DC ties San Francisco at No. 4 on most-expensive cities list

WASHINGTON — Washington, D.C., and San Francisco tie as the fourth-most expensive cities in North America, based on cost of living, in an annual report.

The Economist Group Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living 2018 survey ranks New York and Los Angeles as the two most expensive cities in North America. Minneapolis is third.

Rounding out the 10 most expensive cities in North America are, in order, Chicago, Vancouver, Houston, Seattle and Pittsburgh.

The report ranks cities by comparing prices on more than 150 items in 133 cities around the world.

Worldwide, the most expensive city is Singapore, for the fifth straight year, followed by Paris, Zurich, Hong Kong and Oslo.

Many U.S. cities moved down on the global list this year, largely on the falling value of the dollar. New York no longer ranks in the in the global top 10. It’s now ranked 13th.

D.C. ranks as the 37th-most expensive city on the list, down from 27th last year.

“With the dollar weakening against other currencies, no North American city ranks among the 10 most-expensive cities,” said analyst Roxana Slavcheva. “Despite a rise in recent years in the relative cost of living in U.S. cities, the latest survey reflects a fall in ranking for all but one (Boston) of the 16 cities surveyed.”

For some costs, North American cities remain among the most expensive in the world. United States cities account for nine of the top 10 most-expensive cities globally for the cost of domestic help, and five of the top ten for the cost of utilities.

Atlanta was the cheapest of the 16 U.S. cities on the list. It’s over 30 percent cheaper to live there than in New York.

The report also lists the least expensive cities in the world. The three cheapest cities are: Damascus, Syria; Caracas, Venezuela; and Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The most expensive cities in the world and North America, according to research by The Economist. (Courtesy The Economist Intelligence Unit).


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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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