The world’s 20 most expensive cities (in May 2012)

Posted By on 22/05/2012

Australians should be proud of their strong currency—or looking to flee their country.

Our latest data shows that the majority of Australians live in some of the most expensive cities in the world. Every one of Australia’s five major cities (those with more than 1 million residents) is among the 20 most expensive cities in the world, according to our Index.

Sydney (No. 7), is followed by Perth (No. 9), Melbourne (No. 11), Brisbane (No. 14), and Adelaide (No. 19). Those cities’ combined population of 13.8 million people represents 60 percent of Australian’s 22.9 million people—meaning that three out of five Australians, and every Australian in a large city, lives in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

As you can see in the map below, Australia has by far the most cities on the list. The country with the next most is the United States, with three: New York (No. 8), Washington (No. 12), and San Francisco (No. 18). Switzerland has two, Zurich (No. 2) and Geneva (No. 4), and no other country has more than one.

The map shows that eight of the 20 cities are in Europe (though only two of those are in countries that use the euro), three are in East Asia, three are in North America, and six are in Australia and New Zealand. None are in Southern or Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, or Africa. The Australian cities are the only ones in the Southern Hemisphere.

The world’s major financial centers—New York, London, Hong Kong, and Singapore—are all in the top 10. And Tokyo seems to be the No. 1 city in the world in many ways: In addition to being first on the Cost-of-Living Index, it is the largest city in the world and the city with the largest GDP. Even the Australian cities can’t compete with that.

As of today, the 20 most expensive cities in the world are:
  1. Tokyo
  2. Zurich
  3. Oslo
  4. Geneva
  5. London
  6. Singapore
  7. Sydney
  8. New York City
  9. Perth
  10. Hong Kong
  11. Melbourne
  12. Washington D.C.
  13. Paris
  14. Brisbane
  15. Amsterdam
  16. Copenhagen
  17. Stockholm
  18. San Francisco
  19. Adelaide
  20. Auckland