The 10 Most Expensive Cities In the World — Does Yours Rank?
This year's Worldwide Cost of Living results are out, and there's a new reigning champion for the most expensive city in the world. According to the study, conducted by The Economist's Intelligence Unit, Singapore is the most expensive city on the planet — at least when it comes to a certain set of items. The Worldwide Cost of Living index surveys 130 cities and takes into account the costs of groceries, alcohol and tobacco, personal care items, utilities, clothing, recreation, and transportation. The index excludes housing costs, school tuitions, and income taxes. New York City falls at number 26.
To tell you the truth, I didn't know much about Singapore until now, and primarily associated the place with its epic namesake dish, Singapore noodles (a curried vermicelli concoction happily found in many pan-Asian and Asian fusion restaurants). So you, like me, may also be wondering: what makes mysterious Singapore so damned expensive? For reference, New York City is pegged to the score of 100 on the Worldwide Cost of Living Index, while Singapore scores a staggering 130, indicating that it's 30% more expensive than NYC!
Singapore's cost of living win can be attributed to several different forces. Prices for consumer goods have risen due to rising demand and a reliance on imports to meet it; the Singaporean dollar has also experienced more inflation recently than historically. Because per capita income in Singapore is high, with many of its residents working in finance and business, the cost of clothing reflects preferences for high-end brands. And Singaporeans really get taken to the cleaners, transportation-wise:
Car buyers in Singapore must pay for excise and registration duties that more than double the vehicle’s market value. They must also bid for a limited number of permits that are auctioned by the government, a tool it uses to control pollution and congestion.
Yikes — this NYC subway card of mine has never looked so good. Oh, and more bad news for Singaporeans looking to drink away their financial woes: alcohol is up to twice as expensive in Singapore as it is in Tokyo, last year's winner of most expensive city. And remember, the index still doesn't include housing: although real estate markets have cooled off a bit recently in Singapore, you're looking at $10,000 per month or more to rent a three-bedroom in a decent area.
All of the sudden, I feel strangely content with New York City's cost of living. But if you personally feel as though NYC living has become financially too easy to manage, consider the other cities rounding out the top 10.
And the 10 cheapest cities in the survey? See below.
3. New Delhi
8. Panama City