What are the most expensive cities to live in?

Since 1992, Tokyo has been the most expensive city in the world for all but six years.

Story highlights

  • Sydney, Melbourne big movers
  • Caracas the most expensive city in the Americas
  • Asia-Pacific cities dominate the top 20

Despite Japanese deflation, a weaker yen and rising prices throughout the world, Tokyo has resumed its position as the world's most expensive city, according to the latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Tokyo took over from the Swiss city of Zurich, which dropped to seventh. Australian cities were among the biggest movers in the top 10 most expensive cities.

A strong local currency powered Sydney (third) and Melbourne (equal fourth) up four places each from the previous year, while Singapore rose three places to sixth.

Asian cities now make up 11 of the world's 20 most expensive cities. This compares to eight from Europe and highlights a trend of the cost of living increasing in the Asia-Pacific region. No U.S. city made the top 20.

The Venezuelan city of Caracas rose 25 places to ninth, making it the most expensive city across the Americas. The EIU report linked the climb to price volatility (inflation has reached 20 percent) and fixed exchange rates to the U.S. dollar.

According to the survey, the Canadian city of Vancouver is the most expensive location in North America, at position 21. Los Angeles and New York City tie at 27th as the most expensive U.S. cities.

South Asian locations dominated the cheapest cities to live in.

The Worldwide Cost of Living survey is released twice a year by the EIU and compares hundreds of prices across 160 products and services, including items such as food, drink, rentals, utility bills, schooling costs and household supplies.

Top 10 most expensive cities

1. Tokyo, Japan (+1 place)
2. Osaka, Japan (+1)
3. Sydney, Australia (+4)
=4. Oslo, Norway (+1)
=4. Melbourne, Australia (+4)
6. Singapore (+3)
7. Zurich, Switzerland (-6)
8. Paris, France (-2)
9. Caracas, Venezuela (+25)
10. Geneva, Switzerland (-7)

Top 10 least expensive cities
=1. Karachi, Pakistan
=1. Mumbai, India
3. New Delhi, India
4. Kathmandu, Nepal
=5. Algiers, Algeria
=5. Bucharest, Romania
7. Colombo, Sri Lanka
8. Panama City, Panama
9. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
10. Tehran, Iran

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