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Top 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live In

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake

Script written by Nick Spake

Sure, it’s a nice place to visit, but how can anybody afford to stay there? From Sydney, to Tel Aviv, to Copenhagen, these cities are ridiculously expensive to inhabit. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live In.

Special thanks to our user Daniel Fong for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Most+Expensive+Cities+to+live+in.


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Script written by Nick Spake

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live In

Sure, it’s a nice place to visit, but how can anybody afford to stay there? Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live In.

For this list, we’re taking a look at cities across the globe with the highest cost of living as of 2018, according to the Economist’s annual report.

#10: Sydney, Australia

Thanks to landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, the capital of New South Wales generates $30 billion annually from tourism alone. Considering how costly it is just to travel there, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city to live in. Just to give you an idea of how pricey life in Sydney can be: a pair of jeans reportedly costs over $100 dollars on average. At least Sydney workers receive one of the highest wage levels in the entire world. They’re pretty high up there in terms of purchasing power too, meaning many residents can afford to spend almost $20 on movie tickets.

#9: Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv might only be the second most populous city in Israel, but it’s #1 in terms of living expenses. Not only that, it’s also the most expensive destination the whole Middle East has to offer. On the worldwide cost of living chart, Tel Aviv escalated from 34th place to the top 10 over the course 5 years. This is largely due to the cost of buying a car, to say nothing of insuring and maintaining it. In terms of paying for transportation, Tel Aviv actually beat out New York by 79%. As expensive as living there may be, it’s worth the price of admission for those with an interest in history or nightlife.

#8: Copenhagen, Denmark

Back in the 10th century, Copenhagen was a mere Viking fishing village. Fast-forward to modern times and it’s one of the most expensive cities in Europe. Transport, personal care, and recreation are among the major contributing factors to Copenhagen’s high cost of living. While the gross wages are among the highest in the world, taxes take a significant toll following mandatory deduction. That being said, the capital of Denmark is also often ranked as one of the best cities to live in due to its quality of life. Given its education, social safety, and beautiful scenery, we can certainly see why. Living in one of the happiest places on earth doesn’t come cheap.

#7: Seoul, South Korea

Within just a few years, the Seoul Special Metropolitan City has skyrocketed up the cost of living chart. Between 2013 and 2016, it moved from 21st place to 15th place. By 2017, it cracked the top 10 and has maintained that spot to this date. The capital of South Korea is one of the most expensive places to purchase groceries, exceeding New York by 50%. On a routine market trip, you could spend roughly 4,000 ₩ on white rice, 3,000 ₩ on a dozen eggs, and 9,000 ₩ on a gallon of milk. You might actually be better off eating out, with a meal for one costing somewhere around 8,000 ₩ at most inexpensive restaurants.

#6: Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva is one of the most populous cities in Switzerland, second only to another entry on our list. While wages are high and tax rates are surprisingly low, you’ll still need a sizeable Swiss bank account to live there. This can be primarily attributed to the cost of insurance, groceries, and various services. Good luck trying pay for a two-bedroom apartment, with the monthly rent being between CHF 2,300 and 3,500 – and that’s not even including utilities! Eating fast food won’t save you much money either, with a Big Mac costing CHF 15. Even by the European average, life in Geneva comes with a hefty price tag, but at least residents have high purchasing power.

#5: Oslo, Norway

The capital of Norway, Oslo has a booming economy with the maritime sector hosting 980 companies and 8,500 employees. As one of the richest cities in Europe, the residents of Oslo are used to breaking out the big bucks. Having Norway’s most expensive housing market, a one-bedroom apartment close to the center of the city will cost you over 12,000 kr per month. On top of that, utilities for an average apartment can cost nearly 1,600 kr. Goods and services are especially expensive compared to other cities. A Big Mac from Geneva may sound pricey, but a McMeal from Oslo will also drain your wallet of around 110 kr.

#4: Hong Kong, China

If you think coffee is overpriced at your local Starbucks, try moving to Hong Kong, where a cappuccino costs almost 35 HK$. Meanwhile, you can spend 50 HK$ on a pint of domestic beer and 150 HK$ for a bottle of wine. The price of consumer goods is one thing, but the housing market is another. For several straight years, Hong Kong has been cited as the most unaffordable urban area in the world to buy a house. A three-bedroom home in the city is going to cost your family 40,000 HK$ per month. Despite the high living rates, Hong Kong has also been regarded the freest economy in the world for over two decades.

#3: Zürich, Switzerland

Although Zürich is considered one of the globe’s top financial centres, as well as one of the most livable cities in the world, it’s also one of the priciest places in all of Europe. Zürich even gives Geneva a run for its money as the most expensive and largest city in Switzerland. As far as transportation goes, a gallon of gasoline costs just under 6 Fr. Taking a taxi isn’t the most ideal way to get around either, as waiting in normal traffic for an hour can set you back 72 Fr. In short, time is money in Zürich. It’s only natural, seeing how a quarter of the population is employed at banks and investment firms.

#2: Paris, France

France’s most populous city hosts numerous iconic landmarks like Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower. For many people, the idea of living in this cornerstone of culture probably sounds like a dream come true. Once you receive your credit card bill in the mail, however, that dream will quickly turn into a nightmare. Ever since 2003, Paris has easily reigned as one of the most expensive cities in the world. Being the home of world-class restaurants, fabulous shopping centers, and incredible sites, the astronomical living price makes perfect sense. It’s called the City of Light, but not for people who can’t even afford their electric bill.

#1: Singapore, Singapore

For five years in a row, Singapore has dominated as the single costliest city to live in. Granted, not every service will cost you an arm and a leg. Compared to some other cities, healthcare and certain domestic goods are actually quite cheap. However, owning a car will eat up a good chunk for your paycheck. A new Volkswagen Golf comes with a sticker price roughly around 120,000.00 S$. Then to keep you gas tank full, be prepared to pay around 8 S$ per gallon. Singapore is additionally the third most expensive place to purchase clothes, with a pair of Nike running shoes going for about 127 S$. So whether you drive or run, you’re spending a fortune!

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