Many of the most expensive cities to live in Asia are in East Asia, according to price aggregation website Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index 2018.
Indices in the open access Index are listed relative to New York City (100.00), meaning that if a city has Restaurant Index score of 70, it is 30 percent cheaper to eat out there than in the Big Apple. Data about prices is crowdsourced and released quarterly by Numbeo.
Its Index unsurprisingly reflected a strong correlation between levels of economic development and cost of living, with the urban centres of Asia’s wealthier countries being the priciest.
Conversely, most of the region’s cheapest places to live were overwhelmingly situated in the less developed South Asian nations of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
1. Kyoto, Japan
The listings found Kyoto to be the only city in Asia which is overall more expensive to live than New York.
While rent was significantly cheaper, the Groceries Index in Kyoto was listed at 118.44, meaning that overall it is more expensive at the checkout than NYC. Rent, however, is apparently a steal at 75 percent cheaper.
2. Tokyo, Japan
Japan’s capital and the largest city on the planet is also the second most expensive town to live in Asia, according to the Index.
Nevertheless, what the average wage earner can buy for their yen in Tokyo is better than in NYC, with a Local Purchasing Power Index of 106.42.
3. Singapore, Singapore
The ‘Little Red Dot’ is no stranger to international recognition, however with great economic success comes great cost of living. The financial powerhouse came in as the third most expensive place to live in Asia.
Still, eating out in Singapore was more than 40 percent cheaper than in New York, while the city state was listed as having a Rent Index of just 37.07.
4. Seoul, South Korea
South Korea’s megacity capital of more than 25 million came in fourth place, where the cost of living is comparable to Helsinki or Boston, according to the Index.
Groceries are at least 7 percent more expensive for those living in Seoul than for New Yorkers, but their Local Purchasing Power was about 8 percent better.
5. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Infamously expensive for its high wages and lack of land, Hong Kong came in at number five.
Eating out was relatively affordable, however, with a Restaurant Price Index of 56.17, while rent was still listed as being around 20 percent cheaper in HK than in NYC.
6. Osaka, Japan
Japan’s second largest metropolitan area was also named as one of the most expensive in Asia. Along with Paris and London, the city has one of the most productive hinterlands in the world.
Rent is a whopping 75 percent cheaper than in New York and the Local Purchasing Power Index was 109, meaning more bang for your buck.
7. Taipei, Taiwan
The capital of the Republic of China, Taipei, came in at seventh place. Things like rent and groceries in the gleaming metropolis of almost 9 million were cheaper than in New York.
What’s more, like their counterparts in Tokyo and Seoul, the Local Purchasing Power Index showed Taipei residents to be around 5 better off than New Yorkers.