Where are the world’s most expensive cities?
The top three are all in Asia, but American cities are rising up the ranks

Osaka's reputation as “the kitchen of Japan” stems not from its culinary prowess but from the many warehouses that have stored the nation’s rice and other goods for centuries. Osaka can now also claim the title of the world’s most expensive city, according to the latest findings of the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey from our sister company, The Economist Intelligence Unit. It shares the top spot with Hong Kong and Singapore, both previous holders of this dubious honor.
The survey, which was conducted last autumn—long before the spread of covid-19—compares the prices of more than 150 items in 133 cities around the world. The results are primarily used by firms to negotiate appropriate compensation when relocating staff. The three Asian cities that lead the ranking were found to be more expensive than New York, the benchmark, albeit by just 2%. Paris, which shared the top spot with Hong Kong and Singapore last year, has fallen four places to fifth. Indeed, of the 37 European cities surveyed, 31 experienced a fall in overall rank because modest domestic demand and weak global energy prices kept inflationary pressures subdued across the region.