Dec 3, 2021 - World

The world's most expensive city: Tel Aviv

The Tel Aviv skyline

The Tel Aviv skyline. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

Tel Aviv, Israel, rose to the top of the 2021 rankings of the world's most expensive cities, eclipsing such notoriously pricey metropolises as New York (No. 5) and Paris and Singapore (which tied for second place).

  • The annual Worldwide Cost of Living report (download) includes 173 cities and is put out by the Economist Group's Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
  • Per the report: "The inflation rate of the prices that we track ... across cities is the fastest recorded over the past five years."
  • "It has accelerated beyond the pre-pandemic rate, rising by 3.5% year on year in local-currency terms in 2021, compared with an increase of just 1.9% in 2020 and 2.8% in 2019."

The rise of Tel Aviv — which climbed from fifth place last year — "mainly reflects its soaring currency and price increases for around one-tenth of goods in the city, led by groceries and transport, in local-currency terms," EIU said.

Details: According to the report, Rome saw the biggest rankings drop — to 48th from 32nd — "with a particularly sharp decline in its shopping basket and clothing categories."

  • Tehran climbed the most — to 29th from 79th — as U.S. sanctions on Iran "led to continued shortages of goods and rising import prices."
  • Per EIU: "Most U.S. cities have fallen in the rankings compared with last year, after the government responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by injecting more money into the economy."

Where it stands: The 10 most expensive cities are:

  1. Tel Aviv
  2. Singapore/Paris (tie)
  3. Zurich
  4. Hong Kong
  5. New York
  6. Geneva
  7. Copenhagen, Denmark
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Osaka, Japan
Go deeper