The World's Most Expensive Cities

New York City may be the most overpriced city in the US, but it doesn't really compare to the most expensive cities in the world, according to the latest Worldwide Cost of Living index.

New York City may be the most overpriced city in the US, but it doesn’t really compare to the most expensive cities in the world.

A new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) found that most European cities enjoyed renewed optimism, making them relatively more expensive last year. They secured half of the spots in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world.

The Worldwide Cost of Living report compared more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services, including, food, drink, clothing, household supplies, rent, transport, utility bills and recreational costs.

There has been a significant shakeup in the list. Although just one city fell out of the top 10, last year’s most expensive city was not only ousted from the top spot, but it slipped down to tie at 6.

Meanwhile, New York City looks relatively cheap compared to the EIU’s list. The Big Apple ranked 26. However, New York is the base city for the cost of living index, with a score set at 100.

“As with last year, indices using New York as base city have continued to fall, reflecting a stronger US dollar and rises in the cost of living in New York,” according to the EIU report. “Some 94 cities fell in cost of living terms compared with New York.”

European cities were buoyed by the appreciation of the euro during the last year, and as such accounts for half of the top 10 cities.

10. Copenhagen, Denmark

Last year: 15

Cost of living: 117

Loaf of bread (1kg): $4.82

Unleaded petrol (1 liter): $2.18

20 branded cigarettes: $7.35

Bottle of table wine (750ml): $13.70

Nyhavn Canal, Copenhagen. Photo by Mstyslav Chernov.

Denmark, in general, is one of the least stressed-out countries in the world, but it also reported one of the largest increases in healthcare costs from 2001 to 2011 relative to the income increase, according to Bloomberg. And despite the high costs, citizens can be comforted by the fact that Denmark has one of the most secure retirements in the world.

Compared to the rest of the top 10, cigarettes are on the more expensive end, while wine and bread are on the more affordable end.

6. (tie) Tokyo, Japan

Last year: 1

Cost of living: 118

Loaf of bread (1kg): $7.12

Unleaded petrol (1 liter): $1.73

20 branded cigarettes: $4.45

Bottle of table wine (750ml): $12.53

Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Last year’s most expensive city has dropped significantly down the list, but still remains in the top 10. Currency weakness in Japan has made it relatively less expensive compared to the many European cities that moved up in the list. However, Tokyo is still the most expensive for everyday food items.

In 2013, though, Tokyo wasn’t the only city in the top 10—Osaka was right behind in second place.

6. (tie) Melbourne, Australia

Last year: 4 (tied with Oslo)

Cost of living: 118

Loaf of bread (1kg): $4.43

Unleaded petrol (1 liter): $1.35

20 branded cigarettes: $15.50

Bottle of table wine (750ml): $22.28

Melbourne has slipped slightly from last year, but it is still one of two Australian cities to land in the top 10, thanks to the long-term appreciation of the Australian dollar. While the cost of bread, wine, cigarettes and petrol are all up from 5 years ago, they are actually down slightly from the previous year, making Melbourne 1 of 6 cities for which this is true.

6. (tie) Geneva, Switzerland

Last year: 11

Cost of living: 118

Loaf of bread (1kg): $6.38

Unleaded petrol (1 liter): $1.96

20 branded cigarettes: $8.72

Bottle of table wine (750ml): $8.39

Wine in Geneva is relatively cheap considering the second-cheapest city charges $11.45 and the most expensive in the top 10 charges $25.04 for a bottle of table wine. This is the first of two entries that Switzerland has in the top 10 most expensive cities.

According to the EIU, where Europe is really expensive, is in the cost of its recreational activities.

6. (tie) Caracas, Venezuela

Last year: 9

Cost of living: 118

Loaf of bread (1kg): $11.02

Unleaded petrol (1 liter): 0.02

20 branded cigarettes: $6.36

Bottle of table wine (750ml): $22.41

Caracas position as one of the most expensive cities is slightly subjective and controversial. The capital of Venezuela suffers from significant local price inflation with official exchange rates fixed at an artificially high level. Currently, the official valuation of the bolivar is 6.29 to the US dollar, but the black market rates value the currency at less than a tenth of that amount.

The cost of petrol is by far the cheapest in the top 10 and is down from $0.06 a decade ago. However, the cost of bread is by far the most expensive on the list, up 259% from a decade ago.

5. Sydney, Australia

Last year: 3

Cost of living: 120

Loaf of bread (1kg): $4.65

Unleaded petrol (1 liter): $1.35

20 branded cigarettes: $15.75

Bottle of table wine (750ml): $22.58

Photo by DAVID ILIFF License CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Smoking in Australia is an expensive habit. Sydney and Melbourne have the most expensive prices for 20 branded cigarettes, following closely by Oslo and distantly by the rest of the top 10. The Australian cities are also on the more expensive end when it comes to wine, but both reported a decline in the cost of petrol from the previous year.

4. Zurich, Switzerland

Last year: 7

Cost of living: 125

Loaf of bread (1kg): $6.19

Unleaded petrol (1 liter): $2.06

20 branded cigarettes: $8.83

Bottle of table wine (750ml): $15.82

Photo by Roland Zh/Commons.

The cost of wine isn’t exorbitantly expensive in relation to the rest of the cities in the top 10, but it might seem pricey to residents—a decade ago they were only paying $7.83. However, these costs might not be so difficult to bear considering Zurich’s quality of life is one of the best in the world, as is its economic activity.

3. Oslo, Norway

Last year: 4 (tied with Melbourne)

Cost of living: 128

Loaf of bread (1kg): $5.91

Unleaded petrol (1 liter): $2.41

20 branded cigarettes: $15.44

Bottle of table wine (750ml): $17.13

Photo by John Erling Blad.

Oslo may be expensive, but residents are getting something back for those costs. Norway has the second-best retirement security in the world, and like most northern European countries, its quality of life is among the best in the world.

2. Paris, France

Last year: 8

Cost of living: 129

Loaf of bread (1kg): $8.44

Unleaded petrol (1 liter): $2.50

20 branded cigarettes: $8.95

Bottle of table wine (750ml): $11.45

Photo by Benh Lieu Song

Up 6 places from last year, Paris does not have any specific categories where the cost of living is disproportionately high, the EIU report points out, but the city is costly in a broad array of items. Table wine is one of the cheapest, but petrol and bread are both pricey, as is clothing.

1. Singapore

Last year: 6

Cost of living: 130

Loaf of bread (1kg): $3.36

Unleaded petrol (1 liter): $1.73

20 branded cigarettes: $9.55

Bottle of table wine (750ml): $25.04

Singapore has steadily moved up the ranking from when it was ranked 18 a decade ago. During that time Singapore’s currency has appreciated 40%. Plus, the city has “structurally expensive items,” such as high certificate of entitlement fees attached to car costs, high transport costs, and high utility costs (Singapore is reliant on other countries for energy and water supplies).

The city-state has also become a destination for the world’s wealthy, and as such has seen a proliferation of expensive malls and boutiques with imported luxury European brands.