Shanghai now more expensive than New York
Tokyo is still the world’s most expensive city to live in and Oslo and Osaka still make the top five, but the Worldwide Cost of Living 2011 survey just released from the Economist Intelligence Unit also revealed some dramatic changes in the last year.
Australia has become one of the biggest risers, with the strong Aussie dollar lifting costs in Sydney (6th most expensive city), Melbourne (7th), Perth (13th) and Brisbane (14th) to their highest levels.
Europe accounts for half the top 50 most expensive cities, with Paris in fourth spot, Zurich in fifth and Frankfurt and Geneva in eighth and ninth.
The survey shows how economies have shifted over the past 10 years, with especially Asian cities becoming cheaper. Hong Kong, from third place 10 years ago is now 22nd, Shanghai falls from 16th to 48th and Beijing falls from 11th to 64th.
Some Asian countries whose economies have shifted up the gears have bucked this trend however. Bangkok, the 108th most expensive city in 2001 is now the 66th. Jakarta moves up 35 spots from 2001 to 77th.
American cities have also generally moved down the rankings, with New York only just squeaking into the top 50, in 49th spot. New York is now cheaper than Chicago and Los Angeles while Atlanta, the United States' cheapest city, is on a par with Kiev in Ukraine.
“Although inflation in Japan has been stagnant for a long time, the rapid strengthening of the Yen in recent years has fuelled the relative cost of living in Japanese cities," says Jon Copestake, editor of the Worldwide Cost of Living survey. "This trend is also evidenced by the contrary movement of other Asian cities. Hong Kong and China, which peg their currencies to the US dollar, have seen the relative cost of living fall as the US dollar has declined from highs of 2001.
“That said, many of these cities have seen local inflation rising and it is interesting to note that Shanghai has now become a more expensive location than New York and Washington DC in the United States."
Top 10 cities in Worldwide Cost of Living Index
Bottom 5 cities
129. New Delhi
Some interesting comparisons:
A loaf of bread costs:
US$7.61 in Moscow
US$7.42 in Tokyo
US$6.06 in New York
US$3.35 in Berlin
US$2.36 in London
A pack of cigarettes costs:
US$15.11 in Oslo
US$10.79 in London
US$8.99 in New York
US$5.99 in Madrid
US$1.85 in Moscow
A daily business trip costs:
(Where daily business trip comprises one night's accommodation in a hotel, one two-course meal, one simple meal, two five-kilometer journeys by taxi, one drink in the hotel bar and one international foreign daily newspaper)
US$746.21 in New York
US$626.87 in Sydney
US$610 in Paris
US$554.87 in Hong Kong
US$518.20 in London
US$452.28 in Singapore
US$375.46 in Tokyo
US$315.62 in Mexico City
Notable points in the 2011 survey:
- The biggest rise in the past twelve months is Budapest, Hungary, up 17 places to 76
- The sharpest drop is Istanbul, Turkey, down 24 places to 52
- American cities generally drop down the rankings -- New York is now the 49th most costly world city
- Australia’s five main cities all rise, with four now in the top 15
- Half of the top 50 most expensive cities in the world are in Europe