If anyone is looking for further proof about Israel's high cost of living, here it is: Tel Aviv is more expensive than New York, topping it by 14 places in the ECA International survey of the world's most expensive cities in 2011. Tel Aviv is ranked 32nd and New York is ranked 46th. Jerusalem is ranked 39th, seven spots above New York.
Tel Aviv outranks other major cities, including Berlin, Rome, Vienna, Shanghai, Beijing, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Strasbourg.
Although Tel Aviv's ranking fell from 18th place in the 2010 survey, this was not due to a drop in the cost of living in Israel, but cause of a rise in the cost of living in other cities.
Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are the most expensive cities in the Middle East. Dubai ranks 180th, while Jedda, Saudi Arabia, in 232nd place, is the least expensive city in the Middle East.
The ECA International rankings weights the cost of food (the price of milk, meat, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables in stores), basic goods (beverages, tobacco, and various services), and general expenses (clothing, electronics, and dining in restaurants), compiled on the basis of two-year surveys. However, the index does not take into account expenses such as housing, utilities (water, electricity, and gas), the purchase of a car, or education, because these are sometime partly or wholly covered by employers, which could distort the results.
Following the numerous comparisons of the cost of living between Israel and the West published in the media in the past six months, it is hard to be surprised by these results. The ECA rankings highlight the especially high cost of living in Tel Aviv even in comparison with cities where disposable income is much higher than in Tel Aviv.
The strong Japanese yen kept Tokyo as number one in the world's most expensive city rankings for the second year. Besides Tokyo, there were several changes in the top ten cities compared with last year. The top ten cities are all in Japan, Norway, and Switzerland. Japan has three other cities: Nagoya in fourth place, Yokohama in sixth place, and Kobe in tenth place.
Oslo, in second place, is the most expensive city in Europe, up from sixth place in 2010. The Angolan capital Luanda fell from second place last year to eleventh place this year, keeping its title as the most expensive city in Africa. A second Norwegian city, Stavanger, also made the top ten, at eighth place.
The top ten also includes four Swiss cities, reflecting the cost of living in the country as a whole, even though the Swiss franc weakened against other leading currencies due to the Swiss National Bank policy of setting a minimum exchange rate against the euro. Geneva rose from eighth place in 2010 to third place in 2011, Zurich rose from seventh place to fifth, Bern rose from tenth place to seventh, and Basel rose from eleventh place to ninth.
In Asia, Singapore continues to stand out in the rankings, rising from 42nd place last year to 31st place this year, bypassing Hong Kong.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 22, 2011
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