Top 10 most expensive cities in the world

Font Size:

From simple daily activities to global travel, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on people and the cities in which they live.

It’s affected the cost of living around the world, in some cities more than others.

It’s affected the value of many a nation’s currency. It’s cut off imports and exports, making some products very hard to get or expensive, if available.

Consequently, the most expensive cities in the world list for 2020 has changed significantly, according to the latest Cost of Living Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Paris and Zurich have now joined Hong Kong tied in top place for most expensive cities in the world, according to the latest index, which compared the prices of 138 goods and services from 130 cities and found that prices on average grew 0.3 per cent over the past year.

Singapore, Osaka and Hong Kong comprised the top three in the previous survey, but changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic saw the two European cities surge past Singapore and Osaka.

Destinations in Africa, the Americans and Eastern Europe became less expensive since March, mainly due to currency fluctuations.

Western Europe has not been so lucky, as the Euro has risen in value against the US dollar causing prices to rise.

Singapore fell to fourth in world rankings. Osaka and Tel Aviv are now tied for fifth place, and Geneva, New York City, Copenhagen and Los Angeles complete the top 10.

Australia’s highest entry, Sydney, is now the 15th most expensive city.

Perth was the biggest Aussie mover in the latest index, and one of the two biggest movers overall, moving up 12 places to 67th most expensive city in the world.

Only Tehran moved higher up the ladder than Perth – with US sanctions and subsequent price increases pushing the Middle Eastern city up 27 rungs to 79th place.

The cost of packaged goods, such as coffee, cheese, rice and orange juice, increased across most cities, but overall average prices for food and groceries remained flat.

Shortages of goods such as toilet rolls and pasta led to big overall price rises in some categories.

Tobacco and recreation were behind the biggest price increases, with clothing prices seeing the steepest decline.

For which goods did you most notice the cost increase during the pandemic?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Where will you pay the most for a cup of coffee?

Discover who topped the list for eye-watering latte prices.

UK traveller assesses how expensive it is to travel Australia

A UK traveller offers some insights for travelling around Australia for less.

Most expensive cities to die in revealed

Putting funeral costs under the microscope across Australia.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 2
  1. 0

    I noticed that the biggest basic food price increase during the pandemic was RICE, both Australian & Imported. I can possibly understand that the Australian rice price increase came about due to climatic conditions, but it seemed to coincide with the increases for imported rice, which then coincided with the pandemic. Some increases were in the range of 50% to over 100%. Why ?

  2. 0

    As a native of Zurich I traveled there for many years, missed out this year for obvious reasons, I find the place not that expensive, certainly not dearer than Sydney which which I am familiar as well. If you know where to shop and eat and drink you find it quite affordable. Groceries and booze are cheaper or the same, however, meat products are at least double, so Vegans would save heaps!



continue reading


Mozzies biting? Here's how to choose a repellent - and how to use it

Mozzies biting? Here's how to choose a repellent (and how to use it for the best protection) Shutterstock Cameron Webb,...


Sir Bob Geldof on grief, fame and getting through it all

I've hardly started questioning Sir Bob Geldof before he is off on a long, sweary rant about everything he thinks...


Abandon Australia Day and choose the history we want to celebrate?

Australia Day is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in Australia. On 26 January 1788, 11 convict...


Speaking up for the disappearing art of listening

Columnist Peter Leith is 91 and describes himself as "half-deaf and half-blind". But he sees and hears a lot and...


Hyperpigmentation: How to tackle those tricky dark patches on your ski

There are plenty of great things about summer - sunshine, picnics and fruity cocktails immediately spring to mind - but...


Enthralling, dystopian, sublime: NGV Triennial has a huge 'wow' factor

Refik Anadol: Quantum memories 2020 (render) custom software, quantum computing, generative algorithm with artificial intelligence (AI), real time digital animation...


Where to eat, drink and play on Kangaroo Island

Australia's third largest island is an oasis of pristine wilderness, premium produce and hidden secrets ripe for discovery. Easily accessible...


Will you need a vaccination to visit Australian venues?

State premiers have suggested that once vaccinations begin in Australia, those without vaccinations may be banned from visiting some venues...