Everyone likes to complain about the cost of living in their city of choice, but it turns out two cities in Switzerland are the world’s most expensive.
Switzerland has never had a reputation as a cheap place to live, and now a study undertaken by investment bank UBS has named Zurich and Geneva as the world’s most expensive cities, not including rent. New York City comes in third on the list, but leaps into top position if the cost of paying rent is added to the equation, writes Benjamin Snyder for Fortune.
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UBS study measures cost of living for typical family
UBS looked at data for the cost of living of a family of three per month. In Zurich, a family requires more than $3,600 per month, while the same family would need $3,500 in Geneva. New York comes in at $3,340.
“The Swiss National Bank’s decision to remove the cap has moved prices a lot,” said Daniel Kalt, at UBS economist, during an interview with Bloomberg. “Switzerland would probably be shortly below New York City in terms of prices without the shock.”
According to UBS, it used the following methodology. “The composition of our reference basket of goods and services represents the spending habits of a three-person European family. The prices of the 122 goods and services are weighted by monthly consumption. For example, we assume that a family in Europe consumes almost 15 kilos (33 pounds) of vegetables every month, but only buys a new personal computer every 2.5 years,” said the investment bank.
Four U.S. cities in list of top ten most expensive
At the opposite end of the scale, the least expensive cities including rent are Kiev and Sofia. The chart above shows the ten most expensive cities according to the study.
The other U.S. cities in the top ten are Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago, while Luxembourg and Oslo round out the European contingent. Sydney, Australia comes in 8th place, while Montreal is 10th.
High costs of living make those cities the most expensive to visit on a city break, while Eastern European cities like Kiev, Sofia and Bucharest are cheap options for a weekend break. According to UBS, a one-night visit to Geneva, Zurich and New York will cost around $1,000 for two people, without transfers, which is nearly 4 times the cost of an equivalent trip to Bucharest.