Economist Intelligence Unit names Singapore world's most expensive city to live in 2016
The city-state has high costs for clothing, car ownership and utilities
U.S. cities moved up in the rankings, with New York and Los Angeles both in the top 10
New York and Los Angeles have shot up the rankings. London has pushed into the Top 10. But Singapore is still the world’s most expensive city. It’s just topped the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2016 Worldwide Cost of Living survey, making that the third year in a row.
The gap is closing between Singapore and the next two cities in the rankings, however.
Zurich, Switzerland, and Hong Kong are hot on its heels in joint second place, with Hong Kong leaping seven places up the ranking in the last twelve months. London, New York and Los Angeles moved up to sixth, seventh and eight place, with New York in its highest position since 2002.
In fact, New York has gotten a lot more pricey in the past five years – rising a huge 42 places since 2011.
The annual report, which ranks 133 cities based on a twice-yearly survey, notes Singapore’s high transport and utility costs.
“It is the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car, thanks to Singapore’s complex Certificate of Entitlement system,” it says. And don’t think you can escape it by hopping on public transport.
Transportation costs in Singapore are 2.7 times higher than in New York. However, for basic groceries, Singapore is cheaper than its Asian neighbors Seoul (33% more expensive), Hong Kong (28%) and Tokyo (26%).
“Value for money can be found by those who seek it,” the report concludes.
As for the rise of U.S. cities New York and Los Angeles, the EIC credits “currency headwinds rather than significant local price rises.” In fact, “With the falling cost of oil and a strong U.S. dollar pushing down prices, local inflation has been relatively low across the U.S.”
World’s 10 most expensive cities
2. Zurich, Switzerland
2. Hong Kong
4. Geneva, Switzerland
7. New York
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
8. Seoul, South Korea
8. Los Angeles
Asia has six of the cheapest cities on the 133-city survey. Four of the cities in the bottom 10 are in India: New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.
Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, is the least expensive city on the list.
In Venezuela, meanwhile, “the adoption of multiple exchange rates has made pricing Caracas nearly impossible,” says the report.
Caracas has been pushed down to the bottom 10 despite being in the top 10 a couple of years ago.
“If the cost of living was calculated using the official rate, Caracas would be more than four times more expensive than New York. Conversely, if black market rates applied then it would be almost 10 times cheaper than New York,” the EIU explained.
World’s 10 least expensive cities
124. Damascus, Syria
124. Caracas, Venezuela
126. New Delhi
127. Almaty, Kazakhstan
127. Algiers, Algeria
127. Chennai, India
127. Karachi, Pakistan
131. Mumbai, India
132. Bangalore, India
133. Lusaka, Zambia
The Worldwide Cost of Living survey is released twice a year by the EIU.
It compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services in 133 cities, including food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal-care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.
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In total, more than 50,000 individual prices are collected in each survey.
“The cost-of-living index uses an identical set of weights that is internationally based and not geared toward the spending pattern of any specific nationality,” says the EIU. “Items are individually weighted across a range of categories and a comparative index is produced using the relative difference by weighted item.”