Zurich and Geneva some of the most expensive places in the world to live

Zurich and Geneva some of the most expensive places in the world to live

According to new data from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Zurich is the fourth most expensive city in the world to live in, beaten only by Tel Aviv, with Paris and Singapore in joint second. The study looked at the cost of living around the world and how prices have changed over the past year. This was calculated through local inflation, as well as an analysis of the general cost of goods and services in each city.

Inflation around the world rose dramatically in 2021

The report noted that global inflation has risen dramatically in 2021, increasing to 3,5 percent a year in real terms. This is the highest level in five years and amounts to a dramatic acceleration beyond pre-pandemic levels.

The EIU attributes most of this rise to issues related to the supply chain. As the world reopened after the first waves of COVID-19, demand for goods skyrocketed, while production and logistics remained sluggish. Even in Europe, supply issues in Germany led to fuel shortages, the flow of capital slowed, and customers saw long waiting times for goods, especially those produced overseas.

Cost of fuel saw the biggest rise in price globally

One of the most rapid price increases was for drivers, as the global price for a litre of petrol increased by 21 percent on average compared with last year. While most goods' prices remained stable, recreational goods like cigarettes have also seen a 6,7 percent price increase.

It's data like this that the EIU looked into to assemble its report on the most expensive cities around the world. Tel Aviv in Israel was ranked the most expensive city in the world to live in in 2021, the first time it has held the honour. The EIU explains that the Israeli currency, the shekel, has increased in value, making goods in the city more expensive when converted into dollars. They also suggest that a successful vaccine rollout has made the city attractive to international companies and investors. 

Zurich and Geneva remain some of the most expensive cities in the world

Zurich has retained its place near the top of the leaderboard in fourth. The value of the Swiss franc to the dollar remained strong and stable in 2021. The city also has some of the highest salaries in Switzerland. As a haven for entrepreneurs and banking, it is no surprise the largest city in Switzerland found itself near the top of the list. Geneva, the second-largest city, took seventh place overall.

In comparison to last year, the cities of Düsseldorf, Amsterdam and Berlin have all seen their cost of living fall compared to others around the world. The biggest increase in the cost of living can be found in the Iranian capital Tehran, where renewed sanctions have seen the price of goods increase.

Top 10 most expensive cities in the world to live

The EIU compares the price of hundreds of different goods in order to determine the cost of living in each city. For 2021, the top 10 most expensive cities in the world are:

  • 1. Tel Aviv
  • 2. Paris
  • 2. Singapore
  • 4. Zurich
  • 5. Hong Kong
  • 6. New York
  • 7. Geneva
  • 8. Copenhagen
  • 9. Los Angeles
  • 10. Osaka

For more information, you can visit the EIU’s website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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