swiss franc has a higher value, so more and more dollars are needed to live in Zurich. Regardless of this recent factor, Zurich is still a city where living in general is very expensive: among the components that penalize it the most are the price of food, the cost of houses and the cost of going to clubs and restaurants.

Historic Center of Zurich (Joern Pollex/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

In third place is Geneva, tied with New York. This was followed by Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris, Copenhagen, Tel Aviv and San Francisco. Overall, there are three Asian cities, three American and four European cities in the top ten.

To find an Italian city, you have to go below the first twenty positions in the ranking: Milan is twenty-second with 80 points; Rome is 50th with 72. They are the only two Italian cities trackedEconomist.

– Read also: Why are house prices so high in Milan?

American cities are on average the ones that have lost the most positions compared to last year, as inflation has been lower than in other countries. The opposite occurred in Latin American and Western European cities, where inflation was higher on average. The cities that rose the most in the rankings are, in order: Santiago de Querétaro and Aguascalientes in Mexico, which gained 10 positions, and San Josè in Costa Rica, with 9; then it’s all European cities like Berlin, Luxembourg, Manchester, Prague, Lyon, Rotterdam and Stuttgart.

The cheapest city in the ranking is, just like last year, Damascus: it has a score of 13 points, which means that living there costs just over a tenth of what it does in New York. And this despite the fact that prices in local currency increased by 321 percent in one year (that is, more than fourfold). Above Damascus is Tehran with 20 points and Tripoli with 23 points. The last three cities are particularly economical when it comes to food, as well as household and personal care products.

– Read also: Cities threatened by a real estate bubble


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