Vienna Ranked Fourteenth Most Expensive City in the World

More+More+ ♦ Published: December 1, 2021; 19:44 ♦ (Vindobona)

While Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the world and tops the Cost of Living Index 2021, Paris and Singapore are tied for second, followed by Zurich and Hong Kong in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Vienna comes in fourteenth place after Tokyo and jointly with Sydney. Damascus, Syria, was named the world’s cheapest city. See the full list of the world's most expensive cities to live in 2021.

Vienna's Giant Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad). / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Otto Domes [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

The Worldwide Cost of Living Index 2021, published by the EIU - Economist Intelligence Unit, explores the cost of living in 173 cities, measured against impactful global events.

On average, prices for goods and services have risen by 3.5% year-on-year, the highest inflation rate seen in the last five years.

The survey, which compares the prices of more than 200 products and services in cities around the world, is primarily used by firms to negotiate appropriate compensation when relocating staff, but it can also reveal pricing trends at both the local and global level. 

Supply-chain problems related to the pandemic have pushed the price of goods up in much of the world. Also, changing consumer demand have pushed up the cost of living in many of the biggest cities, and inflation is the fastest recorded over the past five years.

In September the cost of shipping a standard container was four times higher than a year earlier.

Some cities experienced additional pressure. American sanctions imposed on Iran pushed its capital, Tehran, 50 places up the ranking to 29th.

The price of the EIU’s basket of goods and services there has risen by 42% in local-currency terms since November 2020.

The Israeli city of Tel Aviv tops the rankings for the first time ever, overtaking last year's leader Paris and making it the most expensive city in the world to live in. The Israeli city climbed from fifth place last year, pushing Paris down into joint second-place with Singapore.

The EIU attributes Tel Aviv's sharp rise on the index to increases to grocery and transport prices and the strength of the Israeli shekel against the US dollar.

The index is benchmarked against prices in New York City, hence cities with currencies that are stronger against the US dollar are likely to appear higher in the rankings.

Zurich and Hong Kong are at numbers four and five respectively, having held the top spot last year alongside Paris.

New York, Geneva, Copenhagen, Los Angeles and Osaka round up the rest of the top 10.

The upper rankings rankings continues to be dominated by European and developed Asian cities.

The lowest-ranking cities are mainly in the Middle East, Africa and less wealthy parts of Asia.

World's most expensive cities to live 2021

1. Tel Aviv, Israel
2. Paris, France
2. Singapore
4. Zurich, Switzerland
5. Hong Kong
6. New York City, New York
7. Geneva, Switzerland
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
9. Los Angeles, California
10. Osaka, Japan
11. Oslo, Norway
12. Seoul, South Korea
13. Tokyo, Japan
14. Vienna, Austria
14. Sydney, Australia
16. Melbourne, Australia
17. Helsinki, Finland
17. London, UK
19. Dublin, Ireland
19. Frankfurt, Germany
19. Shanghai, China

EIU - Economist Intelligence Unit