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Visualized: The Most (and Least) Expensive Cities to Live In

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Infographic showing the Most and Least Expensive Cities in the world

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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.

Rank CityCountryIndex Score
#1Singapore🇸🇬 Singapore100
#1New York 🇺🇸 U.S.100
#3Tel Aviv🇮🇱 Israel99
#4Hong Kong🇭🇰 Hong Kong98
#4Los Angeles🇺🇸 U.S.98
#6Zurich🇨🇭 Switzerland94
#7Geneva🇨🇭 Switzerland91
#8San Francisco🇺🇸 U.S.85
#9Paris🇫🇷 France84
#10Copenhagen🇩🇰 Denmark83

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.

RankCityCountryIndex Score
#161Colombo🇱🇰 Sri Lanka38
#161Bangalore🇮🇳 India38
#161Algiers🇩🇿 Algeria38
#164Chennai🇮🇳 India37
#165Ahmedabad🇮🇳 India35
#166Almaty🇰🇿 Kazakhstan34
#167Karachi🇵🇰 Pakistan32
#168Tashkent🇺🇿 Uzbekistan31
#169Tunis🇹🇳 Tunisia30
#170Tehran🇮🇷 Iran23
#171Tripoli🇱🇾 Libya22
#172Dasmascus 🇸🇾 Syria11

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.

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United States

Visualizing Wealth Distribution in America (1990-2023)

Wealth distribution in America is becoming increasingly unequal, with the wealth held by the top 0.1% reaching its highest level on record.

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Visualizing Wealth Distribution in America

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Wealth distribution in America has become increasingly concentrated since 1990.

Today, the share of wealth held by the richest 0.1% is currently at its peak, with households in the highest rung having a minimum of $38 million in wealth. Overall, roughly 131,000 households fall into this elite wealth bracket.

This graphic charts patterns in U.S. household wealth, based on data from the Federal Reserve.

Distribution of U.S. Household Wealth

Below, we show how the share of household wealth breaks down by wealth bracket:

Share of Household Wealth2023 (%)2020 (%)2010 (%)2000 (%)1990 (%)
Top 0.1%141311109
99-99.9%1718181714
90-99%
3638403637
50-90%
3129313436
Bottom 50%
32<134

Figures are as of Q4 for each year aside form 2023 where Q3 data was used based on the most recently available data.

With $20 trillion in wealth, the top 0.1% earn on average $3.3 million in income each year.

The greatest share of their wealth is held in corporate equities and mutual funds, which make up over one-third of their assets. Since 1990, their total share of wealth has grown from from 9% to 14% in 2023—the biggest jump across all wealth brackets.

In fact, the richest 0.1% and 1% were the only two rungs to see their share increase since 1990.

Meanwhile, the greatest decline was seen across the 50-90% bracket—households in the lower-middle and middle classes. Those in this rung have a minimum $165,000 in wealth with the majority of assets in real estate, followed by pension and retirement benefits.

Averaging $51,000 in wealth, the bottom 50% make up the lowest share, accounting for 3% of the wealth distribution in America. Income growth across this bracket has increased by over 10% between 2020 and 2022, higher than all other brackets aside from the top 1%.

Overall, the top 10% richest own more than the bottom 90% combined, with $95 trillion in wealth.

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