High inflation and a strong dollar push New York City to the top spot on the list of the most expensive cities in the world 

Photo of the Statue of Liberty.
New York City has the dubious distinction of world's most expensive city, tied with Singapore.
Jakub Porzycki—NurPhoto/Getty Images

This year has been difficult for the global economy, to say the least, as countries around the world experience record-high inflation. 

In the U.S. alone, the inflation rate hit 40-year highs, but the cost of living surged worldwide—which heavily factors into which cities made the cut for the annual list of the most expensive cities in the world, released by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a research and analysis division with the Economist Group.

For the first time, New York City shared top billing, coming in first place along with Singapore, which has been a “frequent leader” in the past. Singapore has topped the list eight times in 10 years. 

The list is created through a survey between Aug. 16 to Sept. 16, tracking the prices of goods and services in 172 cities worldwide. It also considers factors like incomes and currency exchange rates against the dollar. 

“Prices have risen by an average of 8.1% in local-currency terms over the past year in the world’s biggest cities,” the report reads. “This is the fastest rate for at least 20 years, reflecting a global cost-of-living crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine and continuing COVID-19 restrictions in China.”

Stronger currency and a higher inflation rate pushed New York and Singapore up, and pushed Tel Aviv down to third place this year. 

But New York isn’t the only U.S. city to rise in the ranking because of a strong dollar. Atlanta and Boston are considered two of the biggest movers up the rankings in the last 12 months—jumping 42 and 29 spots, respectively. Although the two still aren’t ranked within the 10 most expensive cities, Boston is 21 on the list and Atlanta is 46. 

As for the least expensive cities, Damascus, Tripoli, and Tehran make up the bottom three because of their countries’ weak economies and currencies, the report said. Meanwhile, some European cities like Luxembourg and Stockholm have fallen on the list because of the continent’s energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the euro falling below parity with the dollar for the first time in 20 years. Japan and South Korea have also seen their currency depreciate, pushing cities like Tokyo and Seoul down the list. 

But there’s some good news. 

“Prices may be starting to ease in some countries as interest rates bite and the global economy slows,” the report reads. “Supply-chain blockages should also start to ease as freight rates come down and demand softens. Unless the war in Ukraine escalates, we predict that commodity prices for energy, food and for supplies such as metals are likely to fall sharply in 2023 compared with 2022 levels, although they are likely to stay higher than previous levels.”

Here are the top 10 expensive cities across the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2022 Worldwide Cost of Living report.

1. Singapore and New York 

3. Tel Aviv 

4. Hong Kong and Los Angeles 

6. Zurich 

7. Geneva 

8. San Francisco

9. Paris 

10. Copenhagen and Sydney 

Our new weekly Impact Report newsletter will examine how ESG news and trends are shaping the roles and responsibilities of today’s executives—and how they can best navigate those challenges. Subscribe here.

Read More

Travel IndustryBooksSmarter ShoppingSports