Singapore most expensive? What about salaries?

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) had released its latest data on cost of living.

The top five most expensive cities in the world remain unchanged from a year earlier and include, in descending order, Paris, Oslo, Zurich and Sydney.

The EIU’s survey comprises 133 cities worldwide and uses New York as a base.

It compares the cost of more than 160 services and products including food, clothing and utility bills.

Singapore was found to be 11% more expensive than New York for basic groceries. But in general, the high prices are attributed to Certificate of Entitlement (COEs) and high private apartment prices.

But what about the salaries, let’s have a look at these in comparison.

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These are the statistics as provided by the International Labour Organisation. The data is derived from 2009 dollars (Singapore’s average salary today in 2015 is about $3k+).

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With the exception of Norway, everyone else on the EIU’s expensive city list ranks more or less the same as Singapore when it comes to salaries. This is salary hasn’t factored in the taxes that they have to pay (which can be anything between 20% – 40% of their salary).

You must also consider the fact that we’re nowhere near the mega-economies like the US, Germany and even oil rich Norway.

Healthcare is heavily subsidised in Singapore, and so is the purchase of HDB apartments, and only about 30% of Singaporeans actually pay any tax at all (and always those in the higher income bracket)

We’ve seen the most expensive cities, let’s have a look at the cheapest.

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And this is how their salaries look like:

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We’re expensive yes – but our salaries match up. On top of that economic distributions ensure that at least the necessary basics are reasonable.

Would you rather live in a Singapore, or a Karachi?

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About the author

Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

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1 Comment

  • Good comparison with Singapore but I think Singapore is the best rather than all other countries from the perspective of all sites. So lets see what other people say about this…..

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