- In 2018, Singapore was named the world’s most expensive city to live in for the fifth consecutive year. That’s partially thanks to the cost of buying and running a car in the city.
- Paris and Zurich are tied for second place in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living report.
- Asian and European cities dominate the list; the highest ranking American city is New York City (No. 13).
Singapore has spent five years dominating the list of the world’s most expensive cities.
That’s according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living report, which compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services including categories like food, drink, clothing, household supplies, rent, transport, and utility bills.
Singapore’s placement in rankings comes down, in part, to one specific category: It is the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car.
As CNN reported, the government regulates car ownership in the city-state by issuing a limited number of permits. Citizens have to purchase these permits, which are valid for 10 years and cost, as of October 2017, as much as $37,000 a piece.
“Vehicles are also subject to huge price markups because of various taxes and import duties, which means a small SUV can set you back more than 100,000 Singapore dollars ($74,000),” the 2017 CNN report continued.
Beyond car ownership, the city also ranks among the most expensive places in the world to buy clothes (No. 3).
Singapore is followed by Paris and Zurich in a tie for second place; these three cities lead the way for a list of primarily European and Asian cities.
The highest-ranking American city on the list is New York City in 13th place, followed closely by Los Angeles in 14th. According to the EIU, despite a rise in the cost of living in American cities, both cities fell relative to their 2017 rankings (9th and 11th respectively), largely thanks to the weakening American dollar.
In addition to being the most expensive city in the world, Singapore is one of the most popular cities in the world for tourists: In 2018, it ranked third on Euromonitor International’s annual list of the biggest cities for international tourism. With a projected 18.5 million arrivals in 2018, it was outranked only by Bangkok and Hong Kong.
It has also named the best city in the world for expats, most recently in 2018.
But, while the city might be known for its opulence, wealth, and futuristic architecture – as recently depicted in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” Business Insider’s international correspondent Harrison Jacobs found the city to be accessible and fun even without billions of dollars to spend.
“… I found that the city was full of cheap, delicious food, efficient public transportation, top-notch museums, a budding nightlife scene, and beautiful parks,” he wrote. “As I quickly learned, if you do as the Singaporeans do, you can easily have a blast in the city without breaking the bank.”