Most Expensive Cities in the World | Top 10

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in the World

/ 09:44 AM November 22, 2022

Living in an expensive city is a unique experience. Most of the time, you can easily access historic monuments, stunning architecture, museums, various foods, drinks, and much more. However, living in the world’s most expensive cities isn’t easy.

These cities are pricey for a good reason, and there are a number of them. If it enables residents to live somewhere with beautiful weather, and a cosmopolitan lifestyle, then they’re willing to pay more for everything ranging from housing to food and gas.

If you’re thinking of starting a new life in an expensive city, need some vacation inspiration, or want to clear your curiosity, this article is for you. The top 10 world’s most expensive cities are listed below under the Employment Conditions Abroad (ECA) international rating.


Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in the World to Live in

10. Seoul, Korea

Seoul, Korea

  • Cost of living: 24.93% lower than in New York
  • City population: 9,963,452
  • Median household income: 4,325,000 Won (~ US $3,227)
  • Median home value: 39,990,000 Won (~ US $30,000)
  • Unemployment rate: 4.6%

Seoul, South Korea’s capital city, is expensive largely because residents have to pay high housing costs and security deposits. It’s also because, since the 20th century, South Korea’s currency has performed well due to the Republic of Korea’s economic stability and expansion.

Seoul is a cultural and artistic hub with contemporary skyscrapers, cutting-edge subways, temples, palaces, and street markets.

In addition, the country is one of the world’s biggest makers of ships and automobiles. It’s the location of numerous sizable building firms which generate enormous revenue. With these, it has earned its place as the number 10 of the most expensive cities in the world.

9. Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou, China

  • Cost of living: 46.90% lower than the United States
  • City population: 18.7 million
  • Median household income: 31,100 Yuan (~ US $4,813)
  • Median home value: 58,996 Yuan (~ US $8,286)
  • Unemployment rate: 6.20%

Guangzhou, another city in mainland China, has established itself as one of the most expensive cities in the world. The city can be compared to Shanghai in that it shares many characteristics that make it an expensive city to live in.

After Beijing and Shanghai, the megacity is home to 120 corporate headquarters and boasts investments from a stunning 60% of the top 500 global corporations. The Canton Fair, China’s biggest and oldest trade show, is also in Guangzhou.


Even though the city is less known among expats, there are better destinations to unwind due to the currency’s strength, inflation rates, and regular living expenses that come with living in a highly populated country.

8. Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

  • Cost of living: 54.16% less expensive than New York
  • City population: 26.32 million
  • Median household income: 345,3315 Yuan (~ US $48,500)
  • Median home value: 15,384 Yuan (~ US $2,160)
  • Unemployment rate: 6.20%

Shanghai had the sixth-highest concentration of billionaires in the world as of 2021. It’s hardly surprising that so many people desire to live in this coastal metropolis because it’s the largest city in China and a major financial center with a gorgeous skyline, vibrant cultural past, and more.

In addition to being among the world’s most dynamic cities, Shanghai in China is also one of the most expensive. The country’s recent revelations of greater inflation rates and the Chinese yuan’s sustained strength against other major currencies contribute to the city’s high cost of living.

7. Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland

  • Cost of living: 18.5% less expensive than New York
  • City population: 402,762
  • Median household income: 52,908 Swiss Franc (~ US $55,417)
  • Median home value: 390,975 Swiss Franc (~ US $409,489)
  • Unemployment rate: 4.15%

Zurich in Switzerland is reputed to be one of the most costly countries to live and travel in. Switzerland has many wonderful qualities, partly because it is so expensive.

The city boasts some of the largest incomes in the world. This may be associated with the large banks headquartered there and the city’s classy vibe attracting some of the world’s most famous and wealthy people.

6. Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv, Israel

  • Cost of living: 18.93% less expensive than New York
  • City population: 4.34 million
  • Median household income: 18,671 Shekels (~ US $4,855)
  • Median home value: 40,139 Shekels (~ US $11,579)
  • Unemployment rate: 5.05%

The Middle East’s most expensive city to reside in is Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is the only Middle East city on this list, a center for all things luxurious and regal, contributing somewhat to the city’s high cost of living.

Tel Aviv offers everything from breathtaking beaches to thriving nightlife and renowned restaurants. But all that enjoyment comes with a high price. The largest city in Israel, Tel Aviv, is known for being entertaining, highly varied, and welcoming to tourists.

The high cost of living can be largely attributed to the strength of the Shekel — the currency of Israel.

5. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

  • Cost of living: 30.71% less expensive than New York
  • City population: 13.96 million
  • Median household income: 6,399,872 Yen (~ US $45,601)
  • Median home value: 63,330,000 Yen (~ US $451,180)
  • Unemployment rate: 2.8%

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is one city that has helped Asia surpass Europe as the continent with the highest number of expensive cities. Since Tokyo is the country’s capital and Japan is well-known for its sky-high living cost, it is not surprising that prices are highest there. 

Rent costs comprise the largest portion of expenses, followed closely by car ownership and transportation costs. Those slick, quick bullet trains aren’t free!

4. London, United Kingdom

London, United Kingdom

  • Cost of living: 27.75% less expensive than New York
  • City population: 8.982 million
  • Median household income: £39,100 (~US $46,500)
  • Median home value: £523,666 (~US $622,560)
  • Unemployment rate: 5.6%

London, the “city of dreams,” has established itself as the fourth most costly city in the world. Like New York City, London sees a large influx of visitors from around the globe eager to start a career, find fame, or live the life that Londoners portray to be so good.

People frequently spend more money on daily necessities since there is a limited supply of goods and services, resulting in a high cost of living index. You need money to create a good life for yourself in London since the cost of rent, and public transportation here is among the highest in the entire world.

3. Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland - most expensive cities in the world

  • Cost of living: 1.32% less expensive than New York
  • City population: 198,979 million
  • Median household income: 110,835 Swiss Franc (~US $116,083)
  • Median home value: 367,590 Swiss Franc (~ US $385,000)
  • Unemployment rate: 4.9%

The best entry from Europe, this city has long been seen as the pinnacle of class and luxury. It’s known for facilitating the most lavish lifestyles, with the best restaurants, social scenery, and cutting-edge homes.

You won’t have doubts about why it’s so pricey to live in after walking through one of its exquisite streets and visiting a nearby grocery store.

2. New York City, US

New York City, US - most expensive cities in the world

  • Cost of living: 95% more expensive than the United States average
  • City population: 8.38 million
  • Median household income: US $71,117
  • Median home value: US $790,000
  • Unemployment rate: 5.60%

The entry from New York City, the US’s concrete jungle, is next on the list. New York City, the only North American city to make the top 10, is known as the “land of opportunities,” drawing many visitors from all over the world competing to establish themselves in the city.

Therefore, it should be no surprise that the city is so expensive. After all, everyone wants a piece of the big apple.

1. Hong Kong

Hong Kong - most expensive cities in the world

  • Cost of living: 25% more expensive than in New York
  • City population: 7.482 million
  • Median household income: 313,613 Hong Kong Dollars (~US $40,094)
  • Median home value: 9,386,340 Hong Kong Dollars (~US $1.2 million)
  • Unemployment rate: 5.83%

It comes as no surprise that the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong is ranked first on our list of the world’s most expensive cities to reside in because Asia dominates the list.

An area of China called Hong Kong is renowned for drawing some of the most prosperous business people in the world and thousands of foreigners. According to the ECA index, Hong Kong has claimed the world’s most expensive city for the third consecutive year.


The average cost of necessities, rent, utilities, public transition, and the local currency’s strength are some criteria used to build this ranking. However, knowing the real cost of things is crucial now more than ever because of the skyrocketing living expenses.

With all of this in mind, it’s important to note that these are just a few of the most expensive cities in the world. If you find yourself in any one of them, be prepared to spend some money! And if you have the opportunity to visit or live in any of these wonderful places, make sure you take advantage of all they have to offer – even if it does cost a bit more than what you’re used to.

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