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HomeInformationCost-of-living ranking classifies the most and least expensive cities
Worldwide cost of living index 2013

Cost-of-living ranking classifies the most and least expensive cities

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After currency swings pushed Zurich to the top of the ranking last year, Tokyo has resumed its place as the world´s most expensive city. This is a familiar position for the Japanese capital which has been the world´s most expensive city for all but a handful of the last 20 years. In fact, since 1992 Tokyo has been the ranking city in every year bar six. Only Zurich, Paris and Oslo were dubbed the world´s most expensive city during this time.

This comes despite a fall in the relative cost of living in Tokyo (against the base city of New York) due
to Japanese deflation, a weaker yen and rising prices elsewhere in the world. In Switzerland, efforts to
weaken the franc meant that the relative fall in Zurich and Geneva was much stronger. In fact, relative
to New York, the two Swiss cities saw the steepest declines of all 131 cities surveyed. Zurich experienced
an index decline of 39 percentage points, falling from the world’s most expensive city 12 months ago to
its seventh most expensive now. A 33-percentage-point decline prompted Geneva to fall seven places to
tenth place.

The ten most expensive
Tokyo 
Osaka 
Sydney 
Oslo 
Melbourne
Singapore 
Zurich 
Paris
Caracas 
Geneva 

The cheapest cities in the ranking have a familiar feel to them, both in terms of geography and consistency. While Asia is home to over half of the world’s 20 most expensive cities, the region is also home to six of the ten cheapest cities. Within Asia it is also possible to drill down to the geographic area offering the lowest prices. Five of the bottom ten (and six of the bottom eleven) cities hail from the Indian subcontinent (defined as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka). Mumbai and Karachi are the joint cheapest locations in the survey, with indices of just 44 when compared with New York.


The ten least expensive

Tehran

Jeddah

Panama City

Colombo 

Bucharest 

Algiers 

Kathmandu 

New Delhi 

Mumbai 

Karachi

Report available in The Economist.

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