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The most and least expensive cities in the world

Mar 11, 2014 | News

(11 March 2014) – The Economist Intelligence Unit today published its Worldwide Cost of Living survey which compares the cost of living in 140 cities in 93 countries. Paris is the most expensive city in Europe, Bucharest the cheapest.

The survey gathers detailed information on the cost of more than 160 items – from food, toiletries and clothing to housing, transport and utility bills – in every city.

A weaker yen has pushed Osaka and Tokyo away from the top of the cost of living ranking. This has paved the way for Singapore, which has been steadily moving up the ranking over the last decade, to claim the unenviable title of world’s most expensive city.

Unlike Asian markets, European cities tend not to have specific items or categories that push the cost of living up, but are more expensive for a broad array of item, which aggregates into a higher overall cost of living. For example, Paris, which has moved up six places to become the world’s second dearest city, does not have any expenditure categories where the cost of living is disproportionately high, but is costlier than most locations for seven out of the ten categories included in the survey.

Other expensive European cities in the top ten include Oslo (3rd), Zurich (4th), Geneva (7th) and Copenhagen (10th). Among the ten least expensive cities in the world, you find one European city: Bucharest.

According to the authors of the survey, the relative value for money offered by Bucharest in Romania may go some way to explaining why an anticipated migration of workers did not take when EU restrictions were lifted in January 2014. The Romanian economy has been improving and although wages are low by western European standards, prices are too, which makes it difficult to leave.

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