Every year various organizations come up with lists of the most expensive cities in the world. Some of these organizations are CNBC, UBS Bank, Mercer, ECL International, Economist, Forbes, etc. They employ different yardsticks to measure the cost of living in different cities. One of the methods is to convert local prices into US dollars. So, the cost of living in cities outside the US dollar zone becomes more expensive if the dollar depreciates against local currencies. The surveys often have different cities at different ranks in their lists, primarily because of the mode of comparison used. Some surveys take the cost of real-estate as a benchmark, while some may compare the prices of gasoline, rice, hamburger, etc. Some of the latest surveys employ a method known as Apple iPod index to determine the cost of living in a city. Apple iPod index calculates the number of hours an individual needs to work in order to buy an iPod. All these modes of comparison yield different results, so what we have tried to so is to make a generalized list of the most expensive cities in the world.
The Expensive Cities
The Expensive Cities
- Luanda, Angola
Although 57% of Angolans live in poverty, Luanda the capital of Angola is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Angola which is rich in oil resources is recovering from a 27 year old civil war which destroyed its infrastructure. Most of the goods have to be imported. While over a 60% of the population lives on less than $2 per day, a decent apartment can cost as much as $10,000 and for lunch one has to shell out $100.
- Tokyo, Japan
It is not surprising that Tokyo is up there on the list as it also is one of the world's most densely populated cities. Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, has more than 13 million people living in 2000 square kilometers, which means housing prices are always high. Also, it is often hit by earthquakes and cannot build skyscrapers, further increasing the land prices.
- Oslo, Norway
In Oslo, the capital of Norway, the government has levied high tax on imported items and alcohol, tobacco, etc. So, a pint of beer will cost you anywhere up to $14. Oslo, also has a dearth of hotels, so tourists have to pay relatively high for accommodation and food.
- Nagoya, Japan
Nagoya is Japan's fourth most populous city and 44% of world's automobiles are made there. The cost of 1 kg rice is $9.14 in this city. It is home to companies like Toyota, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, etc., making it one of the world's busiest cities for business.
- Yokohama, Japan
It is known for its shipping, biotechnology and semiconductor industries. To have a hearty meal and a can of beer, one has to shell out around $30 in Yokohama.
- Stavanger, Norway
This seaside city is known as Norway's petroleum capital as it has huge oil resources ― courtesy North Sea. Most of the expats living in Norway say that the food expenses are about 50% higher than other countries in Europe.
- N'Djamena, Chad
Years of civil war made foreign investors skeptical about investing in the country. With no capital from foreign investors, the demand for the most basic items is highly making it one of the most expensive cities in the world.
- Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich is the commercial capital of Switzerland and a major business center of the world. With most of the prestigious educational institutions, it attracts top minds from across the globe. The steep rise in inflation rate has also made Zurich one of the most costliest cities.
- Copenhagen, Denmark
Because of the strong economy and comparatively high wages, Copenhagen also gets a place in this list. The city is home to a numerous international head offices and is host to a large number of expatriates.
- Geneva, Switzerland
The headquarters of United Nations and Red Cross are in Geneva. It is the world's capital for international diplomacy and cooperation. Housing in Geneva is expensive with a two bedroom luxury apartment costing $4010 per month.
- New York
- Los Angeles
- White Plains
- San Francisco