Tokyo Is No Longer the Most Expensive City in the World

Legendarily unaffordable Tokyo is no longer the priciest metropolis in the world—it has been supplanted by another, far more inaccessible city. Want to take a guess who it is? It's not New York. It's not San Francisco. The world's most expensive city is…

Singapore.

The bi-annual Worldwide Cost of Living study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), compares 400 prices for 160 products and services to study the differences between the cost of living in various cities.

Singapore climbed to the top this year due to a soaring currency coupled with the extremely high costs of everyday activities, like paying for utilities and owning a car (although, with such an excellent transit system, why would you?). Singapore also happens to have the priciest clothes, with Asian cities in general seeing higher prices for things like clothing, food, and drink.

While expensive cities can drive out residents, affordable places have their own problems. Cities where the living is cheap are also some of the most unequal, with cities like Mumbai and New Delhi remaining affordable due to a large low-income workforce. Damascus, Syria, fell the furthest in the rankings, both due to inequality and to political unrest.

Thanks to a plummeting Yen, Tokyo didn't even crack the top five this year, falling to sixth place. This is exceptional because since 1992 Tokyo has been named the most expensive city in all but six of the 30 years the study has been conducted.

Here are the top five cities where you won't get much bang for your buck:

  1. Singapore, Singapore
  2. Paris, France
  3. Oslo, Norway
  4. Zurich, Switzerland
  5. Sydney, Australia

Paris, Oslo, and Zurich are perennially in the top five, switching places depending on their own currency ups and downs. [EIU via BBC News]

Top image courtesy Chris McGrath / Getty Images