L.A., NY well down list of world's most expensive cities

laview2.jpg Might not surprise you that Tokyo is in the top spot (as it often is), and that places like Sydney, Oslo, Paris, and Zurich are not far behind. What does seem surprising is L.A. being tied with NY as the most expensive city in the U.S. L.A. pricier than SF? Just as pricey as the Big Apple? Just seems hard to believe. Rankings are prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister company of the magazine. As with all such surveys, a whole lot depends on how they do the counting. At the bottom of the list are Karachi and Mumbai. Here's an explanation of how they arrived at the rankings:

The index is a weighted average of the prices of 160 products and services, with New York's figure set to 100 to provide a base for comparisons. New York itself has become more expensive; it now ranks 27th out of 131 cities, up 19 places from a year ago. Geneva and Zurich have seen the biggest falls in the last year, as Switzerland made efforts to weaken its franc. In the last decade the cost of living has declined most in Detroit and Panama City, and increased most in Caracas and São Paulo. Venezuela's bolívar is pegged to the dollar, which explains why Caracas is one of the ten priciest cities. But using an unofficial exchange rate, which is weaker and takes into account the country's high inflation, places Caracas on a par with Mumbai and Karachi.


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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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