What are the most expensive cities in the world? Every year, Economists Intelligence Unit (EIU) conducts its Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey in which it observes what cities in the world have the highest costs of living and prices for common expenses. The survey for 2023 was conducted between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11. EIU found that prices around the world inflated 7.4% on average and in local currency. This is down from 2022’s 8.1%. 

EIU’s test covers ten categories: groceries, alcoholic beverages, household supplies, personal care, tobacco, utilities, clothing, domestic help, recreation and entertainment and transportation.

The fastest growth amongst these categories in terms of expenses this year that led to inflation was grocery prices, EIU reported. This is mainly because manufacturers and retailers of food have been increasing prices for varying reasons including extreme weather events that have created an incentive to have extra supply ready. Last year, utility bills like household energy and electricity were the fastest-growing expenses. This is due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, considering the US imports petroleum and petroleum products heavily from Russia

US cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City have been amongst the top 10 most expensive cities in the world for several years, but, 2023, they have dropped down in ranking. EIU reported that prices in New York City were up by 1.9% for groceries and recreational items, while other things like gas prices and clothing were lower or remained the same.

The two cities tied at number one of the most expensive cities in the world list are Singapore and Zurich, Switzerland. Singapore remains at number one from last year, but Zurich moved up to tie with it at number one. The large Switzerland city rose from number six last year, knocking New York City down to number three. EIU reported the massive come up for Zurich is due to the value of Switzerland’s currency, the Swiss Franc increasing. Additionally, high prices for groceries, household goods and recreation increased in Zurich and contributed to its expense. Laura Begley Bloom for Forbes reported the high cost of living in Singapore can be attributed to its high costs in groceries, alcohol, clothing and private car ownership.

Bloom wrote that the three other European cities on the list, Geneva, Switzerland, Paris and Copenhagen, Denmark, have risen similarly to Zurich with grocery prices increasing, clothing prices increasing and the value of their local currencies increasing. Bloom also noted that Hong Kong’s spot on the most expensive cities in the world list comes at a bit of a surprise as inflation is lower in Asia. 

Tel Aviv, Israel appears at number eight on the list, but EIU noted all the information recorded for the survey took place before the Israel-Hamas war. So, the city is likely to see a change and energy prices are expected to rise globally because of the war.

Here Is EIU List of the Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in the World

Six cities are tied with another, so they are listed in the same spot. 

1. Singapore, Singapore 

1. Zurich, Switzerland 

3. New York City, USA

3. Geneva, Switzerland 

5. Hong Kong, China

6. Los Angeles, USA

7. Paris, France

8. Copenhagen, Denmark 

8. Tel Aviv, Israel

10. San Francisco, USA