The current recession, in addition to shaking down the world economy, has also reshaped cost of living estimates. Many seasoned contenders – who had reigned supreme since the advent of capitalism, have seen a drop in status. Using pricing data for items of average household consumption, here is a list of the world’s most expensive cities to live.
Tokyo has always been famously pricey. Although perhaps not as crowded as a place like Hong Kong, it still packs a lot of people. Simple meals at regular outlets cost around $ 40 per day and a day’s transport using the cheapest metro takes around $ 15. Formerly, the Tokyo real estate used to be the world’s most expensive but that bubble burst in the 90’s. Japan’s economy is largely dependant on exports and the recent recession has strengthened the Yen, adding more venom to the price-monster. All these factors aside, Tokyo is a city buzzing with life and neon lights, with the world’s lowest crime rate for a big city.
If one was to ignore the cost of accommodation, Oslo would undoubtedly be the world’s most expensive city. Still however, with relatively cheaper rents due to recession, the cost of living here is still beyond comparison. Bills exceeding 100 Euros for the simplest of simple fast food takeaways are not uncommon. Also, if you are a smoker or a drinker, it would be highly advisable to look for a watering hole in some other place.
Osaka is the second biggest city in the “Land of the Fabled $ 100 Watermelon”. Its skyrocketing costs of survival have also been fueled by a strong Yen. A day spent on bare-minimums here will still cost more than a fabled Watermelon. Being the centre of commerce, a huge number of workers from surrounding areas make their way into the city every day, using the world’s best transportation system.
Switzerland has historically been a prosperous country and this naturally means that its cities are some of the world’s most expensive. Workers in Zurich pay less tax than their Scandinavian counterpart, which results in the world’s highest take home salaries. Food prices here are ridiculously high, almost 150 % more expensive compared with prices in USA. However, the prevalence of tidiness, sanity and striking beauty makes every dollar worth it.
5. Hong Kong
The world’s most densely populated city also has the highest density of millionaires. Although its recession-hit real estate market saw the world’s single biggest price drop, a square foot in a relatively sparsely populated neighborhood still commands around $ 2000. However, such high prices have also created the ultimate urban skyline. Recently rebounding US dollar, which Hong Kong links to its own currency has also boosted prices.
The post-Communism transfer of wealth from the state into the pockets of few people saw an astronomical rise in Moscow’s fortunes. Getting drunk on vodka here would surely batter ones wallet, as a single shot costs more than $ 10. The city however does not have a large population of wealthy people, meaning its exceptionally hard for most locals to make ends meet.
The world’s NGO capital is not so charitable with its own residents. A majority of the city’s population is not Swiss and the constant expat traffic brings home a lot of business. Raising a nice little family of four here will cost no less than $ 4000 a month.
If one was to consider all the factors of civic happiness and good living, Copenhagen would definitely be the world’s “Best” city. Its a highly eco and bicycle friendly metropolis with great emphasis placed on recycling. However, residents of Copenhagen might find themselves paying some of the world’s highest income tax rates – up to a whopping 63 %. With the recent strength of Krone, lowest estimates for the monthly cost of living in Copenhagen are exceeding 1500 Euros.
9. New York
America’s most expensive city appeared to fall from grace after the credit-crunch but still remains cripplingly costly. The average monthly rent paid by New Yorkers is more than $ 2500 and by some estimates, a six figure annual salary would still condemn a native to the middle class. In contrast to other expensive cities, New Yorkers do not get excessively high wages and are also tax-assaulted which makes life for the salaried personnel really difficult.
The world’s most visited city has always maintained an expensively glamorous reputation, rivaling London for its consistently staggering real estate value. Paris literally presents a photo opportunity at every corner but a progressively fatter wallet is required for true feelings of “Paris, j’adore!”