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World’s 20 Most Expensive And Affordable Cities To Live In

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World’s 20 Most Expensive And Affordable Cities To Live In

Many different rankings of the world’s most affordable and expensive cities exist, but several fail to take into account different ways of life in other countries. For example, over populated countries that raise the price of registering a car in order to encourage residents to take public transit are often cited as more expensive countries. This does not take into account the fact that most residents in these countries do not typically own a car.

On the other hand, lists of the cheapest cities to live in usually do not take into account the lifestyle and safety of a place. For example, Haiti or Pakistan may be among the cheapest countries to live in, but civil unrest means you are unlikely to settle there. One ranking from Expatistan however, compares cities based on a slew of realistic purchases in food, living, entertainment, and transportation.

Among the 247 cities categorized, many fall in dangerous or underdeveloped regions. For this reason, and to compare a wide spread of locations, we’ve taken twenty cities out of Expatistan’s most and least expensive cities around the world. With these practical considerations in mind, these are 10 of the most expensive and affordable cities you’d want to live in:

Most Expensive

10. Hamburg, Germany

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    Gunther Wegner

    Ranked number 66 out of 247 cities, Hamburg is among the more affordable “expensive” cities. With nearly 2 million residents and an impressively temperate climate, Hamburg is one of the most attractive cities for expats.

    Average costs:

    • Fast food combo meal  $8
    • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.28
    • 1 kg of apples  $3.27
    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.81
    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 577
    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $106
    • Monthly transit pass $92
    • 1 roll on deodorant $2.48
    • 2 tickets to movies $26
    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $7

    9. Vancouver, Canada

    1793982892_3ac7d7f535_b

      JamesZ_Flickr

      Also among the more affordable cities in the “expensive” list is Vancouver, Canada. Ranked 53 out of 247 cities, Vancouver boasts about 2.5 million residents in the greater metro area.

      Average costs:

      • Fast food combo meal  $7
      • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.47
      • 1 kg of apples  $2.75
      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.35
      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 124
      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $125
      • Monthly transit pass $89
      • 1 roll on deodorant $3.98
      • 2 tickets to movies $23
      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $10

      8. Tokyo, Japan

      4092898500_572c94582e_b

        sebastien batardy

        The next most expensive city on our list is Tokyo, Japan, ranked number 37 out of 247 cities. Unsurprisingly, with nearly 38 million residents, this city is among the more expensive cities when it comes to rent.

        Average costs:

        • Fast food combo meal  $5.60
        • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.82
        • 1 kg of apples  $5.42
        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.29
        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 749
        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $70
        • Monthly transit pass $92
        • 1 roll on deodorant $6
        • 2 tickets to movies $31
        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.88

        7. Honolulu, United States

        7109721751_2ce3abb315_b

          John Fowler

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          With only about a million residents in the greater Honolulu area, Honolulu’s isolated location in Hawaii likely accounts for it’s higher than average prices. Coming in at number 27 of 247 cities, this slice of paradise is still more affordable than New York City, Sydney or San Francisco.

          Average costs:

          • Fast food combo meal  $8
          • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.08
          • 1 kg of apples  $5.95
          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.47
          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 620
          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $74
          • Monthly transit pass $80
          • 1 roll on deodorant $4.22
          • 2 tickets to movies $21
          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $10

          6. Amsterdam, Netherlands

          5238675948_3b5dd8fe83_b

            Moyan Brenn

            Originating as a small fishing village around the 12th century, Amsterdam has grown to a premiere European destination. Ranked 23rd out of 247 cities, Amsterdam sees slightly lower rent than other “most expensive” cities, but higher prices on day to day purchases.

            Average costs:

            • Fast food combo meal  $9
            • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.27
            • 1 kg of apples  $3.07
            • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.57
            • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 266
            • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $127
            • Monthly transit pass $113
            • 1 roll on deodorant $3.17
            • 2 tickets to movies $26
            • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $8

            5. Paris, France

            6672156239_822c689d3d_b

              Moyan Brenn

              Ranked 14th out of 247 cities, Paris is home to some of the most famous destinations in the world, including the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and countless fashion and food events. While transit costs and basic groceries are average priced, on this list only New York City and Zurich cost more for rent.

              Average costs:

              • Fast food combo meal  $9
              • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.62
              • 1 kg of apples  $3.02
              • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.98
              • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $3 285
              • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $102
              • Monthly transit pass $81
              • 1 roll on deodorant $4.85
              • 2 tickets to movies $25
              • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $9

              4. Sydney, Australia

              2553570276_1106779499_b

                Corey Leopold

                Another popular tourist destination, Sydney is ranked 13th most expensive by Expatistan. While rent costs are lower than some of the other “most expensive” cities on this list, more expensive transit and consumer goods push this city higher in the rankings.

                Average costs:

                • Fast food combo meal  $7
                • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.40
                • 1 kg of apples  $3.60
                • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $3.05
                • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 708
                • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $123
                • Monthly transit pass $127
                • 1 roll on deodorant $3.80
                • 2 tickets to movies $33
                • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $17

                3. New York City, United States

                10842014626_6e48b04fa1_h

                  Roman Iakoubtchik

                  Number 7 of 247 cities, New York City sees high prices for most goods and services. With about 8.5 million residents, New York also is among the most pricey for rent costs.

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                  Average costs:

                  • Fast food combo meal  $7
                  • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.54
                  • 1 kg of apples  $3.92
                  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.19
                  • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $4 075
                  • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $85
                  • Monthly transit pass $114
                  • 1 roll on deodorant $4.13
                  • 2 tickets to movies $28
                  • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $13

                  2. Oslo, Norway

                  4468389726_8b2b18e43d_b

                    2Tales

                    Oslo, the capital of Norway, ranks 4th most expensive out of 247 cities around the world. Though rent costs fall below those in New York or Paris, Oslo sees higher costs on groceries, transit and other goods.

                    Average costs:

                    • Fast food combo meal  $14
                    • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.36
                    • 1 kg of apples  $2.91
                    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $4.55
                    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 883
                    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $134
                    • Monthly transit pass $107
                    • 1 roll on deodorant $5.90
                    • 2 tickets to movies $33
                    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $15

                    1. Zurich, Switzerland

                    11875643915_13dc8540e9_k

                      kuhnmi

                      According to Expatistan, Zurich is the most expensive city to live in in the world. On average, from fast food to rent to entertainment, purchases in this Swiss hub cost more than anywhere else.

                      Average costs:

                      • Fast food combo meal  $14
                      • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.76
                      • 1 kg of apples  $3.58
                      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.71
                      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $3 594
                      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $154
                      • Monthly transit pass $97
                      • 1 roll on deodorant $6
                      • 2 tickets to movies $38
                      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $8

                      Most Affordable

                      10. Valencia, Spain

                      valencia

                        Felivet

                        Velencia is the third largest city in Spain, with about 2.5 million residents in the greater metro area. Ranked 165th, this city also boasts affordable rent, transit and consumer goods. 

                        Average costs:

                        • Fast food combo meal  $8
                        • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.40
                        • 1 kg of apples  $2.18
                        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.78
                        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 006
                        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $93
                        • Monthly transit pass $52
                        • 1 roll on deodorant $3.94
                        • 2 tickets to movies $21
                        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $5.97

                        9. Bangkok, Thailand 

                        7032083211_a730e00ce8_k

                          Evo Flash

                          Since Thailand is known for affordable vacations, it should be no surprise that Thailand is one of the more affordable cities to live in, ranking 194th out of 247 cities. Despite nearly 15 million residents in the greater Bangkok area, rent for this city remains accessible.

                          Average costs:

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                          • Fast food combo meal  $4.64
                          • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.34
                          • 1 kg of apples  $2.68
                          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.16
                          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 200
                          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $106
                          • Monthly transit pass $28
                          • 1 roll on deodorant $2.93
                          • 2 tickets to movies $11
                          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.57

                          8. Lima, Peru

                          9444298324_6e28dfb861_k

                            Serious Cat

                            With a bustling population of about 8.5 million, Lima is not only the capital of Peru, it is the fifth largest city in North and South America. Despite a high population density, this city offers affordable groceries, rent and transit.

                            Average costs:

                            • Fast food combo meal  $4.84
                            • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.28
                            • 1 kg of apples  $1.95
                            • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.96
                            • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 006
                            • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $95
                            • Monthly transit pass $27
                            • 1 roll on deodorant $4.91
                            • 2 tickets to movies $11
                            • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.67

                            7. Budapest, Hungary

                            8082258732_dd1e56bdd8_k

                              Moyan Brenn

                              Another affordable European city is Budapest, capital of Hungary. Ranked 208th, Budapest not only offers cheap cost of living, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

                              Average costs:

                              • Fast food combo meal  $5.74
                              • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.12
                              • 1 kg of apples  $1.20
                              • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.57
                              • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $669
                              • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $90
                              • Monthly transit pass $40
                              • 1 roll on deodorant $2.87
                              • 2 tickets to movies $14
                              • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4

                              6. Casablanca, Morocco

                              Parc_de_la_Ligue_Arabe,_Casablanca

                                Unknown

                                Slightly more affordable than Budapest is Casablanca, Morocco, coming in at 210 out of 247 cities. While rent in Casablanca is higher than several of our most affordable cities, residents get a break on the price of transit, groceries and consumer goods.

                                Average costs:

                                • Fast food combo meal  $5.81
                                • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.83
                                • 1 kg of apples  $1.83
                                • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.35
                                • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 098
                                • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $78
                                • Monthly transit pass $21
                                • 1 roll on deodorant $3.33
                                • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.72

                                5. Prague, Czech Republic

                                St Charles Bridge Prague

                                  Jorge Royan

                                  Also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is Prague, ranked 211th out of 247 cities. Another top European city for cheap cost of living, this city is also home to a temperate climate and is consistently ranked as a top vacation destination.

                                  Average costs:

                                  • Fast food combo meal  $5.81
                                  • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.95
                                  • 1 kg of apples  $1.36
                                  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.59
                                  • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $962
                                  • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $79
                                  • Monthly transit pass $25
                                  • 1 roll on deodorant $2.99
                                  • 2 tickets to movies $14
                                  • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.57

                                  4. Bucharest, Romania

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                                  8020977260_94c7cde397_k

                                    Mario Sánchez Prada

                                    With around 2 million residents, Bucharest is the center of Romanian culture and art. This eastern European city is ranked 214th, making it another affordable option with a rich cultural past.

                                    Average costs:

                                    • Fast food combo meal  $5.13
                                    • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.33
                                    • 1 kg of apples  $1.09
                                    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.65
                                    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $800
                                    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $80
                                    • Monthly transit pass $16
                                    • 1 roll on deodorant $4.22
                                    • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4.08

                                    3. Krakow, Poland

                                    5214905_ddee0e6f0e_b

                                      Craig Wyzik

                                      One of the oldest cities in Poland, Krakow is ranked 217th on the list of most expensive cities. Affordable living expenses and commercial goods make this city an ideal place to settle for expats.

                                      Average costs: 

                                      • Fast food combo meal  $5.05
                                      • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.83
                                      • 1 kg of apples  $1.05
                                      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.68
                                      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $909
                                      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $73
                                      • Monthly transit pass $27
                                      • 1 roll on deodorant $3.15
                                      • 2 tickets to movies $12
                                      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.76

                                      2. Lodz, Poland

                                      8076430869_84885dca06_b

                                        Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

                                        Also located in Poland, Lodz is centrally located with about 1.5 million residents in the greater metro area and sits at number 227 out of 247 cities. Another affordable European city, Lodz is a relatively safe and secure city boasting impressively accessible cost of living.

                                        Average costs:

                                        • Fast food combo meal  $5.19
                                        • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.86
                                        • 1 kg of apples  $0.85
                                        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.51
                                        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $706
                                        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $85
                                        • Monthly transit pass $24
                                        • 1 roll on deodorant $3.22
                                        • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4.01

                                        1. Delhi, India

                                        6849982923_9b58efd08d_b

                                          VasenkaPhotography

                                          Delhi, the capital of India is the most affordable city to make it onto our list, ranked 239th out of the 247 most expensive cities. Known for it’s high population density and rich history, Delhi is truly a hotspot for those looking for affordable international destinations.

                                          Average costs:

                                          • Fast food combo meal  $3.93
                                          • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.74
                                          • 1 kg of apples  $1.92
                                          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.11
                                          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $502
                                          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $56
                                          • Monthly transit pass $17
                                          • 1 roll on deodorant $2.70
                                          • 2 tickets to movies $8
                                          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.72

                                          All prices are in US dollars, based on conversion rates in November 2014. See Expatisan’s full city ranking here.

                                          Featured photo credit: sebastien batardy via flickr.com

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