5 of the Most Expensive Cities to Live in the World

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

If you have a conversation with someone from the Greatest Generation (those who experienced WWI during their adult lives), they may talk about the cost of living during the middle of the 20th century. That is, during a time when a loaf of bread cost less than 15 cents, and you could buy a box of shredded wheat for less than 20 cents.

And, as we listen with envy to these stories about days that have long since past, we may think about just how much we could have bought if we earned our salaries of today back then.

We as a society often complain about the cost of living these days. Whether it’s for housing, food, automobiles, gas, insurance, college, or medical care, we’re constantly dealing with high costs. Therefore, it’s intriguing to hear about times when a dollar could stretch much further, and places where we could buy a mansion for a mid-level salary.

Americans are certainly not the only ones who face high living costs. And surprisingly, the most expensive places to live are not even located in the United States.

Using Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Rankings, we’ve created a list of the most expensive places in the entire world. Mercer takes into account over 200 items for each location, including food, housing, transportation, clothing, and household goods. Based on this data, coupled with pricing information from Expatistan, these are the most expensive cities to live across the world.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Zurich, Switzerland

  • Ranked No. 5 as the city with the highest cost of living on the Mercer list in 2014
  • Ranked No. 8 as the city with the highest cost of living on the Mercer list in 2013
Lunchtime menu in the business district $27
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar) $15
1/2 Kg (1 pound) of boneless chicken breast $13
12 eggs, large $8
500 gr (16 ouces) of local cheese $11
1 kg (2 pounds) of apples $3.01
2 kg (4.5 pounds) of potatoes $2.74
0.5 l (16 ounces) domestic beer in the grocery store $1.78
1 bottle of red table wine, good quality $16
2 liters of Coca-Cola $3.27
Bread for 2 people for 1 day $2.43
Monthly rent for a 900 square-foot furnished apartment in an expensive area $3,491
Utilities for 1 month in a 900 square-foot apartment (heat, electricity, gas) $121
Internet — 8MB (1 month) $47
Source: Expatistan, Information current as of February 2015

A general view of the financial district skyline is reflected in a pond in Singapore on March 6, 2014 in Singapore. Singapore played down a global survey showing that it is now the world's most expensive city, a finding which has triggered outrage among Singaporeans struggling with rising costs. Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images.

Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

4. Singapore

  • Ranked No. 4 as the city with the highest cost of living on the Mercer list in 2014
  • Ranked No. 5 as the city with the highest cost of living on the Mercer list in 2013
Lunchtime menu in the business district $9
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar) $5.42
1/2 Kg (1 pound) of boneless chicken breast $4.19
12 eggs, large $2.75
500 gr (16 ounces) of local cheese $10
1 kg (2 pounds) of apples $2.91
2 kg (4.5 pounds) of potatoes $2.17
0.5 l (16 ounces) domestic beer in the grocery store $4.21
1 bottle of red table wine, good quality $26
2 liters of Coca-Cola $2.06
Bread for 2 people for 1 day $1.75
Monthly rent for a 900 square-foot furnished apartment in an expensive area $3,729
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas) for 2 people in 900 square-foot place $135
Internet — 8MB (1 month) $33
Source: Expatistan, Information current as of February 2015

A junk sails on Victoria Harbour in front of the city's skyline in Hong Kong on June 3, 2013. The harbour waters is mostly crowded and often see high-speed hydrofoils vying for space with tourist junks, luxury yachts and a century-old public ferry system that connect Hong Kong island to the Kowloon peninsula. Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images.

Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

3. Hong Kong

  • Ranked No. 3 as the city with the highest cost of living on the Mercer list in 2014
  • Ranked No. 6 as the city with the highest cost of living on the Mercer list in 2013
Lunchtime menu in the business district $12
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar) $4.24
1/2 Kg (1 pound) of boneless chicken breast $5.76
12 eggs, large $3.83
500 gr (16 ounces) of local cheese $12
1 kg (2 pounds) of apples $3.22
2 kg (4.5 pounds) of potatoes $3.96
0.5 l (16 ounces) domestic beer in the grocery store $1.37
1 bottle of red table wine, good quality $20
2 liters of Coca-Cola $1.92
Bread for 2 people for 1 day $1.69
Monthly rent for a 900 square-foot furnished apartment in an expensive area $5,384
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas) for 2 people in 900 square-foot place $153
Internet — 8MB (1 month) $27
Source: Expatistan, Information current as of February 2015

U.S. Embassy in N'Djamena via Facebook

U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena via Facebook

2. N’Djamena, Chad

  • Ranked No. 2 as the city with the highest cost of living on the Mercer list in 2014
  • Ranked No. 4 as the city with the highest cost of living on the Mercer list in 2013
Lunchtime menu in the business district $17
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar) $14
1/2 Kg (1 pound) of boneless chicken breast $3.56
12 eggs, large $2.24
500 gr (16 ounces) of local cheese $7
1 kg (2 pounds) of apples $8
2 kg (4.5 pounds) of potatoes $3.67
0.5 l (16 ounces) domestic beer in the grocery store $0.86
1 bottle of red table wine, good quality $19
2 liters of Coca-Cola $3.45
Bread for 2 people for 1 day $1.36
Housing
Monthly rent for a 900 square-foot furnished apartment in an expensive area $1,725
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas) for 2 people in 900 square-foot place $259
Internet — 8MB (1 month) $102
Source: Expatistan, Information current as of December 2014

Luanda ANgola via Facebook

Luanda Angola via Facebook

1. Luanda, Angola

  • Ranked No. 1 as the city with the highest cost of living on the Mercer list in 2014
  • Ranked No. 1 as the city with the highest cost of living on the Mercer list in 2013
Lunchtime menu in the business district $25
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar) $17
1/2 Kg (1 pound) of boneless chicken breast $7
12 eggs, large $5.77
500 gr (16 ounces) of local cheese $12
1 kg (2 pounds) of apples $6
2 kg (4.5 pounds) of potatoes $4.58
0.5 l (16 ounces) domestic beer in the grocery store $1.56
1 bottle of red table wine, good quality $21
2 liters of Coca-Cola $4.38
Bread for 2 people for 1 day $2.89
Monthly rent for a 900 square-foot furnished apartment in an expensive area $4,091
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas) for 2 people in 900 square-foot place $180
Internet — 8MB (1 month) $112
Source: Expatistan, Information current as of December 2014

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