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.
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).
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.
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”.