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.
Where the Ultra-Rich Spend Their Holidays
In this graphic, we visualize the destinations that saw the biggest influx of seasonal centi-millionaire residents in 2022.
Visualized: Where the Ultra-Rich Spend Their Holidays
There are more than 25,000 centi-millionaires around the world today, forming an elite club composed primarily of founders and heirs of family fortunes.
According to Henley & Partners, most of these individuals—who have more than $100 million in investable assets by definition—split their time between several properties each year.
To explore the destinations that are the most sought-after by the ultra-wealthy, we’ve visualized the cities that saw the biggest influx of seasonal centi-millionaire residents in 2022, using data from Henley & Partners.
Centi-Millionaire Vacation Hotspots
The top three seasonal vacation hotspots of the ultra-rich are found in the United States: Miami, the Hamptons, and Florida’s West Palm Beach.
This may not come as a shock given the concentration of centi-millionaires in the United States, with New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles being home to the highest number of centi-millionaire residents in the world.
Regardless of where they live year-round, the table below reveals where these elites flock for seasonal getaways in their secondary homes.
|Rank||City or Town||Year-Round Centi-Millionaire Residents, 2022||Peak Holiday Month Centi-Millionaire Residents, 2022|
|1||🇺🇸 Miami, Florida||160||800|
|2||🇺🇸 The Hamptons, New York||25||700|
|3||🇺🇸 West Palm Beach, Florida||64||400|
|4||🇫🇷 Paris, France||126||300|
|5||🇺🇸 Santa Barbara & Montecito, California||82||200|
|6||🇺🇸 San Diego, California||70||200|
|7||🇫🇷 Nice, France||60||200|
|8||🇺🇸 Napa, California||28||200|
|9||🇵🇹 Golden Triangle, Algarve, Portugal||20||200|
|10||🇺🇸 Aspen, Colorado||6||200|
|11||🇺🇸 Carmel-by-the-Sea, California||40||150|
|12||🇺🇸 Boca Raton, Florida||38||150|
|13||🇵🇹 Lisbon, Portugal||35||150|
|14||🇨🇭 Lugano, Switzerland||30||150|
|15||🇫🇷 Cannes, France||20||150|
|16||🇫🇷 Antibes, France||18||150|
|17||🇺🇸 Jackson Hole, Wyoming||10||150|
The data above only considers centi-millionaires vacationing in their secondary residences, therefore excluding hotel stays, holiday rentals, and yachts. Peak holiday months vary for each location.
Beyond the 10 U.S. cities that constitute the top 17 centi-millionaire seasonal hotspots, we come across several French cities on the list, including Paris, Nice, Cannes, and Antibes, as well as Portugal’s Golden Triangle and Lisbon.
Global Centi-Millionaire Trends
According to Henley & Partners’ 2023 Centi-Millionaire Report, the global centi-millionaire population is expected to grow by 38% in the next decade, reaching nearly 40,000 by 2033.
Much of this growth is expected to be seen in countries such as China, India, and Saudi Arabia. China’s Hangzhou and Shenzhen, specifically, are expected to see the highest percentage growth in centi-millionaire populations through 2033, growing by 95% and 88%, respectively.
Despite the rapid growth of the wealthy in the global East, however, it’s notable that many centi-millionaires are still graduating from American universities.
More than half of the top 20 universities with the most centi-millionaire alumni are in the United States, with Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania making up the top three spots.
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