. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow No. 36 in Cost of Living Poll

Cost of Living
(selected cities)
Last Year
2Osaka Kobe1331
5Hong Kong1153
13New York1007
74St. Petersburg**7378
*Tied with Abidjan, Shanghai, and Taipei
**Tied with Abu Dhabi, Atlanta, and Toronto
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Moscow is the world's 36th most expensive city in the Economist Intelligent Unit's biannual cost of living survey, falling four spots from its 32nd place finish last year, but it remains the most expensive city in Eastern Europe.

The survey released Monday indicates that the theme for this year was the soaring cost of living in euro zone countries.

The most expensive European cities, however, still lie outside the euro zone: They are Oslo (3rd) and Zurich (4th). Copenhagen (6th), whose currency is pegged to the euro, is the most expensive in the EU, having dethroned London (10) this year. Paris (7th) is the most expensive in the euro zone.

Many European cities climbed significantly in the rankings as the strengthening of the euro against the U.S. dollar made countries using that currency relatively more expensive than others.

Dublin (24), for example, shot up 34 places this year, with Frankfurt (22) following a similar trajectory, rocketing 33 spots.

European cities account for seven of the 10 most expensive cities. But they are outpriced by two of their Asian counterparts. Since 1991, the two most expensive cities have been found in Japan, where Tokyo (1) and Osaka (2) extended their reign for yet another year. Hong Kong (5) is the only other non-European city in the top 10.

U.S. cities became comparatively less expensive over the past year as cities in the euro zone leapfrogged over them. New York (13) dropped out of the top 10 but remains the costliest U.S. city with Chicago (16) and Los Angeles (19) not far behind.

The survey monitors 134 cities, comparing prices for a basket of 160 goods and services, including food, utilities and leisure activities using New York as a base line, assigning it 100 points. Tokyo scored 137, Moscow 88 and St. Petersburg 73.

Data gathered by EIU researchers indicates that 1 kilogram of bread costs an average of $0.90 in Moscow, $3.58 in New York and $6.16 in Tokyo. An hourly rate for house cleaning in Moscow is $4.43 in comparison to $30 in New York. The survey took both high- and low-end prices to compile an average figure.

While almost everything in Moscow and St. Petersburg is much cheaper than in Tokyo, London or New York, there are categories, like health care and sports, where Russia is significantly more expensive.

An average fee for using a tennis court for one hour in Moscow is $30.40, almost four times more than the $7.94 it would cost in London, while entrance fees to public swimming pools average $7.92 in Moscow -- twice as much as in Tokyo.

East European cities generally offer better value than their Western counterparts, according to the survey. Bucharest (114) with a score 52 maintains its position as the cheapest in Europe with a cost of living just 40 percent that of Oslo, with a score of 127. In Africa, Abidjan in Ivory Coast rose 22 places to be ranked 36th, tied with Moscow, because its currency is pegged to the euro.

The relative cost of living in Middle Eastern cities has generally fallen. In some cases, such as in Bahrain (68), Dubai (68) and Riyadh (78), this has been due to a currency pegged to the U.S. dollar, while others such as Tel Aviv (49) have been hit by the security situation. Tehran maintains its position as the world's cheapest city. Its cost of living is a mere quarter of Tokyo's.