Oslo, Zurich, and Geneva are the most expensive cities in the world, followed closely by Tokyo, Copenhagen, and New York, according to a "global purchasing power comparison" survey published this week by UBS, Wealth Management Research.
The survey covers the price of 122 different goods and services and includes 112 questions related to wages, payroll deductions, and working hours for 15 occupations in 73 cities around the world.
At the bottom of the price level list were Mumbai, Manila, Bucharest and Delhi.
While price tags for everyday items were high in the cities that top the list, salaries in most of those cities are also among the highest in the world. However, the differences in payroll deductions can make for considerable differences in net wage. For example, gross wages in Copenhagen and Zurich are at the same level, but net wages in Zurich are 30 percent higher after deductions.
In terms of how to optimize your purchasing power, your best bet would be to receive your salary in Zurich and spend it in Mumbai—apart from the logistical challenges of course. If you just want to spend your salary at home, with optimum purchasing power, then best to live, and more importantly work in, Zurich, Sydney, Miami, Los Angeles, or Luxemburg.
Auckland and Sydney quickly rose in the price level ranking this year, about 20 places, due to the large appreciation of the New Zealand and Australian dollars. The quickest risers in terms of purchasing power were Doha, Dublin, and Riga. While the largest relative decreases were seen in Hong Kong and Taiwan's Taipei.