10 of The Most Expensive Cities In The World To Live

Published 2 years ago on August 9, 2017
By Vincent

Living cheap 'ain't easy (just ask any New Yorker) but there are some places in the world where that is harder than others, and somewhere it is much, much easier. However, thanks to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, which surveys over 150 different goods in 133 cities around the world, we now know which cities are the cheapest and which are the most expensive.

Here we look at the 10 most expensive major cities in the world.

10. Copenhagen - Denmark

The quality of life is incredibly high in the Danish capital and, as such, so is the cost of living. This is partly because wages are so high and thus prices of goods and services reflect that and Copenhagen has some of the highest gross wages in the world.High taxes mean that wages are reduced after mandatory deduction. A beneficial researcher scheme with low taxation of foreign specialists has made Denmark an attractive location for foreign labor. 

One of the happiest places in the world, perhaps cost of living is just something that comes with that.

9. New York - USA

Sorry New Yorker's but it's just a fact, you all live in tiny flats, and everything is expensive! But as only one of two AAA+++ rated cities in the world (the other being London which is 24th most expensive to live in) the financial investments, theater, arts and culture you attract are all extremely costly.


But,  If New York State were an independent nation, it would rank as the 12th or 13th largest economy in the world, depending upon international currency fluctuations and most of that comes from NYC.

8. Paris - France

The rich and the poor living cheek by jowl, Paris has both some of the richest and poorest suburbs in France. The majority of Paris's salaried employees fill 370,000 businesses services jobs with 68 percent of employees in the City of Paris working in commerce, transportation, and services.

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This relative wealth makes things extremely pricey as well as the inflation that comes with being an incredibly popular tourist destination as well as a capital city.

7. Geneva - Switzerland

Switzerland is renowned for being one of the most expensive countries in the world, and this is, in part, due to the immense wealth in the country as well as the extremely high quality of life.

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Mainly services and finance orientated, the economy of Geneva is aimed at the super-wealthy and as such prices reflect that.

6. Seoul - South Korea

The capital of South Korea is known for its tech innovations that work in and around the traditional nucleus of the city, and the advanced city is quite costly because of it.

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The traditional, labour-intensive manufacturing industries have been continuously replaced by information technology, electronics and assembly-type of industries, wages are good, and the competitiveness of the city makes it quite pricey.

5. Osaka - Japan

A major economic hub for Japan with commerce, services, and manufacturing being the three major industries. Attracting many expatriates, Osaka plays a vital role in the global economy.

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Osaka has started to garner more attention from foreigners with the increased popularity of cooking and dining in popular culture, being noted for its particularly fine whiskeys and these are often marketed at the wealthier echelons of society.

4. Tokyo - Japan

The second Japanese city to make the list is its capital, and part of the reason behind the expense of these cities is that they are incredibly wealthy in an otherwise relatively poor continent and the advanced nature of Japan's technology and industry ups prices.

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Tokyo emerged as a leading international financial center (IFC) in the 1960s and has been described as one of the three "command centers" for the world economy, along with New York City and London.

3. Zurich - Switzerland

A transport hub in the middle of Europe, Zurich, like Geneva, caters for those who can afford luxury and so its incredibly high quality of life is only accessible by those who can afford it.


Zürich is a leading global city and among the world's largest financial centers despite having a relatively small population.

2. Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Government has traditionally played a mostly passive role in the economy, with little by way of industrial policy and almost no import or export controls. Market forces and the private sector were allowed to determine practical development.

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As such, the nature of capitalism meant that Hong Kong catered to the higher end of the pay scale and prices are high because of it.

1. Singapore

Singapore has a highly developed market economy, based historically on extended entrepôt trade and because it is a city-state, it has to be self-sustaining and thus has built its economy around luxury shopping and finance.

Singapore traditionally has one of the lowest unemployment rates among developed countries and acute poverty is rare. All these factors add up to more expensive living conditions.

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