The Most Expensive Cities In The World Make New York City Look Like A Picnic

A general view of the financial district skyline is reflected in a pond in Singapore on March 6, 2014 in Singapore. Singapore played down a global survey showing that it is now the world's most expensive city, a finding which has triggered outrage among Singaporeans struggling with rising costs. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Living in a major city often means watching your bank account slowly bleed dry and learning how far you can stretch $20. Although all major cities are costly, some are much worse than others — a survey of global metropolises found that Singapore is the world's most expensive city, actually out-pricing New York City in most areas except for housing costs. The survey, which was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), compared 133 cities worldwide, using New York City as a base, and measured the cost of 160 services, including food, clothing, transportation, and recreation. 

Following Singapore, the next most expensive places to live are Paris, Oslo, Zurich, and Sydney in descending order. New York City on the other hand, ranked 22nd. The top five cities remained unchanged from last year, which the EIU says is "very rare." Singapore replaced Tokyo as the No. 1 spot in 2013, and now the Japanese capital is ranked 11th. The survey did not take into account the Swiss franc's increase in value when it abandoned the euro cap in January; otherwise, Zurich would likely have ranked as the most expensive city. 

Singapore's most costly aspects are groceries, clothes, and transportation — the steep cost of buying a car and getting a driver's license makes transportation three times more expensive than New York City, basic groceries cost 11 percent more, and clothes cost 50 percent more, according to the survey. However, the transportation costs aren't much more expensive for people who take public transportation rather than drive.

What else makes Singapore and the other top five cities so expensive? Let's compare a few aspects of the cost of living to New York City for a single person without a car. 

New York City

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in city center: $2,672

Monthly transportation metro pass: $112 

One liter of milk: $1.47

Singapore

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in city center: $2,223

Monthly transportation metro pass: $139

One liter of milk: $2.08

Paris

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in city center: $1,256

Monthly transportation metro pass: $75

One liter of milk: $1.06.

Oslo

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in city center: $1,420

Monthly transportation metro pass: $84

One liter of milk: $1.93

Zurich

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in city center: $1,967

Monthly transportation metro pass: $84

One liter of milk: $1.64

Sydney

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in city center: $1,801

Monthly transportation metro pass: $115

One liter of milk: $1.12

Images: Getty Images (6)

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