Every year, the Economist Intelligence Unit releases two reports on which cities are the most expensive and the cheapest to live in.  The first of the reports, titled “Worldwide Cost of Living,” looks at factors including food costs, fuel costs, and salaries.   Here’s a look at what they’ve calculated to be the 9 most expensive cities to live in, in 2016.



9. Seoul, South Korea

With a continuously rising cost of clothes and utilities, the EIU said “the cost of living in Seoul is now on a par with that of Copenhagen and Los Angeles.”

Seoul, South Korea | Travel | @projectinspo


8. Copenhagen, Denmark

Nothing new here due to the high cost of living relative to wages.

Copenhagen, Denmark | Travel | @projectinspo


7. New York City

EIU: “A stronger dollar and localised inflation mean that New York continues to become more expensive relative to its global peers.”  Just an example – the average US dollar price for a kilogram of bread is at $8.28 — more than double that of the city in the No. 1 spot (Singapore).

New York City | Travel | @projectinspo


6. London

London’s wage growth has remained stagnant and has not kept up with inflation and soaring house prices. The average price for a property in London is way over £500,000, but wages on average are close to £30,000.

London | Travel | @projectinspo


5. Paris

Despite the weak currency of the euro, “Paris remains structurally extremely expensive to live in,” and the only thing that is relatively reasonable in terms of value is alcohol and cigarettes.  So everything else is expensive but at least you’re getting booze and cigs for cheap?

Paris | Travel | @projectinspo


4. Geneva

The EIU said that basically everything about Geneva is expensive, and even recreation and entertainment activities have some of the highest costs in the world.  The EIU said that is probably because it is “reflecting a greater premium on discretionary spending.”  So, all the rich people keep making everything more expensive? How delightful.

Geneva, Switzerland | Travel | @projectinspo


3. Hong Kong

Hong Kong has climbed seven places up the ranking in the past year due to exceptionally high housing prices and an increase in local living costs.

Hong Kong | Travel | @projectinspo


2. Zurich

The EIU blames the unpegging of the Swiss franc from the euro alongside “structurally high income and price levels” for pushing this city to near top of the list.

Zurich | Travel | @projectinspo


1. Singapore

Singapore doesn’t seem to be getting any less expensive.  It’s been voted #1 for a third year in a row.  However, there is supposedly some value in general expenses, i.e. groceries.

Singapore | Travel | @projectinspo


Do you live in any of these cities? What is it like, and are you thinking about moving?  Leave us some comments below and tell us your stories!



10 Secrets To Traveling Smarter, Cheaper, & Longer

  • I live in Sweden and it’s pretty much like Denmark – expensive. Stockholm is super expensive, just a packet of nuggets, fries and a drink at McDonald’s will cost you 80-100kr.. I don’t live in Stockholm but I’ll studying there soon and will probably eventually move there but I’m gonna have to save up properly before I can do that.

  • In NYC, there are cheap places to eat and plenty of cheap or free things to do, even if nearly all your money goes to rent. More or less the same in Paris. But in Copenhagen, even ice cream cone practically requires taking out a bank loan.

  • This was a great comparison of cities around the world. I don’t live in these cities but I did live in paris for a few months during university. My rent was extremely high but yes the alcohol was cheap and the cheese! So I survived =o)

    • theinspoproject

      There is nothing like good (and cheap) wine and cheese! Especially when you’re already in Paris. 🙂 <3

  • Carmen

    I live in Zurich and yes, it is an expensive city – especially for tourists.
    We have rather high incomes here (mine definitely being below average with approx USD 5’000.- NET a month) and in my opinion life in the city is manageable even with my “lower” income.

    I eat out about once or twice a week – just not in the touristic places since A) most restaurants are way too overpriced for what they have to offer and B) Zurich is so much nicer if you explore it off the beaten path – but don’t go out too often otherwise. Not because I don’t have the money to do so, just because it’s not really my thing. By the way, partying is actually very expensive here, with a beer costing approx. USD 7.-, cocktails approx. USD 15.-. I go on vacation at least once a year and also try to do short trips – the good thing about living here and making money here is that most other countries/cities are very affordable.

    I actually love living here and wouldn’t consider moving away because the life quality is extraordinary. This city has so much to offer with its hilly, green surroundings, the lake and the rivers.

    • theinspoproject

      It’s so great to hear a local’s perspective on the city. Living in NYC sounds very similar, except I’m not surrounded by lush hills, lakes and rivers. Plus you’re probably SO close to other European travel goldmines. Zurich sounds amazing despite the cost – hope to visit some day!

  • I’ve gotten so used to the cost of living in London that I don’t realise how relatively crazy expensive it is until I travel to other countries. But on the plus side the UK has free museums which is such a nice and pocket-friendly way to enjoy a day out! x

    Daydreaming With…Stanley Kubrick – Posh, Broke, & Bored

    • theinspoproject

      I recently came back from London and it was so nice to have the museums be free!

  • Denise

    I think you forgot San Francisco – which is out of control expensive! We live here and find it more expensive then New York or London.

    • theinspoproject

      Such a good point. I wonder why it did not make the list – perhaps it was #11?

  • No do not stay in one of the above cities… I live in Athens who has been a bit cheaper after the capital control, but not for the greeks 🙁

  • Ashlee

    Did you forget about Australia?

    • theinspoproject

      That might be #10!

  • I have lived in London but am currently living in Seoul. I was shocked to see it on this list! Yea, if you eat international food it can be pricey, but generally it can be super affordable. There’s clothes stores were everything is stylish and £6. Coffee and fresh juice is also a BARGIN!