These are the most expensive cities in the world to live in

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Sarah Shaffi
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Croissants and coffee - a typical Parisian breakfast. Image: Getty

From food to haircuts, this survey takes a look at what it costs to really live in a city.

If it seems like everything is getting more expensive, well, that’s because it is. And evidence of that can be found in a survey which ranks the world’s most expensive cities.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s biannual Worldwide Cost of Living Survey has just been released, and for the first time three cities share the title of the world’s priciest to live in.

The survey compares the cost of living in more than 130 cities worldwide, examining 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. This includes the average prices for a women’s haircut, a loaf of bread and a bottle of beer.

Elevated view of business district at sunset, Singapore. Image: Getty

Singapore has company in the top spot for world’s most expensive city

And although you’d think London would take one of the top spots, the three most expensive cities in the world are actually Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris.

Singapore maintained its ranking from the previous year. On average, a women’s haircut there costs $96.01 (approximately £72), a loaf bread costs $3.40 (approximately £2.50) and a bottle of beer $2.37 (approximately £1.80).

Elevated view of Eiffel Tower and Paris skyline at sunset, France. Image: Getty

A loaf of bread costs £4 on average in Paris

A haircut and bread are more expensive in Paris - $119.04 (£90) and $5.66 (£4) - while a bottle of beer is slightly cheaper at $2.10 (£1.60). In Hong Kong a haircut is $112.10 (£84.50), a loaf of bread $3.91 (£2.95) and a bottle of beer $1.77 (£1.30).

The top 10 is dominated by Asia and Europe, with Zurich, Geneva, Osaka in Japan, Seoul in South Korea and Copenhagen taking the next five spots. The top 10 is rounded out by New York and Tel Aviv.

A beautiful scenery seen from Hong Kong Victoria peak with the unique cluster architectures building during sunrise with vista overlooking across the glittering concrete city of it many iconic landmark tower and skyscrapers with high rise apartment blocks towards Kowloon view taken by my canon 6D during December 2017 holiday trip , China. Image: Getty

Hong Kong joins Singapore and Paris as the most expensive city in the world

The report said: “When looking at the most expensive cities by category, Asian cities tend to be the priciest locations for general grocery shopping. European cities tend to have the highest costs in the household, personal care, recreation and entertainment categories—with Zurich and Geneva the most expensive in these categories—perhaps reflecting a greater premium on discretionary spending.”

The report also looked at the cheapest cities in the world to live in, with Caracas in Venezuela coming first because of a “significant worsening of economic conditions in 2018, with hyperinflation and a breakdown in public services fuelling growing unrest”.

Other cheap cities include Karachi in Pakistan, Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Almaty in Kazakhstan and Lagos in Nigeria, all of which have faced political, economic and security challenges. The report said that, put simply, “cheaper cities also tend to be less liveable”.

Images: Getty


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Sarah Shaffi

Sarah Shaffi is a freelance journalist and editor. She reads more books a week than is healthy, and balances this out with copious amounts of TV. She writes regularly about popular culture, particularly how it reflects and represents society.

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