World's most expensive cities of 2023: See which US cities made the list

Three U.S. cities remain in the top 10 most expensive places on the planet in 2023, though all three have fallen in their rankings thanks to lower rates of inflation, according to a new report.

The biannual Worldwide Cost of Living survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the research and analysis division of the Economist Group, shows that inflation is still impacting cities across the globe: prices worldwide rose by an average of 7.4%, slightly less than the 8.1% price increase reported in 2022.

"Supply-chain disruptions have eased and interest rates have risen, but [inflation] remains significantly above the trend in 2017-21," the report says. 

What makes a city expensive? 


Buildings in the downtown skyline of San Francisco, California, US, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. Photographer: Jason Henry/Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to the EIU, places with high inflation and a stronger currency will tend to see a city rise in the rankings, "as prices are higher when expressed in international common currency."

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Higher incomes and higher demand also play a role in cost of living, and rankings are also based partly on exchange rates against the U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar weakened slightly this year.

Utility costs increased the least this year, but grocery prices are still going up a lot.

Caracas, Venezuela, with an eye-popping inflation rate of 450% compared to last year, was excluded from the global inflation averages to avoid skewing the numbers. 

World’s most expensive cities


Marina Bay waterfront on May 10, 2023 in Singapore. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

New York City is no longer tied with Singapore for the world’s most expensive city. This year, NYC was tied with Geneva, Switzerland for the third most expensive city in the world.

Four of the top ten most expensive cities on the list are in western Europe.

"Inflation in groceries, clothing and personal care along with appreciation of the euro and other local currencies in the region have led them to rise up the rankings," the report says.

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Cities in China have gone down in rankings because of slow economic recovery post-pandemic and depreciation of their currency. Russia’s two major cities – Moscow and St. Petersburg – fell the fastest in the rankings because sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have weakened the rouble.


An aerial drone view of Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Christian Ender/Getty Images).

Here are the top 10 most expensive cities in the world, according to the report:

  • Singapore
  • Zurich, Switzerland (tied with Singapore for No. 1)
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • New York City, New York
  • Hong Kong
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Paris, France
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • San Francisco, California

Although three US cities made the top ten, North American cities have, on average, slipped down in rankings compared to last year, as North America boasts the lowest inflation in the annual survey. 

World’s cheapest cities


A picture taken on May 18, 2017 shows the skyline of northern Tehran from the "Nature" bridge in the capital Tehran on the eve of the presidential elections. (Photo by BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)

The cheapest city in the world is still Damascus, Syria, despite cost-of-living soaring there since last year. Tehran, Iran, and Tripoli, Libya, were No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. All three countries are particularly cheap for groceries, household items and personal care.

Kyiv, Ukraine, was included in this year’s rankings after being left out in 2022 because of Russia’s ongoing war with the country. The city is now ranked 132nd out of 173 countries, down from 118th in 2021.


A view from Nigeria's Lagos city (Photo by Adeyinka Yusuf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Here are the 10 cheapest large cities in the world, according to the report:

  • Damascus, Syria (No. 1 cheapest)
  • Tehran, Iran
  • Tripoli, Libya
  • Karachi, Pakistan
  • Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • Tunis, Tunisia
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Ahmedabad, India
  • Lagos, Nigeria
  • Chennai, India
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina


The biannual Worldwide Cost of Living survey compares more than 400 individual prices across more than 200 products and services in 173 cities. Each researcher has a list of more than 200 products and services to examine, with more than 50,000 prices collected every six months for things like food, drink, clothing, household supplies, rent, transit, etc.