The annual Economist Intelligence Unit survey has put Paris at the top of the list that ranks major world cities on the basis of expenses for its residents and visitors. Paris shared the spot with two Asian cities Hong Kong and Singapore – as the most expensive cities of the world to live in.
In the 30-year history of the survey, this is the first time that the top spot has been shared by three cities.
Last year, Paris was the second most expensive city to live in. There are three more such expensive European cities in the top 10 list.
The costs of 160 items, such as food, drink, transport, utility bills, and rent, as prevalent in 133 cities of the world are compared to prepare the list in the survey. The increase or decrease of price in the cities is then found out by comparing with the prices in the benchmark city of New York.
The aim of development of this annual index was to enable companies to estimate the expenses towards cost-of-living for expatriates and business travellers.
Compared to European standards, the costs in the cheapest cities of the world were low partly because of limited household spending in such cities because of low wages.
The impact of political or economic disruption was making a “growing number of locations” cheaper, the survey also said. It cited the example of the Venezuelan capital Caracas, which has been hit by economic crisis and that of Damascus in Syria, which has been severely impacted by a civil war. Both the cities are at the bottom of the list.
“There is a considerable element of risk in some of the world’s cheapest cities,” the report said, adding, “Put simply, cheaper cities also tend to be less liveable.”
Since 2003, Paris had been among the top 10 most expensive cities, said report author Roxana Slavcheva and added that the city was “extremely expensive” to live in.
“Only alcohol, transport and tobacco offer value for money compared with other European cities,” she said.
A woman’s hair cut in Paris would cost $119.04 on the average for example, where as it would cost $73.97 in Zurich and $53.46 in Japanese city Osaka on the average.
“European cities tend to have the highest costs in the household, personal care, recreation and entertainment categories – with Paris being a good representative in these categories – perhaps reflecting a greater premium on discretionary spending,” Slavcheva said.
The least expensive city in the 133 city list was Caracas.
Changes in this year’s ranking have been driven by inflation and volatile currency fluctuations. A sharp fall in their cost of living ranking was witnessed for places like Argentina, Brazil, Turkey and Venezuela. For example, Caracas, the least expensive city in this year’s list, has was ravaged last year by inflation rates touching 1,000,000 per cent and which forced the government to launch a new currency.
(Adapted from BBC.com)