The 20 Most Expensive Cities in the World


cities tokyo
Image: Francisco Diez

They say that can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a Big Mac and an iPhone. Whether you need to work four hours or 400 hours to bag them may depend on where you live as much as what you earn. A recent survey by financial firm UBS analyzed these parameters in 71 cities around the world then ranked them in order of cost of living. So, do you live in one of the world’s most expensive cities? And what are your wages actually worth? The results may surprise you.

Exp cities Helsinki
Image: Pöllö

20. Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a prosperous, civilized place. The cost of goods and services for a three-person family is $2,485 per month (roughly equivalent to Hong Kong) with housing a little pricier than Brussels, but its citizens benefit from free healthcare and education, low crime rates, solid infrastructure, a clean environment, and 29 days of annual paid vacation.


Exp cities Toronto
Image: Benson Kua

19. Toronto, Canada

Toronto was one of two Canadian cities surveyed by UBS. It scored highly in terms of expense in most measures (goods and services were $2,609 per month), but when rent costs were taken into account its overall ranking fell from 12 to 19. For now, housing costs in the world’s most multicultural city remain relatively affordable.