Visualized: The Most (and Least) Expensive Cities to Live In
Visualizing The Most (and Least) Expensive Cities to Live In
There are many benefits to living in an iconic city like New York or Singapore, but the amenities and exclusivity can come at a high cost.
Cities become “expensive” due to a variety of factors such as high demand for housing, a concentration of high-paying businesses and industries, and a high standard of living. Additionally, factors such as taxes, transportation costs, and availability of goods and services can also contribute to the overall cost of living in global cities.
The infographic above uses data from EIU to rank the world most and least expensive cities to live in. To make the list, the EIU examines 400+ prices for over 200 products and services in 172 cities, surveying a variety of businesses to track price fluctuations over the last year.
Inflation + Strong Currency = Expensive Cities
If you live in a city where many residents find it challenging to put a roof over their heads, food on their plates, and make ends meet, you live in an expensive city.
But if this inflation is compounded with a strong national currency, you may live in one of the world’s most expensive cities.
|#1||New York||🇺🇸 U.S.||100|
|#3||Tel Aviv||🇮🇱 Israel||99|
|#4||Hong Kong||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||98|
|#4||Los Angeles||🇺🇸 U.S.||98|
|#8||San Francisco||🇺🇸 U.S.||85|
Singapore and New York City tied for the first rank amongst the world’s most expensive cities in 2022, pushing Israel’s Tel Aviv from the first place in 2021 to the third place in 2022. Both these cities had high inflation and a strong currency. Surprisingly, this is the Big Apple’s first time atop the ranking.
The city with one of the most expensive real estate markets worldwide, Hong Kong ranked fourth in this list, followed by Los Angeles, which moved up from its ninth rank in 2021.
Poor Economies = Cheaper Cities
Asia continues to dominate the list of the world’s least expensive cities, followed by parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Though affordability sounds good at face value, sitting at the bottom of the ranking isn’t necessarily a coveted position.
While the cost of living in some of the cities in these nations is low, it comes at the price of a weak currency, poor economy, and, in many cases, political and economic turmoil.
|#161||Colombo||🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||38|
The decade-long conflict in Syria weakened the Syrian pound, led to a spiraling inflation and fuel shortages, and further collapsed its economy. It’s no surprise that its capital city of Damascus has maintained its position as the world’s cheapest city.
Tripoli and Tehran, the capitals of Libya and Iran, respectively, follow next on this list, reflecting their weakened economies.
Meanwhile, seven cities in Asia with the common denominator of high-income inequality and low wages dominate the list of the world’s cheapest cities. These include three Indian cities, Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Almaty in Kazakhstan, Pakistan’s most populous city of Karachi, and Sri Lankan capital–Colombo.
Charted: Public Trust in the Federal Reserve
Public trust in the Federal Reserve chair has hit its lowest point in 20 years. Get the details in this infographic.
- Gallup conducts an annual poll to gauge the U.S. public’s trust in the Federal Reserve
- After rising during the COVID-19 pandemic, public trust has fallen to a 20-year low
Charted: Public Trust in the Federal Reserve
Each year, Gallup conducts a survey of American adults on various economic topics, including the country’s central bank, the Federal Reserve.
More specifically, respondents are asked how much confidence they have in the current Fed chairman to do or recommend the right thing for the U.S. economy. We’ve visualized these results from 2001 to 2023 to see how confidence levels have changed over time.
Methodology and Results
The data used in this infographic is also listed in the table below. Percentages reflect the share of respondents that have either a “great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence.
|Year||Fed chair||% Great deal or Fair amount|
Data for 2023 collected April 3-25, with this statement put to respondents: “Please tell me how much confidence you have [in the Fed chair] to recommend the right thing for the economy.”
We can see that trust in the Federal Reserve has fluctuated significantly in recent years.
For example, under Alan Greenspan, trust was initially high due to the relative stability of the economy. The burst of the dotcom bubble—which some attribute to Greenspan’s easy credit policies—resulted in a sharp decline.
On the flip side, public confidence spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was likely due to Jerome Powell’s decisive actions to provide support to the U.S. economy throughout the crisis.
Measures implemented by the Fed include bringing interest rates to near zero, quantitative easing (buying government bonds with newly-printed money), and emergency lending programs to businesses.
Confidence Now on the Decline
After peaking at 58%, those with a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the Fed chair have tumbled to 36%, the lowest number in 20 years.
This is likely due to Powell’s hard stance on fighting post-pandemic inflation, which has involved raising interest rates at an incredible speed. While these rate hikes may be necessary, they also have many adverse effects:
- Negative impact on the stock market
- Increases the burden for those with variable-rate debts
- Makes mortgages and home buying less affordable
Higher rates have also prompted many U.S. tech companies to shrink their workforces, and have been a factor in the regional banking crisis, including the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
Where does this data come from?
Source: Gallup (2023)
Data Notes: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted April 3-25, 2023, with a random sample of –1,013—adults, ages 18+, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on this sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. See source for details.
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