The World’s Most Expensive (And Cheapest) Cities To Live In Right Now

Tel Aviv Worlds Most Expensive City Zoo Zoo Bar
Credit: Idan Sabah (Zoo Zoo Bar)

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its annual Worldwide Cost of Living Index to confirm some of our suspicions. and revise certain notions regarding how far a buck really goes across the globe. Revealing the Top 10 most expensive and cheapest cities of 2021, if you have even the slightest desire to migrate within the next 12 months, you’ll certainly want to read ahead.

Calculated using factors such as the average price of fuel, the cost of public transport, groceries, and just about every other living expense, this year, Paris has been dethroned by none other than Tel Aviv. Which is quite impressive/concerning when you consider the coastal Mediterranean city has effectively slingshotted from 5th place in 2020 to first in 2021. The key reason? A hike in both grocery and transport prices, on top of the Israeli shekel’s strength over the US dollar.

“The inflation rate of the prices that we track in EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL) across cities is the fastest recorded over the past five years. It has accelerated beyond the pre-pandemic rate, rising by 3.5% year on year in local-currency terms in 2021, compared with an increase of just 1.9% in 2020 and 2.8% in 2019,” explains the EIU.



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“Supply-chain problems, as well as exchange-rate shifts and changing consumer demand, have led to rising prices for commodities and other goods. The most rapid increases in the WCOL index were for transport, with the price of a litre of petrol up by 21% on average.”

On the opposite end of the 2020/2021 ranking development spectrum, Rome has experienced the biggest drop in our rankings, falling from 32nd to 48th place. What’s making this slice of Italy so much more affordable? “Particularly sharp” declines in the shopping basket and clothing categories, apparently.

And in terms of domestic representation, as much as we like to groan about Melbourne and Sydney being proper rorts on the best of occasions, our beloved cities only ranked 16th and equal 15th respectively – sandwiched right between Tokyo and Vienna above, with Helsinki and London below. So look on the bright side… it could always be worse.

Check out the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living Index for 2021.

10 Most Expensive Cities (2021)

  1. Tel Aviv, Israel
  2. Paris, France = Singapore
  3. Zurich, Switzerland
  4. Hong Kong
  5. New York, US
  6. Geneva, Switzerland
  7. Copenhagen, Denmark
  8. Los Angeles, US
  9. Osaka, Japan

10 Cheapest Cities (2021)

  1. Damascus, Syria
  2. Tripoli, Libya
  3. Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  4. Tunis, Tunisia
  5. Almaty, Kazakhstan
  6. Karachi, Pakistan
  7. Ahmedabad, India
  8. Algiers, Algeria
  9. Bueos Aires, Argentina
  10. Lusaka, Zambia

Image credit: Idan Sabah Photography