Brian loves travelling and he is totally content on the road, looking to the next adventure and earning money as he go.
The media plays a big part in highlighting the glitzy life of the affluent, who live in cities we regular joes can only dream to visit. Some movies such as 'Crazy Rich Asians' and 'Bling Empire' are good examples of shows that depict the life of high flyers and socialites, with their jet-setting lifestyle. Movies like this often depict extravagant locations and the places are indeed so beautiful, which makes us wish so bad that we had the means to stay there. However, these appealing locations may be rather pricey for us average earners. Try imagining paying $9.45 for a loaf of bread or more than $2, 000 a month on rent for a one-bedroom apartment? Would you still choose to live in those cities with an especially high cost of living?
You may shrug off the idea of being able to survive if you ever find yourself in cities that cost too much to maintain a decent standard of living. Well, that seems to be the reality of many people that live in the world's most expensive cities. Let us take a look at which metropolises made the list in 2020.
Los Angeles, California
It is easy to imagine that a city where most movie stars and celebrities call home may very well not be affordable for the common man. While most of the silver screen elites in Los Angeles live in multimillion-dollar mansions located in the compound of the exclusive Beverly Hills, an ordinary citizen needs on average $2, 233 to afford a one-bedroom apartment in other areas of Los Angeles.
Aside from Los Angeles, cities in California have become even less affordable in recent years. Housing costs have continued to skyrocket, and the cities are suffering an unprecedented homelessness crisis. Among the reasons pointed out by specialists are the price of land and labor in the state.
Copenhagen is at par with Los Angeles in terms of being an exorbitant place to live, with a notably high cost of living. The Danish capital is not only famous for its' high prices, but also its remarkable quality of life. Denmark ranked number two on the Year 2020 world 'Happiness Report'. The citizens of Copenhagen might live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, but they also enjoy the benefits of one of the most efficient welfare states.
Workers pay around 55% in taxes, and in return enjoy free healthcare, education, and many social programs. Maybe the high cost of living is not a nagging issue among the folks of Copenhagen when the basics they need are guaranteed by the state.
Geneva, the second biggest city in Switzerland hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world including a major United Nations office and the international Red Cross branch. The city is known to house a very large expatriate community. People from all over the world work and live there. All of this contributes to the rocket high prices of goods and supplies, which ranks the city among the most expensive in the world.
New York, U. S
The Big Apple also famously known as New York City, is probably the leading financial center in the world and a city with a diverse array of businesses and industries.
In 2020, a survey found that a loaf of bread in the city cost on average $9. 45! Just imagine what it would cost to have a proper meal? Living true to its' reputation as a glamorous place to live in, it was estimated that about 113 billionaires reside in New York and that is certainly a world record. According to the financial services company GOBankingRates, a New Yorker needs an annual salary of $200, 000 and probably an average of $19,000 per month to be happy. That is one big sum of money that they are pressured to earn, which could explain why New Yorkers are famous for being cranky.
It is no surprise if you find a city in Japan on top of the list of the most expensive place to live in. Japan is well-known for its' high standard of living, which of course will reflect on the cost of living naturally. In fact, Japan was actually number one when it comes to personal computer prices. In the year 2020, a computer in Japan costs on average $1, 828.00! Imagine having to pay that kind of money for a laptop when you just started out your career.
When Covid-19 shook the world with its' deadly after-effects, Osaka took a big hit and consumer prices in the city stagnated. The Japanese government subsidized costs such as public transport and in 2020, the city slipped four points on the economist ranking last year. Perhaps, the Japanese city is becoming more affordable?
Tel Aviv, Israel
The Israeli city famous for its' sunny promenade and nightlife, is also among the most expensive place in the world. A night out for two people in a mid-range restaurant costs on average $92.26. However, not to worry; if you are planning to visit, you will always be able to find a Jeep and delicious falafel stand just around the corner. Talk about travelling on a tight budget.
Singapore is famous for its exorbitant prices and has topped the list of the most expensive place to live several times. Alas, just like other countries around the globe, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the city very hard, and prices fell as foreign workers left in masses. It was the first year since 2003 that the overall population contracted. This resulted in a decline in demand as well as deflation. Inadvertently, the glam scenery of the Hollywood blockbuster 'Crazy Rich Asians' became a little bit more affordable for the not-so-crazy rich then.
The year 2020 saw cities across America, Africa, and Eastern Europe becoming more affordable while Western European cities became pricier mainly because of the rise of European currencies against the Dollar. The French capital is often associated with glamour, luxury, Haute couture, and much more. Paris also became a talking point among series watchers in 2020, as Netflix debuted its head show 'Emily in Paris'. The show immediately became the subject of a lot of debate and discussions. How was it possible that the main character, Emily Cooper, could afford such a lavish lifestyle with an Eiffel Tower view from her apartment while working only as a Marketing Executive at a Marketing firm?
The main actor, Lucas Bravo, who plays Emily's love interest in the series, said the show only portrays a very narrow slice of Parisian life. It seems cliché that Emily is living life in Paris because, in reality, very few would be able to move there and afford a lifelike Emily's with lots of eating out, parties and expensive clothes, as portrayed in the movie, since the city is getting more expensive every year.
The other European city topping the 'Most Expensive' list is Zurich. The banking center is known for its' crazy prices and high standard of living. For example, having a meal in a mid-range restaurant in Zurich, a couple will spend no less than $125 on average. Research shows that 7.5% of the Swiss population are millionaires, who mostly reside in Zurich. The presence of so many millionaires plays a big role in the high prices of the Swiss city.
Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
Hong Kong is infamous for its' population density. The former British colony has a huge real estate problem and in fact, is considered the world's least affordable housing market, albeit the rise in real estate prices has slowed down somewhat in recent years. It is still a lot higher than the rest of the world due to the skyrocketing population growth over the last decades. The situation is so crazy in Hong Kong, that once a 135-square-foot parking space was sold for a whopping $969,000! Mind you that this is just a parking spot for the car and not included in the cost of the apartment. Just imagine how much more an apartment would cost in the building.
Hong Kong is well known for being Asia's biggest financial center, attracting businesses from all over the world, and many international companies have a presence there. These attract well-paid individuals, usually expatriates to flock over and build their life in Hong Kong. Naturally, this plays a pivotal role in pushing prices up.
Nella DiCarlo from Guelph, Ontario on March 29, 2021:
Informative article. At times with expensive cities things can be slightly more affordable by doing research about food, drink and entertainment options
Liz Westwood from UK on March 28, 2021:
This is an interesting and well-illustrated article. I recall visits to Switzerland and an extended stay in Geneva from many years ago. Even then it was considered expensive. We had a weekend break in Paris around 10 years ago. The total budget would have paid for 1-2 weeks at a cheaper destination in Europe. London too is considered expensive within the UK.