The Cost of Living

The cost of living is always a hotly debated subject. It affects how we live, where we live and our quality of life. Expensive cities have their downside but they’re also well loved by residents, that’s why they attract people and their costs go up.

Across the globe many feel their purchasing power isn’t keeping up with the cost of food, shelter and transportation. This makes the correlation between expensive cities and where people want to live, work and travel to all the more bitter.

The Economist’s latest “Worldwide Cost of Living 2018” ranks global cities on prices for 160 products and services  including food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care, rent, transportation, utility bills, private schools, domestic help, and recreation costs. It’s  pretty comprehensive list which gives an accurate look at the cost of living in various cities.

The rankings are dominated by Asian and European cities.

For the fifth straight year Singapore takes the honour (or maybe dishonour) as being the world’s most expensive city. This is primarily based on its sky-high real estate market and the cost of running a car. However Singapore still offers relative value in some categories such as personal care, household goods and domestic help. 

In other categories Singapore remains significantly cheaper than its Asian peers. In terms of food and drink, the cost of living in Singapore is on a par with that of Shanghai, while Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong are the three most expensive cities in the world to buy staple goods. In Seoul, groceries are almost 50% more expensive than in New York. The cost of living in a booming city is always high.

At the bottom of the ranking are cities which have faced political, economic or severe security issues, as well as places with infrastructure and other challenges. Put simply cheap is not always cheerful and the least expensive cities are usually near the bottom of livability lists. The cost of living maybe cheap but so too can life in these cities.