26 June 2006

Worldwide Cost of Living, 2006

This year's cost of living ranking of world cities is out. Moscow is now the worlds most expensive city. Tokyo, which had won for several years, dropped to third behind Seoul. New York City, which was chosen as the "zero", with a base score of 100, tied for tenth with Oslo.

Of greatest interest to me is the ranking of Chinese vs. US cities. Hong Kong (not quite China), ranked fourth, with a score of 116.3, meaning it cost 16.3% more to live in Hong Kong than in New York. Beijing ranked 14th, with a score of 94.9. So Beijing is only 5% cheaper to live in than NYC! Shanghai, ranked 20th, with a score of 91.2. Washington DC and Boston ranked 83 and 84, with cost of living scores of 77 and 76.8.

So what does all this say to me? That this ranking is complete bunk very subjective, and dependent on an arbitrary standard of living. Based on what I saw in Shanghai, and anectdotal evidence, living in China is a LOT cheaper than living in DC, or Boston. So where are these scores from? From trying to live like a New Yorker while in China!

Parts of Shanghai were very much like New York. Expensive condos, western food, Porsche dealerships, etc. But why would you chose to live that way? By eating local food (Shanghai food was a bit greasy, but excellent), and buying things off the local economy, you can save enough to live like a king. Take taxis everywhere, have live-in help, whatever you want. Our standard of living will be higher in China than it is in DC, and it will cost less, because we won't insist on living within a pocket of DC while in China.


  • Most commentaries by american crtics on living outside U.S. is so screwed up, its not worth listening to.

    They are usually, white middle class, male professionals that would die if they didn't have access to every useless luxury known to mankind.

    By Blogger Neal, at 21 January, 2008 14:59  

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