released today by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) reveals
soaring price increases are contributing to the fastest rise in the
cost of living for city dwellers in five years. The EIU’s 2021 WCOL
index, which tracks the cost of living in 173 cities across the
world, also reveals Tel Aviv is now the world’s most expensive
city, rising from fifth place in 2020 to overtake Paris, which
previously occupied the top spot.
average, prices for the goods and services covered by WCOL have risen
by 3.5% year on year in local-currency terms, compared with an
increase of just 1.9% this time last year. Transport costs rose most
rapidly in this year’s survey, mainly because of rising oil prices
driving a 21% increase in the price of unleaded petrol, but the
recreation, tobacco and personal care categories also showed strong
increases. These numbers exclude four cities suffering from very high
inflation—Caracas, Damascus, Buenos Aires and Tehran.
rankings continue to be sensitive to shifts brought about by the
Covid-19 pandemic. The survey data were collected between August 16th
and September 12th 2021, when freight rates and commodity prices were
continuing to rise across the world. Combined with fluctuating
consumer demand and exchange-rate shifts, the resulting supply
problems have fuelled price rises in the world’s major cities.
Aviv topped the rankings for the first time, climbing from fifth
place last year. Tel Aviv’s rise mainly reflects the strength of
the Israeli currency, the shekel, against the US dollar (the WCOL
index is benchmarked against prices in New York City) and increases
to grocery and transport prices. The city that saw the biggest jump
was Tehran (Iran), which rose from 79th to 29th place as US
sanctions caused shortages and price increases.
general, the top of the rankings is still dominated by European and
developed Asian cities, while North American and Chinese cities
remain relatively moderately priced. The cheapest cities are mainly
in the Middle East and Africa, or the poorer parts of Asia. Damascus
(Syria) has retained its place as the cheapest city in the world to
live in. It came at the bottom in seven of the ten pricing
categories, and close to the bottom in the remaining three.
from bottom was Tripoli (Libya), which was one of the 40 new cities
added to our rankings this year. In total, ten new cities came in the
bottom 50 of this year’s WCOL index, while only three new cities
appeared in the top 50.
most expensive of the new cities is Edinburgh (UK), which came joint