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.
Ranked: The Cities with the Most Skyscrapers in 2023
We rank the world’s leading cities with the most skyscrapers, highlighting China’s remarkable dominance in building vertically.
Ranked: The Cities with the Most Skyscrapers in 2023
When it comes to soaring skylines and architectural marvels, no country has embraced the vertical revolution quite like China.
In this graphic, which uses data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), we reveal the 25 cities with the most skyscrapers and supertall buildings globally.
Unsurprisingly, China’s cities dominate the list, solidifying the country’s reputation as a global powerhouse of tall buildings.
The 25 Top Cities by Skyscraper Count
Topping the charts is Hong Kong, with an impressive 657 skyscrapers, including six supertalls (buildings over 300 meters tall).
|Rank||City||Country||Skyscrapers (>150m)||Supertalls (>300m)|
|1||Hong Kong||🇨🇳 China||657||6|
|3||New York City||🇺🇸 United States||421||16|
|4||Dubai||🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||395||28|
|7||Kuala Lumpur||🇲🇾 Malaysia||211||5|
|11||Chicago||🇺🇸 United States||178||7|
|22||Busan||🇰🇷 South Korea||106||4|
|23||Seoul||🇰🇷 South Korea||104||2|
Hong Kong, along with Shenzhen (#2), and Guangzhou (#5) are part of the burgeoning megacity known as the Pearl River Delta, which is home to over 1,500 skyscrapers. This is even more impressive when considering that Shenzhen was a small fishing village until the 1970s.
New York City secures the third position on the list, boasting an impressive tally of 421 skyscrapers. Although it may have relinquished its title to Chinese cities, the city’s skyline endures as a globally renowned symbol, prominently featuring the iconic Empire State Building. Notably, while the Empire State Building enjoys widespread familiarity, it no longer ranks among the world’s 50 tallest structures.
Rounding out the top five is Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which grabs the fourth position with 395 skyscrapers, a staggering 28 of which are supertalls. This desert oasis has become synonymous with grandiose architecture and record-breaking structures, exemplified by the Burj Khalifa, which is the world’s current tallest building at 828 meters (2,715 ft).
China’s Numbers in Context
Looking at this data from another perspective, China actually has more skyscrapers on this list than the rest of the world combined.
|Country||Cities in Top 25||Skyscrapers||Supertalls|
|🌐 Rest of World||13||2350||67|
China’s rapid urbanization, economic growth, and ambitious construction projects have fueled this impressive feat. There’s no doubt that the country’s relentless pursuit of vertical development, coupled with its booming population and thriving cities, has positioned China as the unrivaled leader in the global skyscraper race.
The Future of the Global Skyline
As the world continues to reach new heights in architectural marvels, there are even more supertall skyscrapers in the pipeline that will reshape skylines across the globe.
From the soaring Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, poised to surpass the Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building, to the remarkable Merdeka 118 in Kuala Lumpur, which is set to claim the title of the world’s second-tallest structure when it opens in June 2023, these projects will captivate city dwellers for years to come.
Even as these new monumental buildings rise, China’s prominence in the world of skyscrapers—with three cities in the top five globally—is likely to remain unchallenged.
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