Anyone with an idea of the cost of living in cities around the world knows that New York City (NYC) is one of the most expensive cities to live in even for Americans. But exactly where does it stand from the point-of-view of expats?
The Cost of Living Rankings for 2023 compiled by ECA International indicates that NYC is the most expensive city to live in for expatriates, living and working in the Big Apple.
The rising accommodation costs and inflation have been cited as the reasons why NYC topped the list, ending the four-year reign of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) at the No.1 spot.
Apart from Hong Kong, Singapore was the other Asian destination in the top five. Singapore climbed eight places from its 2022 ranking to end up as the fifth most expensive city for expats.
ECA International is a mobility solutions company. Its 2023 report takes into account rental costs in areas populated by expats as well as the cost of consumer goods and services. A total of 207 across 120 countries and territories around the world have been ranked.
All about the cost of living in cities for expats
Rise in rankings for Asian cities
Turkish capital Istanbul was the biggest climber in the list, rising 95 places to 108th in the 2023 rankings. The report cites President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s economic policies as one of the major reasons behind the increased cost of living, with an 80 per cent rise in prices.
Referring to Singapore, a crown gem of Southeast Asia in terms of both economic might and social achievements, the report said that the cost of living in the city-state rose on the back of skyrocketing rents. Interestingly, the rent factor was also the reason why Singapore topped a list compiled by Urban Land Institute (ULI) Asia Pacific Centre for Housing in May 2023. That report revealed that the cost of private homes and their rent were the highest in Singapore across the Asia-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, the growing numbers of Russian expats in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pushed the rents in the city up by almost 33 per cent. Due to this, Dubai ranked 12th on ECA International’s 2023 list — a jump of 11 places.
Not all Asian cities witnessed a rise. Comparatively lower inflation rates and a weaker Yuan brought the cost of living in Chinese cities down, consequently leading to a fall in their rankings. These include Shanghai, Guangzhou, and the capital city Beijing.
Some European cities fall but US cities become costlier
Weaker currencies and lower inflation rates led to a fall in the cost of living in French, Norwegian and Swedish cities. But most other European cities climbed in rankings, with Geneva and London maintaining their hold on the third and fourth places, respectively, from last year.
Apart from NYC, high inflation and a strong dollar also pushed the cost of living in other US cities up. Los Angeles and Chicago were in the top 20 while San Francisco entered the top 10 in seventh place.
World’s 20 most expensive cities for expats
1. New York, US (Rank in 2022: #2)
2. Hong Kong, China (#1)
3. Geneva, Switzerland (#3)
4. London, UK (#4)
5. Singapore (#13)
6. Zurich, Switzerland (#7)
7. San Francisco, US (#11)
8. Tel Aviv, Israel (#6)
9. Seoul, South Korea (#10)
10. Tokyo, Japan (#5)
11. Bern, Switzerland (#16)
12. Dubai, UAE (#23)
13. Shanghai, China (#8)
14. Guangzhou, China (#9)
15. Los Angeles, US (#21)
16. Shenzhen, China (#12)
17. Beijing, China (#14)
18. Copenhagen, Denmark (#18)
19. Abu Dhabi, UAE (#22)
20. Chicago, US (#25)
Hero image credit: Andre Benz/@trapnation/Unsplash; Featured image credit: Andreas Niendorf/@ndrf/Unsplash